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Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts 2007

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 5 July 2007 | Views [1591] | Comments [2]

We left Bath and headed back to Glastonbury/Street through the Mendips. Vinnie didn’t like the uphill bits and narrow lanes much. We parked up at our favourite spot in Street and did the last minute shopping stuff in Glastonbury itself. Tom was on the High Street – he’s an Oxfam Glasto veteran who we met last time and saw more recently at Wychwood. He’d been onsite early and was nearly finished his shifts.

The next morning we headed to Worthy Farm the site of Glastonbury. The staff car park isn’t too far from the campsite so in no time we were set up and surveying our domain. Oxfam crew camp in Tom’s Field just behind the farm house and well up a hill – so the view is spectacular! All the marquees were set up but of course the punters are still to arrive so there’s still lots of green space and a clear view to the stone circle on the other side of the site/valley.

We were really lucky again this year with our shifts – beyond belief. Wednesday 2-10pm, Thursday 10pm – 6am and Saturday 6am-2pm. The festivities don’t really start until Friday so to have a couple of shifts out of the way by then was fab. And of course, the big nights are Fri, Sat and Sun so we didn’t need to miss any of the main events. The only downside of the shifts (and everyone has to do that combination) is that it’s tough work! Staying up all night, the early morning etc – and as you’re no doubt aware it was muddy! Again! So that makes everything more effort.

I got a promotion this year! Team leader at Pedestrian Gate A – from steward to Team Leader in 3 festivals J It’s a busy gate, especially this year with lots of bus tickets having been sold, so there were about 60 stewards, supervisors and gate organisers to look after. It was interesting work with lots of little dramas, and people to get stern with as they tried to get in without the proper credentials. One of the most concerning was a guy who had been evicted from the site (for peeing in the bushes was his story – while that’s a huge issue and taken seriously due to the pollution it causes on the farm, I’d be surprised if that’s the reason they evicted him). He was looking and feeling really ill as security wouldn’t let him back on site and his medication was on site, along with his proper ticket etc. He said he needed insulin and looked really rough so we called in the medics. To cut a long story short, he probably needed some ‘medication’ but it wasn’t insulin – hence not wanting to tell security the truth. He was going into serious withdrawals but the medics negiotiated with security and took him away to look after him.

Nick worked one of the vehicle gates (a sweet deal and he’s opted for as little responsibility as possible). He got to check the credentials of vehicles coming onto the site and this gate deals with lots of back stage stuff. Rock star tour buses and the like, so in a moment of beauty in the universe, he pretty much got to ask The Who – Who are you?!! Other bands through included Dirty Pretty Things, Kasabian, Arctic Monkey’s the list goes on….

This was the first Glastonbury where we’ve had friends coming along as punters or other workers. We had three lots – Dan (who we’d stayed with in Bristol and was working for security), Sam, Liere and Matt (et al – London and Nottingham. We’d also really hoped to see Harry (Bristol) there but he came down with tonsilitis the day before and had to reneg (I got it a few days later so can understand why he didn’t feel up to it). We also made new friends with our neighbours J

We met up with Noah and Becky and showed them around a bit, then the old toe (didn’t like being in Wellies at all) started to play up and we sought refuge (sitting down) in a venue called Pussy Parlure in the Dance area. It was immaculate – a huge round room with solid wood, carvings, mirrors and velvet drapes. Just the place to hang out for a bit. After a while of sitting around people watching I saw a familiar face near the decks – Norman Cook (aka Fat Boy Slim) – just turned up to hang out, finish the set. Nice! He’s a regular feature at Glastonbury and tends to do spontaneous entertaining. The next band were a ‘retro’ band called Zen Hussies (Brazen Hussies without the Bra apparently). They were great and we noticed Dan on the dance floor – with 177 000 people on site you don’t expect to randomly find your mates. Then a short while after Sam’s posse were also in the house. It was the right place to be!

We attempted to see Fat Freddy’s Drop in the Roots Tent – it was so packed with Kiwis and others that it was hard to get close! We then arranged to meet Noah afterwards which was great as I’d been wanting for ages to introduce him and Matt. They’re both Kiwi’s living in Nottingham and seem to me to have a fair bit in common.

The festival went by in a huge hurry this year and getting around was tricky due to all the mud (and the sore toe not liking being in Wellies). It rained everyday and later we learned that there had been severe flooding in other parts of the country. The site was muddy but it didn’t get as deep as last time due to 100,000 quid spent on a new drainage system. Still, it was wet enough and it’s a shame Noah didn’t bring his ark. Ha ha!

There’s almost too much to comment on so here are some Highlights and I’ll endeavour to update this story, as the memories emerge!

-         The Killers were good J

-         Dame Shirley Bassey – what an entertainer! Some of our gentlemen neighbours ‘trannied up’ for the occasion. Superb!

-         The Flags everywhere

-         Seeing the Tor in the distance behind the Pyramid Stage

-         Three of the Marley brothers did an excellent set in tribute to their father and the 30th anniversary of TIME magazines album of the century, Exodus. Great music and an always welcome reminder that people should be uniting, not fighting J

-         The food at Nuts Café in the Oxfam tent (free with meal vouchers).

-         The Who – the highlight. To see a legendary band of the same era as the original Glastonbury was way cool. The Seeker, Who are you etc, fab! They didn’t play for as long as they were scheduled and their set was a little more formal than other bands. This is probably due to the fact that it was being recorded for a CD/DVD so at least we’ll be able to get a copy. Although it was only two of the original members, the other two were Pete Townsends brother and Ringo Starr’s son – so not a bad Rock’n’roll pedigree.

After The Who on the Sunday night we went off to see the final act of the festival, Bill Bailey. We saw him in the Cabaret tent in ’03 and he was magnificent. On the way we found a tent full of people rocking out to The Bootleg Beatles, who we’ve paid good money to see in Cambridge before. They were lovin’ it! So we joined in for a bit before Bill started. We watched Bill in the pouring rain – Sunday night from about midnight, and again he was magnificent. He’s funny (obviously) and also very musically talented. He ragged The Killers a bit (despite confessing to be a fan), pointing out that one of their most famous lines, and a seemingly brilliant one, is actually a ‘load of bollocks’. ‘I’ve got a soul, but I’m not a soldier’. He then made us all sing his version which is ‘I’ve got a ham, but I’m not a hamster’. It was tremendous and we didn’t care, until much later, that we were totally drenched.

We decided to hang around the site the next day (and scavenge some abandoned chairs like we said we would, Andy) taking two trips to the van with stuff, through the very sticky mud. It seemed like such luxury to be back in the van, warm, dry and large. We had plenty of entertainment with watching cars and vans being towed out of mud holes by tractors and the like. We tried to make the most of it as we knew that the next day we’d be doing the same! We went to sleep to the sound of spinning car tyres as people attempted to escape the clutch of the relentless mud!

The next day we waited until the tractor was around and made our attempt to get a 3.5 tonne beast with little grunt, out of the mud. Nick walked out the best route and then we braced ourselves. To our total amazement Vinnie drove straight out, with the tiniest of spins here and there. Straight through muddy paths and a boghole several inches deep! Once we were out we had no idea where we were going – we’d expected to ask the tractor driver which way to go! Anyway, we made it out and to the campsite we’d stayed at previously at Wick Farm. We showered and washed and scrubbed and hosed and were soon more or less Mud Free Zones. And that was the end of my brief career in Mud Management. That night, our anniversary (and as it turns out it's also Sam and Leira’s anniversary) we even treated ourselves to a bath – how many campsites offer baths! Bliss.

Tags: on the road




Hi Wicksters.
A nice few observations of the Pilton village fete, I would have come with you to see F F's Drip but was far too bushed. A good idea of yours to stay another day and scavenge some of the left over chairs and such like. I could not stay to do that as I had to get to Bristol rail station and the Oxfam free transport only ran on Monday.
I am now back at home listening to F F's Drop on MP3 and thinking of going to Godzone in the autumn. I have some money coming through at the end of the month and will start planning the trip then. The money is coming from NZ and as the exchange rate is in my favour I will be quids in. Will I see you there about Oct-Nov? I hope so. Good luck and happy trails, Tim.

  Your Tom's field neighbour, Tim Jul 6, 2007 5:10 AM


Hey, Tim of Tom's!

Twas nice to make your acquaintance and we were particularly impressed by your efforts to honour the great Dame Shirley :)

Have a great trip to NZ - we probably won't be back by then. Perhaps you'll get to see FFD live while you're there.

Take care and keep in touch.


  Wendy Jul 9, 2007 3:23 AM



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