Saturday, July 04, 2009
After i finished work i strolled down Muddy Lane and visted my friends campsite.My niece Katherine was there.Katherine has been coming to Glastonbury since she was about two years old and she gave me a can of Stella from her and her husband Laurence's brand new tent.Laurence is a writer and has a book coming out next year and is very knowledgeable about music.There was also Sacha and Sean from Bournemouth although Sean is from South Africa originally.Then there was Chris and Jill who are Irish and now live in Bath.They actually got married at Glastonbury and there was Bernadette who comes from County Clare in Ireland which is the home of great music.We sat around chatting about the day ahead and the Michael Jackson news and reading the free daily paper all about Glastonbury which i thought was crap this year and should be stopped because it just makes more litter.
After a while i thought i ought to go hear some music as this is what we were here for.The first band i saw at Glasto 09 were BJORN AGAIN who were belting out Abba songs on the Pyramid Stage.They were really good fun and the girls looked great in their mini skirts and they put the crowd in a good mood for the day.After that i thought i'd take a stroll to the Acoustic Stage which over the years i have spent almost as much time at as the Pyramid Stage.There was an American girl singer on called ALYSSA BONAGURA who i hd never heard of and i didn't think was that great.Then i thought i better start on a slow walk across the site to the Park Stage to see JAMES HUNTER who i was really looking forward to seeing after all the recommendations from my friend Colleen.It took ages to get there but i was in no hurry.You enter the park through this huge ancient stone gateway which they must have bought from a stately home somewhere and transported to Glastonbury.It is really nice up in the park far from the madding crowd with people just relaxing and sitting on the grass in the sunshine.The stage faces away from the festival towards the facing green hillside so the bucolic surroundings were just perfect for the soulful sound of James Hunter.It was easy to get to the front just a few feet away from James who looked really natty in an electric blue suit.His band are great and i have never seen such a likeable bunch of characters since the original Blockheads.James has a great voice and is a supurb guitarist and has great moves that would be the envy of Chuck Berry.He is English, from Colchester but almost unknown in this country which is a traversty of justice because he is a star.I have actually seen James before when he toured with Van Morrison in 1994 and appeared on 2 Van albums.Van knows talent when he see's it.I hope after this Glastonbury appearance that James's reputation will continue to grow.
After James supurb set i did intend to return to the Acoustic tent to see HUGH CORNWELL but i couldn't be bothered.I just sat on a bench and had a pint and watched the world go by.I got chatting to this really nice bloke from up north somewhere who had been a teacher for 30 years but gave it up to be a potter and he had gone to his first festival at the age of 60.That's another great thing about Glasto,it's not age-ist,there is something for everyone.Also the festival is about meeting people as well as music,there is no point dashing from stage to stage.It's best to relax and take it steady.
Eventually i said cheerio to my new buddy and walked back down to the Pyramid where the surprise guests were just finishing.It was N.E.R.D who i had never heard of but are very popular apparently.Then a band i was really looking forward to seeing,THE FLEET FOXES.They have burst onto the scene in the last year and i really enjoyed their album with it's Brian Wilsonesque sound but i had expressed doubts to Laurence earlier that they might not be suited to the Pyramid Stage.When they were announced they shuffled on stage and proceeded to start tuning up.You don't do that at Glastonbury,you should be ready and go out there and grab the audience.They ummed and arred for about 3 minutes and the singer announced that they were terrified.You could smell the fear.The acoustic opening number was Sun Giant i believe but i'm not that familiar with the song titles.Sun It Rises,Drops in The River,English House,Oliver James and White Winter Hymnal were amongst other songs i think they did.I think their management made a big mistake putting them up there.They would have been much better off on one of the smaller stages.I wonder if this band has another great album in them or if they will fade away.Time will tell.When i got back to camp i found that other people thought they were really good so there you go.
I decided to go back to my tent and have a rest before the evening.From my tent i could hear LILY ALLEN in the distance and i regreted not seeing Lily because on Sunday my nephew Dominic told me that he thought Lily was the best he had seen.Like Katherine and Dominic Lily has been going to Glasto since she was about two years old and she used to always camp with her dad Keith Allen and Joe Strummer from the Clash so she has a great pedigree for the Pyramid Stage.
I thought i would have a nap but i couldn't sleep so i had a shower and some food and felt a lot better and walked down the avenue again,the healing had begun and I was about to see one of the greatest performances ever witnessed at Glastonbury.
To be continued.................................
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
My alarm woke me at 4.30 to the pitter-patter of rain on my tent."Oh No",i thought as i struggled to pull on my wellie boots,"Here we go,another Glastonbury mud-fest".I had a slug of water and an aspirin and headed for the workers marquee for breakfast which was the best meal of the day here.It was all vegetarian food this year and i don't mind being veggie but most of it was really bland and not much choice.Still,it was free and it must be difficult catering for the 1,200 recycling staff.6.00 arrived and all the other teams set off for work.There was still no sign of our team leader,i found the other members of our team,there were 8 of us in all.I was the only old git.The most friendly was Bev from Manchester,then there was a nice girl from Falmouth,Cornwall called Stacy who i called Spacy Stacy and her boyfriend Joe,Eric and his girlfriend Becca from up north somewhere and a couple of lads who didn't say a lot but were nice people,i think one was called Chris and i can't remember the other ones name,sorry mate.I find the older workers have more stamina than the youngsters and after a lifetime of menial work this was no problem for me.We were supposed to be Rear Markets A Team which i had applied for because i know from doing it before that it's a good number.We all went to the office to complain and they told us to go and join the Pyramid Stage team.This is the worst job of all so i was very disgruntled as i trudged down the hill through the fields all misty wet with rain.The sun was coming out and steam was rising off the grass.
150 people were put in a long line in front of the Pyramid Stage and given 3 types of bags,Green for cans and plastic bottles,white for bio-degradable such as paper cups,plates, beer cartons,cardboard, newspaper,wooden knives,forks and spoons etc and thrown away food.This is all made into compost.Black bags were for anything that can't be re-cycled.I stuck a few bags in my belt and the line moved slowly up the hill away from the stage.As no bands had played on this stage yet it wasn't too bad but i could imagine the mess tomorrow after 100,000 people had watched Neil Young and i didn't fancy it one bit.Everyone had been wondering who the 'Surprise Guests' were who had been advertised in the programme and as we worked i heard Bev say "What about Michael Jackson".I turned around and said,"They wouldn't have him as surprise guest",and she said,"No, he is dead".I didn't believe it and thought it was just one of the many Glastonbury rumours that you get every year.It soon became apparent that it was true as everyone was talking about it.That very morning Michael Jackson RIP T shirts were on sale in the market areas.Later it emerged that Farrah Fawcett was dead as well.There wasn't a sombre atmosphere though,in fact quite the reverse,Michael Jackson jokes spread like wildfire across the site.
Anyway,the shift went quickly and we ended up helping out the crew who were cleaning up the stone circle area which is where most of the partying had happened the night before.We found thousands of laughing gas containers.This is the craze sweeping the nation,inhaling nitrous oxide.The containers are made from surgical steel so quite valuable as scrap.We were finished by 11.00 and our little band of brothers and sisters were told to report to the office the next morning at 11.30.
I had 24 hours now to see some bands and have some fun.It was going to be a long day!
To Be Continued..........
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Thanks a lot to Sacha for most of these photo's,keep 'em coming folks.
Part 1,I Walked Out One Midsummers Morning.
It had been four long years since my last Glastonbury and a series of mis-fortunes had stopped me going since but finally the big day arrived and i threw back the curtains and....it was raining.I wasn't down-hearted though because i knew it was going to be hot later.Tony the Taxi dropped me off at the station which was teeming with music fans plus a few bemused old age pensioners on their way to Weymouth for the day.We all squeezed in the little train for the 26 minute journey to the small sleepy little Somerset town of Castle Cary which comes to life one week a year.There we were all piled on to the non-stop shuttle bus service to the festival site at Pilton.All the rucksacks and tents took up nearly half of the bus.Eventually the famous Glastonbury Tor could be seen in the distance and we knew we were sailing into the mystic of the ancient Isle Of Avalon.You should have heard the gasps of amazement from the people who were about to experience the worlds greatest festival for the first time when they first sighted the huge four mile long 12 feet high security fence,curling like a long silvery primordial snake across the verdant hillsides.
The ancient double decker bus arrived at the temporary bus station at pedestrian gate 2 and we headed for the entrance.The day before it had been chaotic with 90,000 people arriving two days before the music even started and even now early in the morning thousends of people an hour were still pouring in.Luckily for me when i showed my site crew ticket i was ushered through without having to queue for a wrist band.I was back in the hallowed fields of dreams,it felt great.My next task was to haul my ass,my heavy rucksack and my tent to my camping area at the very top of the site.It was called Tom's Field and was right up by the farmhouse and uphill all the way.I was sweating like a piglet when i finally arrived.I reported for duty at the office and received my wristband,laminate ID and my recycling crew T shirt and was told to report back at 7.00 for a meeting.Even Tom's field was wedged with tents but i managed to find a space to put up my little home for the next 4 days.I threw my rucksack inside and went for a walk down Muddy Lane looking through the hedge as i went to spot my friends colourful bunting that they always ring their circle of tents with.Walking up the lane coming towards me who should i meet but my sister Margaret and her partner Wayne.Amongst 200,000 people i had found them in about 10 minutes.
I was gagging for a pint so we went to the Queens Head Bar and sat on the grass and chilled out and Margaret and Wayne spotted a friend of theirs, Mary who had just arrived.Later that day i was to meet up with the rest of the gang from England, Ireland and South Africa.I'll move on quickly now because i'm tired.I decided to go for a long walk on my own and strolled all the way up the hill till i reached the Sacred Space and the Stone Circle and the Healing Fields.The sky turned black and it turned dark and still and then the western wind blew up the hill and i got caught in a violent thunderstorm and saw great flashes of lightning.I ran for cover under a tree and thought "Hang on a minute,trees and lightning are not good bed fellows".I walked back down to camp and got soaked,i was colder than a well diggers ass but i didn't care because although i was wet i was happy.At 7.00 i went to the meeting and our team leader didn't turn up.We were assured he would be there in the morning.I can't remember what i did for the rest of Thursday evening except it involved alcohol,campfires and jokes.I fell into my tent at about 1.00,set my alarm for 4.30 and fell asleep immediately into restful slumbers totally unaware of the drama that was about to unfold across the site.
To be continued..................