Festivals

Glastonbury Festival 2011 Diary

Monday 20th June 2011

The first day on site, since the festival car parks are opening on the Tuesday again for the public to get in early they recommend to the Oxfam stewards to arrive on the monday and so I did, my inital plan was to get the car all packed the night before but instead I played Minecraft so Monday morning I rushed around just chucking stuff in the car and I printed out my Lineup listings from Clash Finder and directions to the site just in case I got lost.

I still had some shopping to do so I ended up leaving around 2pm and popped into Sainsburys to buy my last-minute shopping (fruit, bread, biscuits – all the important stuff) then I had to pop into work as I left my favourite chopsticks there, thankfully this was on the way, then at around 3pm I finally left Exeter and was on the A30 onto the A303 the very road I had just been on the day before coming back from the Retro Computer Games Festival Mini, but this time I turned up the A37 to get onto the Blue route into the festival site.

I arrived around 5pm but traffic in the lanes around the site meant I had to wait a bit longer, but by now I could pick up Worthy FM so I listened to this while I crawled along to the Oxfam camp site, which this year is in Big Lickle same as last year half the field is for parking and the other half for camping. I was directed to a space very close to the camping entrance so I picked up my tent and wondered up to the Marquee to get my wristband but this year they suggested setting up your tent first. It was already very muddy by the marquee but it was only drizzling so I set out and found a nice spot to set up my tent which went rather well, not too windy and it didn’t start chucking it down.

With my tent set up I went to get my wristband and my shift times, I’m very pleased this year as all my shifts are on Pedestrian Gate B which is just up the road from the Oxfam camp site. Not only is the location great but the timing is great too with two afternoon/evening shifts on Wednesday and Thursday before the festival starts proper, and then Saturday early morning/lunchtime. Unfortuantly I’ll miss Adam & Joe on 6music and whatever they have planned at the Pyramid Stage but maybe I can take my break at 11am so I can run down there, or maybe I’ll just do listen again on iplayer when I get back.

After a couple of trips to the car I had all my stuff in my tent and all laid out, I hadn’t noticed that it was 9pm so I figured I should get something to eat from the Oxfam camp site food source known as Nuts cafe, previously a Veggie only eatery now they serve a meat option for the carnivores and the best part of the Oxfam marquee is the free tea and coffee which is so much better then boiling water on a little stove just to make tea. So after eating I spent the evening listening to a podcast and then writing this diary, I’m going to try and snooze soon so I can go and explore the site before the public get in and make it even muddier.

Tuesday 21st June 2011

Slept in since it wasn’t too hot in the tent this morning, it’s mostly cloudy today with the ocasional downpour but they don’t last long, spent most of my time in the Oxfam camp site just relaxing and looking through the lineup to work out which bands I want to see. Unfortuantly the showers are low on fuel so they are cold at the moment but they’ll be back by 5pm hopefully, I decided that it was time to stop being lazy and go for a walk around the site.

Before the Invasion

Before the Invasion

The Oxfam campsite is conviently situated right in the middle of Pedestrian Gates B and C, so I went up and entered the site via B then made my way round by the Pyramid Stage, then to the John Peel Stage, The Dance Village, The Other Stage, then along the Railway Line all the way to Avalon and then stopped off at the Stone Circle for a quick stop then I circled round by the Healing Field and Green Futures, past West Holts and a quick stop at the Bakery before exiting at gate C. I took a chance and went without my wellies but apart from the odd puddle of mud in shade (all along the Railway line) it was fine, but if it does rain again it’ll be wellie time.

After my trek around the site I got some lunch from Nuts Cafe in the Oxfam field and sat in the sun listening to the radio, I may have fallen asleep a bit but at least I had Sun Cream, but when the sun went down it got cold, it had been alright the previous night but early on it was getting pretty cold, so I put some more coats on and settled in for the night, since nothing is really open yet so I made do with listening to some podcasts I downloaded before I left and a quick session on the Game Boy, I figure it’s indestructible and inexpensive so it’s the perfect camping accessory. Then it was off to bed ready for my first shift tomorrow.

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

Day 3 of the festival for me but most people this is day 1 as the public fortunate enough to get tickets are let into the site, but lucky for me my shift doesn’t start until after lunch so I got to relax this morning and listen to the rain, that’s right after the nice weather on Tuesday, Wednesday started with a familiar sound at Glastonbury, the sound of rain on tents.

I had an Oxfam briefing at 12pm ready for my shift on Pedestrian Gate B, it was pretty straight forward – don’t let people in with dodgy tickets. After the briefing I had a bite to eat and sat outside in the drizzle/sunshine before it was time to go to work. My first shift went by without any major incidents, I worked with a loverly girl from Liverpool named April, for our 8 hour shift inbetween chatting we were checking tickets before sending folks on to get their wristband, April had a flask of tea which she was kind enough to share with me along with some animal biscuits.

We had our break quite early so we popped back to the Oxfam camp site and I enjoyed some instant noodles but we had to hurry as our break was only 30 minutes and it takes 5 minutes to get to the gate and we might have stayed at the camp site a little too long, when we got back to the gate we were 5 minutes late but that didn’t seem so bad when another pair ended up being 20 minutes late back, because they thought the 30 minutes started when they got to the camp site.

Later on in my shift I spotted what looked like a familiar face, so I called out him, it was my fellow Glastonbury worker and Musician Ben Trott, I called him over to our station but as he had another type of ticket I had to send him to the over entrance for which I apologised and promised him beer to make up for it. We got a tea break when the Land Rover came round with a boot full of tea and coffee. As the shadows got longer and the sun started to set, it started to get colder but closer to the end of the shift, I tried not to look at my watch so it wouldn’t seem so long, but as new stewards came for their next shift I knew we would soon be leaving, pretty soon we were signed out and free, so myself and April headed back to the camp site.

Lights over Glastonbury Festival

Lights over Glastonbury Festival

We went and got something to eat from Nuts Cafe then sat in the Marquee, after food was consumed we sat and played cards, a lot of games are better with more people (except Solitare) but we made do playing Fish (just to check it was a full deck) Rummy (I won by mistake) A game I can’t remember and April is sure I made up but she titled the April Loses Game because she lost, 21 (not a very thrilling game) and Blackjack which I’m sure was what 21 was but April showed me this game which seemed similar to another game I’ve played before where certain cards make you pick up or skip a turn. Soon it got late and we decided it was time for bed, so off we went to our respective tents to get some snooze.

Thursday 23rd June 2011

This is Day 4 of the festival for me, another lazy morning as my second shift starts at 1:45pm so I took my time, had some breakfast and then decided I would have a shower since they had been refuelled. The shower was great nice and warm but when I came to put my wellies on I couldn’t see them, I looked outside the shower tent, I looked inside again to see if someone else had picked mine up and moved them, but alas they had walked off and with them my insoles which make it so I can actually walk without pain in my feet, but I was running out of time before my shift started so I walked back to my tent barefoot through the mud.

I’m thankful I brought a washing up bowl as I chucked some water in to wash my now very muddy feet, popped on my walking boots and dashed off to my shift. After the first puddle I stood in I gave up on trying to protect my boots too much but at least they were still dry inside even when they were covered in mud on the outside. My shift went well, I got to sit on ticket checking section again, under cover and a chair to sit on, April was doing this too along with Rebbecca who I hadn’t spoken with before, she was very good at chatting with the punters which in turn made the shift a bit more interesting.

As not many new ticket holders were coming through we got moved to the re-entry gates directing people into the correct lanes. This time I got to have my break at a decent time so I rushed back to the campsite to get some food from Nuts Cafe. Today’s special was Chicken Curry with Rice, Salad and Mango Chutney, It was amazing, the curry was nice and spicy and the mango chutney was tangy and had huge chunks of mango in it.

I rushed back to my post forgetting to pick up a warmer coat so most of the rest of the shift was spent dancing myself warm but we also played a game of Who am I? Thinking of a famous person then having people ask yes or no questions to find out who it was. I almost stumped everyone but only because I didn’t know they were on the Radio or not. Pretty soon the new stewards arrived to take over from us for their night shift so we told them what to do and wandered back to the camp site.

I had another look for my wellies with no sign of them I couldn’t report them missing to the Adbox (Oxfams Admin Box) as they weren’t open so I went back to the Shower tent again and couldn’t see my wellies and no one was inside but there was a pair sitting outside the shower tent, I assumed these to be the ones that belonged to the person who took mine so I decided to take them hostage which would also save me from buying another pair, I still don’t have my insoles but I shall have to make do for now.

I texted Ben Trott to find out what he was up to then I popped back to my tent to do some washing up, Ben called me up during this exciting task and said we could meet up and do something, as I didn’t get to speak to him before I didn’t realise he was working with the Cornish Cantina (a yummy Mexican food place) this year, he had worked with them before but last year he was part of the recycling crew so I assumed that was what he was doing this year. This meant that Ben was camped just next to the Other stage and because he had a special market wristband so I couldn’t go into his campsite so we arranged to meet just outside his camp site, I finished the washing up first, filled my bag with beer and then wandered down there.

As I got close to the Cornish Cantina I heard name being called out from up ahead, it was Ben hiding in front of a Tree, then Ben’s friend Manny came over after getting some food along with a new face Chloe, but upon being introduced I misheard her name as Clay, I decided that this was better so we kept calling her Clay for the rest of the evening, Ben had a water bottle filled with Whiskey which he offered me, I then dished out the beer and we were off, Manny wanted to see Shangri-La which apart from all the Bars was about the only thing happening on-site so we got in the queue which initially didn’t move very much but soon after we got through all the fenced queuing area we moved quite swiftly to our destination.

Fun with Fire

Fun with Fire

Shangri-La’s theme this year is based off the last years, with the end of the world aproaching, the population of Shangri-la are preparing to flee but first they must be decontaminated before they can access the new Skywalk. We walked around Shangri-La seeing what there was to see, what stopped in a little room where a small band was playing but we only caught the last song so we set off again, winding our way round to the Unfairground where they had fire and music and also fire. We popped into The Common we had Cherros, which were yummy then as we headed out we walked up towards the Stone Circle stopping in a Didjaredo workshop and then wondered back down again towards Ben, Manny and Chloe’s camp site near the Other Stage. People were hungry so I got out a bag of Jelly Babies for folks to nom on, on the way back Chloe decided to buy some Torches but after lighting one of them she decided she didn’t actually want them so put out the flame and then tried to sell them on without any sucess.

Manny was hoping to get some leftovers from the Corinish Cantina but they were closed, so we wondered on up a bit to what other food there was to eat, by this time Chloe was tired and being a bit of a grumpy bum so she went to bed, Manny did not discover any food that he liked so just on the off chance I tried to get into their campsite with my Easy Pass Out wristband not wishing to get Ben or Manny into trouble I went on ahead to try it on my own, and in the dim light of the market gate the security felt up my wristband and then let me in, I walked on ahead not really knowing where I was going so I walked enough that I didn’t think they could see me then waited for Ben and Manny to catch up to me.

We sat out back the Cornish Cantina and finished our drink and had some nibbles and finished off the Jelly Babies, we sat and chatted some more but it was coming up to 2am so we decided to call it a night, I headed back to my campsite and pretty much went straight to sleep after a fun night out.

Friday 24th June 2011

This morning I woke up rather early as it was hot in my tent, it was at this point I also discovered I had a little bit of a hangover from last night, I opened up the doors on my tent to let some air in then went back to bed, I woke up again and figured I should get up and try to eat something I had some breakfast and some Ibuprofin to try to ease my headache, but I figured I’d just try and get a little more snooze I may have missed a couple of bands but I felt much better when I woke up. I decided to go and and look for one wellies again then I popped to the Adbox (Oxfams Admin Box) where they didn’t have any handed in but they took my details and I picked up my programme there too.

It turns out there’s been a severe weather warning for 9pm to 6am and the rain has already started falling, so as there wasn’t anything I really wanted to see I spent some time in my tent writing up last nights endevours and listening to Two Door CInema Club on the Pyramid Stage, i had forgotten that you could hear the main stage from our camp site which is good as the batteries in my radio died so it gives me something to listen to at the camp site.

I spent a chunk of time writing yesturdays diary and ate some of my food so I wouldn’t have to take it home, then I went out to see B.B. King but failed a bit as I was still feeling funny, I felt that coffee would be nice, of course we get free coffee in the camp site but I wanted some proper coffee, I found a nice shop by Pedestrian Gate B, although technically it was the first one I saw, I had been there before when I was working on Pedestrian Gate C before, but after that I only caught the end of B.B. King but it also gave me a chance to buy my festival t-shirt.

Then it was on to one of my favourite parts of the show, every year I go and see Frost Improv Allstars, Stephen Frost hosts an Improv Comedy show a bit like the TV show Whose Line is it Anyway? Guests this year included Richard Ranch, Ian Coppenger, Steve Steve?, Andy Smart and Phil Jupitus, the great thing about this show is because it’s made up by keywords from the audience (locations, emotions, film and theatre styles) so it’s different every time

After that I dashed off to the Other stage to see Fleet Foxes, they put on a great show, a bit of banter in between songs is always welcome and some new tracks followed by some of their older stuff. When they finished I popped over to the Cornish Cantina to find my good friend Ben Trott and Manny working, they wanted to see a programme so I lent them mine but they were busy bees so I left them to it, I went and got myself some noodles, then I went to the Pyramid Stage to see Morrissey but then I remebered I only like a couple of his songs and I oughta be able to hear it from the camp site so I headed back there to rest my feet.

While back at the camp site I decided to pack away anything I didn’t need and put it in the car, pretty soon it was time to see my headlining act and no it wasn’t U2, I could already hear them from the camp site so I was quick to make my way to the West Holts Stage to see Cee Lo Green. He put on a great show, while wearing an interesting red and sparkley outfit with huge sholder pads, I love his album and it was nice to hear some songs not on the album but he also played a bit of a cover mashup featuring Gnarls Barkleys Crazy and a song from Mobys album Play and of course Cee Lo Greens hit song, expletives and all. He finished with a spot of Jorneys Don’t Stop Believing where exited the stage a little early in what looked to be an encour/costume change but unfortuantly not, the lights dimmed and the announcer began to reel off the next days lineup.

Cee Lo Green on the Pyramid Stage

Cee Lo Green on the Pyramid Stage

All in all it was a great night, although I got a little stuck trying to leave the site via Pedestrian Gate C with everybody else who just finished watching Cee Lo Green, but thankfully they were letting those of us with the Easy Pass Out wristbands go in the wide load lane. So I escaped back to my tent, set my alarms for a 5am start the next day and went to snooze.

Saturday 25th June 2011

My last shift today with Oxfam and although I don’t have a night shift this year I do have a morning shift and by early I mean 5:45am start so I set my alarm for 5am, thinking I’d hit snooze a couple of times but still get up in time, I hit snooze and then I woke up at 5:40am with only 5 minutes till the start of my shift and it takes 5 minutes to get up there, so I rushed about gathering my things and got up there just before 6am which wasn’t too bad, I couldn’t see April as she had done a similar thing but for a bit longer as she turned up around 6:30am.

I started out in the compound which is what they call the little fenced off area where the programmes for folks who’ve entered the festival for the first time, you basically gaurd them from people who arn’t just entering because we’re not allowed to give them away but if they ask nicely we might turn our backs for a few seconds, your secondary job in this position is passing the other Oxfam stewards their bags, later me and April were put on the gate for people leaving the site, we had quite a few misplaced or left behind tickets which annoys people but we send them away or get security to deal with them. It was quite late before we got our break, so we ended up catching the lunchtime rush back at the camp site so I opted for the easy route of eating my instant noodles, I dashed back and finished off by working in the compound again.

I would have liked to have gone down to the Pyramid Stage to see what Adam and Joe had planned, but it clashed with me shift so I’ll be going back and listening to their shows when I get back anyway. Once my shift had finished I dashed off to the Caberet Tent to see Early Editon with Marcus Brigstock and Phil Jupitus, there were two others that I didn’t recognise and since it started at the end of my shift I missed the start and presumably introductions. In the show they read out and mock the newspapers from today.

After the show I felt tired from my early start so I thought it would be a good idea to pop back to the campsite and get something to eat as I still had one meal ticket left, the journey back there knackered me even more, the path we take outside the festival site has become unusable with people resorting to walking on the roads, unfortuantly they’ve worked that out too and put stewards on the gates along the route, so the best route to take now is to walk up Muddy Lane, which is actually less muddy then our route through the fields, then exit via Pedestrian Gate B.

Back at the camp site I took the time to have a shower, this time I didn’t loose my wellies but I did give a naked man some shower gel. I felt much better after this I covered myself in Sun Cream as the sun was acutally shining, then headed on down to the Astrolabe again to see my festival favourite Frost Improv Allstars, but as they were running late I caught the end of the previous show and the MC embarrassing himself by playing the harmonica inside a sleeping bag while being hit by 3 people with foam batons, then the show started which turned out to be even funnier then yesturday.

The Good Natured on the BBC Introducing Stage

The Good Natured on the BBC Introducing Stage

Next up was one of my most anticipated bands at Glastonbury, The Good Natured on the BBC Introducing stage, despite having 20 minutes to get there the slow moving traffic around the Other stage slowed me down missing the first 5 minutes but what I saw was very good, after listening to their music I bought online it was very interesting to see them in a live setting with what seemed like live sampling from the main singer to form her own backing vocals, I’m interested to know if this is the case or rather it’s just pre-recorded. After the show was over I decided to get something to eat and head around the pyramid stage, I stopped at the Oriental Bar featuring Wok’s Singapore Noodles, I remember having them at Beautiful Days Festival last year and now I know where they are at Glastonbury I don’t know why I would go anywhere else.

I wondered round to the Pyramid Stage but decided to rest my feet and head back to the campsite to pick up warmer clothes for the headliner and also Beer, but on my way back to the camp site I was fortunate enough to have my bag searched, the man who searched my bag was confused about why you would have a telescope and he even took a shining to my mobile phone, I was a bit worried about my film camera as I asked that he not open it as it had film inside and thankfully he didn’t so there’s a tip for you, get an old film camera and fill it full of drugs, it might help to carry a spare canister of film around too just to sell the notion of it being a film camera.

Back at the camp site I could hear Elbow on the Pyramid Stage while I got myself ready to go out again, as I hadn’t heard from Ben I figured I’d just go and see Coldplay on the Pyramid Stage, but just in case I did hear from him I loaded up my bag with beer and wondered over to the Pyarmid Stage, I took my chair with me and sat at the back behind a tree, I do like Coldplays music but I wasn’t too fussed about seeing them again, then at around 11pm Ben gave me a call so we could meet up and head out to Arcadia. I chucked my chair in one of the property lock ups and headed down to the Circus field to meet Ben and Manny.

After a few more calls with updated locations we finally met up and headed for the queue for the night time route to Shangri-La, Arcadia, Block 9, The Common and The Unfairground, while in the queue we met a new friend Kate, she had been ditched by the group she came with so she tagged along with us to see the sights and sounds of this distant wonderland, Upon arrival in Arcadia we could see a big structure made out of machinary with crane arms on the top, we waited around for a bit but soon the show started.

Tesla Coil

Tesla Coil

There were many elements to this show, music, singing, acrobatics and most importantly fire and electricity. There was even a truck that burst out of a fence with what looked like a cannon and people dressed like flys on top, people hanging from the crane arms seemingly be struck by electricity and to round it all off great balls of fire coming from the structure. It’s tough to describe the show, it’s definitly something that’s better seen with your own eyes.Next up we moved on to Block 9 but apart from looking at the structures which look very similar to last years we couldn’t see much else to do there so we wondered on to Shangri-La and found that an area we had been in the other night was now host to a dancefloor with amazing visuals being projected onto the walls around the outside. We stayed there for a bit before moving on, we got some drinks and headed into a little stage called the Rocket club i think, in here we saw a live band play then we headed into the unfairground partaking in some hardcore clubbing after a few tracks we moved on to the Common as far as I remember we didn’t do much here.

Fire and Light Show

Fire and Light Show

Folks wanted to move on up to the Stone Circle so we moved out of the nightime exit for these venues and headed up the hill towards the Stone Circle. We found ourselves a nice spot on the hilltop so we could see out across the site, it was about 4am and already it was starting to get light out but sunrise wasn’t until 5:44am and I was getting sleepy, I had a little nap, but it wasn’t long before people were getting tired too and decided instead to head on home, we said our goodbyes to Kate and down the hill a little more I decided to take a more direct route to my camp site rather then via Ben and Mannys camp site so we said our goodbyes and I wiggled my way back to my campsite up Muddy Lane and via Pedestrian Gate B as my feet were hurting I decided this would be the easiest route. Back in my tent it wasn’t long before I fell asleep.

Sunday 26th June 2011

Day 7 of the festival for me and although I’ve finished working I didn’t have much sleep the night before last and then staying out all night last night didn’t help much, the sun was up and cooking me in my sleeping bag so I opened all the doors, drank some water and went back to sleep. I woke up a couple more times but went back to bed again, I ended up getting up around 3pm which meant I had missed Don McLean, The Wombles and Ok Go but after getting myself ready to go the first band of the day for me is Paul Simon on the Pyramid Stage, I went and picked up my chair from the property lock up so I could save my feet some more and sat at the back of the Pyramid stage, unfortunately that far back you can also hear a lot of chatter from the crowd but it was still enjoyable to see.

Next up I went down to the Astrolabe, this time to see Norman Lovett from Red Dwarf fame, he was here to perform his unique style of standup which includes plastic bags and costumes. I went to see him last year which I found to be an interesting experience, I think he’s still working on that act from last year as there were a lot of similar elements but also some new ones, always wrestling with the audiences attention he never seemed to produce the same sort of laungh out loud humour you get from other standup but I think he’s still worth seeing even if the only thing you take away from the show is how to poach an egg.

Next up I had bit of a clash between The Go! Team and the Eels, thankfully they were on the way to each other so I walked from Astrolabe up and past the West Holts stage where The Go! Team were playing, they started playing one of my favourite tracks Bottle Rocket from their first album, after that they started playing a new track so I decided to make my way to the Other Stage to see the Eels but also to stop by the Cornish Cantina to see Ben and Manny at work, they finished work soon so I got some enchiladas there and then went and sat by the Other Stage to watch the Eels and wait for them to finish.

As The Eels finished I got a call from Ben to go and meet them by the Market camp site entrance, I walked over and stood just off the path I popped my bag on the floor and as I did so I noticed something shiny in the mud, it was a pound coin so I picked it up, Ben had been telling us all about how he had found a five pound note but now I had a tale to tell about finding money too. Ben and Manny came out and they knew exactly where they wanted to go or so they thought, Manny led us to the Spirit of ’71 stage then asked if I had a guide so he could see what time the band they wanted to see started, it was at this point that Manny realised we were at the wrong stage, thankfully the stage we wanted was right next to it and was just a stones throw from their campsite so we hadn’t gone too far the wrong way.

We arrived at the Leftfield stage, it was here that I learned that we were here to see Bellowhead, I later learned that they had played a set on the West Holts stage but this was a much more intimate gig the tent was quite small but because we got there early we were very close to the front. Ben decided to nip off and get some food before they started so we stood our ground so Ben would have a spot to come back to, Manny being much more musically minded and knew more about the band then I did, told me about some of the instruments and band members as they came on stage to set up their own equipment. Ben arrived back with a noodley soupy thing and pretty soon the band came out to begin the show, I was very impressed to see an 11-piece band with brass and strings on either side and in the centre at the back the drummer and in front more strings and other percussion, most of them had a microphone too for singing…

And that’s where it ends so maybe I died but I’m updating this long after this was written so I’m going to leave it there.

6 Comments

  1. Peter Hartnell

    Awesomes, do you know any of the other stewards there already?

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