As it approached 9am Thursday morning, I was lying in bed wondering why the pain in my head was quite so bad when a suddenly wave of nausea came over me. As I remembered the numerous pints of Grolsch and Stella that I had consumed at the Chilli Peppers concert the night before I realised that a tactical vomit wasn’t out of the question, but more importantly the idea of “tactical” was no more – more a requirement!
I fell back to sleep and texted my friend Nik who was driving down from Hemel to meet me in Bristol to say that I was going to need another hour or so in bed! Finally I got up about 11 and headed over to Ninian Park to pick up my mate James who was down from London to see the Chillis too the night before. We headed up to Bristol late, maintaining a careful balance between not going over 100 mph and getting there in one piece. Nik rang to let us know that she was already nearly there and when we got to our meeting point I thought I was going to die!
Finally we all set off, leaving Nik’s car behind in Bristol and headed off towards Glastonbury. It was suprisingly a breeze, and we came across minor traffic as we got into Shepton Mallet. Where was the hours of queuing that you apparently have to do on the Thursday afternoon?? We figured that people must have avoided that time of day because they thought it was going to be bad. Seems like a great rumour to spread for next year!
We past a sign that said “Army Surplus – next right” on the way and soemthing in the back of my head said “you must buy wellies”. I went off on a mission in this farm that sold everything you could possibly ever want for a survival trip, including bullet proof vests!
The most amusing thing that brightened up our wait in the traffic was Nik’s insistence to say hello to everyone that alked or drove past, waving at plouce officers and security people.
We parked up and the first thing James did was to put as many cans of Grolsch into his already hugely heavy rucksack, twist his back picking it up and then spent the next 15 minutes writhing in agony! Beers then unpacked we started the trudge up towards the camping area with the tent and everything else, minus James’ rucksack which we sanely realised would have to be a return journry to get from the car.
We located James’ friends Razi and Carol who had successfully managed to save us camping space up at the far side of Pennard Hill in a quiet field. This turned out to be an absolute genius move as late in the weekend it meant that not so many people used the toilets (no throughfare) and not so many people trudged past the tent at 4am!
Tent sorted out it was time to see if I could meet up with the various people that I knew who were coming to Glasto, when half way through my first text message my phone promptly beeped at me a switched off. I then realised the dreadful error I had made through my drunken shennaigans the night before and had forgotten to charge my mobile!
Nik and I wondered off to check everything out. Both of us were Glastonbury “virgins”, and didn’t know where anything was, or what to expect. We located the Healing and Green fields and spent a good few hours ambling around the stalls in the sunshine. We made an effort to return to see a bit of the footy but I really couldn’t be arsed to watch the England match (the Pyramid field being filled with the “Rooney” chanting tossers) so I had a good wonder round, taking in the sights and smells, and experiencing the total nutcases that you find in Glastonbury.
Friday was started with the discovery of a tent that did an excellent veggie breakfast with the single requirement that you took off your shoes and sat down cross legged on the floor around low tables. Nik and I went back there every morning after that, drank Rooibusch tea and met crazy people. I managed to get my mobile phone back on, switch off the back light and keypad tones, diverted all calls for optimium battery performance and got it to last just long enough to meet up with my uni friend Katie and her mates from London at the Stone Circle. By this point the weather was fantastic and I managed to burn my head quite nicely!
Friday evening was spent actually watching some bands. As the temperature plammeted we watched Snow Patrol (pretty good), Franz Ferdinand (ok, but nothing special), Goldfrapp (really good with cool dancing girls), and finally Chemical Brothers who were absolutely awesome. The Other Stage totally kicked off and it was a great way to keep warm dancing to them! I was tempted to the Dance tent for a bit of Dave Clarke, but I had heard that the Dance tent was quite busy so passed it up. We all stayed up for a while at the campsite, but all of us were pretty knackered.
Saturday was supposed to be an early get up to go and see Howard Marks (a.k.a. Mr Nice Guy) do a reading on stage and generally chat about dope etc. It had started to rain in the night and I couldn’t be bothered to get up. James went off the see him but apparently the tent was too busy to get into so I didn’t miss much. Nik and I headed off to our veggie breakfast place as usual, followed by the Green Fields, trudging through the mud and avoiding the sudden down-pours that randomly seemed to start and end mysteriously, often whilst the sun was shining at the same time. Very strange indeed! We caught a bit of Billy Bragg rambling on about socialism and a bit of communist inspired poetry, before heading over to see Ben Harper, who I had heard so much about from Ozzie mates in Reading. To be honest he was ok, but nothing special, but I did manage to bump into Katie et al and whilst Nik wondered off to have a “she-pee” – a kind of female urinal that she got very excited about (her comment – “yay! it’s like having a penis. I feel liberated!”)
I wondered around for a while with Katie before getting some food and when we sat down at a meeting point to eat out yummy crépes, I ended up sitting opposite my friend Rebecca and her mates! I couldn’t believe it. When you go looking for someone at Glastonbury, you haven’t got a hope in hell of finding them, but give up and you bump into them at the next corner. I popped up to see where Katie was camping and then hung out with Becca for a while.
I then needed to get some sleep, even though it was only about 11.30pm. I went back up the tent and crashed out. Later Nik turned up and crashed, having had a similar experience to me in the afternoon, but I woke up at about 2am, absolutely starving hungry. The mission was on to find food!
Glastonbury in the day is strange enough, but Glastonbury in the middle of the night is bizarre. I went back to the Glade for a while and enjoyed somebody DJing, but I’m not sure who. I found some food and wondered towards the tipi field and Lost Vagueness. The whole site was busier than it had been in the day. I guess with the bands finished everyone still awake (and there are alot of them), go in a similar direction. Lost Vagueness is a vert weird place. It has a chapel where you can receive a blessing, plus a tent where you can have ballroom dancing. In fact the majority of the people seem to be wearing ballroom gowns neatly finished off with a pair of wellies! I finally got back to the tent and crashed at about 6am satisfied that I had experienced another part of Glastonbury’s magic.
Sunday was started with another fab veggie breakfast shared with a strange girl who sat down with us at our table. She was carrying a wicker basket filled with little choclate-hash truffles and offerered some, then some weed too. She then proceeded to roll up a massive pure weed spliff and smoke it there and then, whilst intermingling singing random notes at the top of her voice – “to help her focus and something”! Nik and I very cleverly decided to pack up out stuff and take it to the car early. We planned to leave later that night after Orbital and the thought of packing up the tent in the dark didn’t seem like fun. It had also been sunny since dawn so the tent had dried out a bit too. It was good timing, if not the worst walk back to the car carrying everything that now seemed twice as heavy as when we arrived!
The rest of Sunday involved avoiding the downpours of rain which at times was like a bath being emptied from the sky it was so heavy. We spent a good few hours in the Glade mixing dancing with chilling in the Glade Café. By about 5pm my feet were killing me so I spent a hour asleep in the car. I have never felt so relieved to sit down in relative comfort in my life.
Back to the Glade again I met up with Nik and James’ mate Rich, and after a bit of dancing and chatting to people we headed off to find a spot to watch Orbital’s last ever gig. I hadn’t seen Orbital since university (then being amazing) and had high hopes for them. They did not disappoint! They were without doubt the highlight of the festival (closely run match between them and Chemical Brothers to be honest). The lights, lasers and songs were fantastic, but the Chemical Brothers took the award for best video effects with a smashing teapot. I can’t explain that one, you had to be there!
Nik and I left just after midnight, slightly worried that:
- the traffic was going to be stupidly bad
- the car would get stuck in the mud
10 minutes later we were on the main road! The mud driving was a bit like driving on snow, but short of a small bit going through a gate that I took like a rally driver, we were home and dry! It only took about 30 minutes to get to Bristol and then I floored it back to Wales and was home by 3am.
Tired and smelly the thought of a shower was good, but not that good. I passed out ready to head out the next morning to Oxford to see a client at 10am……ouch!