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Grafting At Glastonbury

Grafting At Glastonbury

20130629_233812_resizedGlastonbury 2013 has left the world in a whirlwind of excitement and I was lucky enough to be there for free.

Tuesday at midday we set off with a heavily laden van full of drums, pot noodles, a fridge and a bouncy castle (along with the usual festival essentials). The tickets were stored in a safe place complete with the glitter filled envelope they arrived in. We were off to Glastonbury 2013 and ready to work hard and play harder.

Arriving a day earlier than all the punters was very surreal. The queues consisted of only a handful of cars. We made it quickly through the gates, down muddy lane and onto the Kidz Field. After erecting our homes for the week it was time for a walk about to see what jewels awaited the hoards of people soon to take over the luscious green fields that lay before us. First stop, the flags on the top of the hill to take in the ghost town of a festival. I pointed out all the stages to the two ‘Glasto’ virgins working with me; The Pyramid, The Park, John Peel, The Other Stage. All whilst the flags were being hoisted up behind us. The sun went down as we had our first sip of beer for the festival. We rambled down through The Park, past a bar called The Rabbit Hole; a huge white rabbit was propped beside it and giant carrots were strewn about like Mr Mcgregor’s Garden, which I knew for the next few days would be rammed full of drunken festival goers swaying too and fro, dancing their woes away. ‘Tram’ boxes (as I like to call them) stood on the outskirts of The Park stage; intricate little curtained booths, each with little trinkets in them, one even had a creepy doll and a music box. Park camping was empty and green, the few tents that were there all had campfires with little groups gathered round giggling with excitement of the weekend ahead.

The next day the public were allowed on site. I awoke to a hum of buzzing and mumbling, each empty field was awash with colourful tents, and each route became a motorway of people pulling barrows and buggies of beer, tents and other necessities for the weekend. This was the Glastonbury I knew and remembered, a place that becomes the third biggest city in the southwest, a place where coming across someone you know is nearly impossible yet it always seems to happen. At 8pm the Kidzfield crew have a meeting, a kind of pep talk if you will, letting everyone know that it is the biggest free kidz festival in Europe and we need to keep the original spirit of the festival alive in the Kidzfield.

After the talk we headed up to the Stone Circle with some chai tea, beer and a candle to watch the opening of the festival. We found a group of people we knew from home and sat down waiting for Mr Eavis’ sky of fire. We were not disappointed; fireworks bolted into the sky, fountains grew taller and taller from the ground. Then the finale, a giant wooden phoenix to light the fire, white fountain fireworks shone from its tail as it slowly grew in flames leading onto the pile of wood behind it. It was spectacular and the crowd loved it, an innocent buzz filled everyone, like children holding sparklers for the first time. After the opening we sat at the Stone Circle babbling away about who we wanted to see, reminiscing of times there with a lost friend, fuelled with beer and excitement we were there until the early hours of the morning. As the crowd started to dwindle we decided it was time for chai tea (one of the main needs at a festival we discovered) – the best place was The Tiny Tea Tent in The Green Fields, a place we spent a lot of time in over the weekend. We skipped down there, gathered our teas and watched our friend Shelley play the piano as the other tea drinkers cheered with joy at the early hours spectacle, someone even appeared with a guitar to join him in his show.

20130630_225519Thursday was our first day of work, the bouncy castle was up by 9.15 and we were ready for the queues of children to descend on us.  It was a brilliant job, working on a bouncy castle covered in bubbles yielding a water pistol in the bright sunshine of Glastonbury. It went quite quickly and before you knew it, the shift was over. Now Thursday night some of the smaller stages begin to play music, we went to Shangri-La and saw a band called The Fanfare en Petard, who my friend had recommended as a Ska-Rap mix. Arriving at the Hellfire Bar just as the Devil appeared to introduce them, fire escaped from various orifices around the stage as the band came on. It was lovely, not too busy and with enough space to dance and jump about, which we definitely did! Next up was The Avalon Café for 3 Daft Monkeys, a band from Falmouth who play upbeat almost psychedelic folk music. They soon had the crowd bouncing and swirling around as the violins instructed them to.

Friday morning had constant streams of families entering the Kidz field, parading up and down whilst the children darted in and out of the numerous marquees, or came across some rambling theatre show. Bubbles floated high into the air, over the colourful bunting that had been so neatly hung a few days earlier. There were craft activities, magic shows, face painting, even music workshops. Signs saying such things as ‘no frown zone’ and ‘do not read this sign’ hung from each bunting pole, all of which amused both the kids and the adults.

First band of the night was The Vaccines, on the Pyramid stage, and it was an emptier crowd than expected, although my friend Eckley and I were loving life, dancing around in the crowd singing along to Post-Breakup Sex, All In White and Teengae Icon. They finished quite abruptly and we skipped away towards The Other Stage, weaving our way through the crowds.  Alt-J came on, and we were stuck to the right of the stage – after a few minutes people next to us started ebbing forwards and we followed suit, trying to reach some people we knew in-between an American and Welsh Flag in the middle of the crowd. After about a thousand utterings of ‘Sorry, excuse me’, we got there, swaying our way through Tessellate, Something Good and Fitzpleasure. Foals followed, with a very energetic crowd. As they played My Number and Inhaler, off their new album Holy Fire, the crowd sang along with every word, bopping too and fro. Foals were one of the highlights at Glastonbury, far exceeding my expectations of them, especially Spanish Sahara.

Go to page two for more of my Glastonbury escapades!

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