Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Glastonbury trip report

I get to the station to get the bus at 11am wednesday morning, meet a friend in the queue and we leave at 11.30. We hear the 10am bus hasn't arrived yet due to a small accident, so we might be a few hours. Nevermind, we'll be there by 1 or 2 at the latest. OH WAIT - 9 hours later and we are still on the bus. This is the 25-mile journey from Bristol to Glastonbury - we are averaging 2-3 miles/hr. But it's a nice day, most people are walking alongside the bus and stopping at the pubs along the way, and when finally arrive at 9.30pm everyone cheers. James, who I'm camping with, has already arrived and put up our tent (score!) so I dump my stuff, and spend the rest of the day wandering around and intoxicating myself. hurray!

I wake early on thursday as the tent is BOILING. We spend the day doing more lazy wandering and intoxicating, and see a few random music things. It's a lovely day, so just sitting back at the tents chatting is great too. In the evening I go wandering, mind slightly fuzzy, and catch the end of Bristol band The Hand (rachael dadd+1) who are wonderful, and then I find myself dancing next to the rinkydink (set of speakers on a bike) with a bunch of guys in suits riding giant, luminous bug-shaped space hoppers. No, really. That'll be glasontbury then...

Rained a bit during the night, but nothing major. I meet with some friends at 12 to see Regina Spektor - I'm not a huge fan but it's nice to see my friends from Bristol. Next I head to the Jazz/World stage for the Hot 8 Brass Band, and then over to the dance area for lively reggae/ska/dub band Dreadzone which is very good fun. I meet my dad at reggae oldies Steel Pulse, and buy lemon Brothers cider and Pieminister pie. This is a good day.
At 9 I meet a group of friends at The Glade to go see Beardyman (awesome uk beatboxer) play with The Bays, who are a kind of dance/club type act but it's all improvised on the spot. They also have a super amazing drummer, which appeals to me as I've played drums for a long time. My friends don't enjoy it particularly but I think it's awesome - but then I'm in a bit of a silly state and would probably think most things are awesome. After dancing like a nutcase for an hour I head back to the tents and meet with some people there. We smoke for a while and have some 'hippie crack' (laughing gas - me feeling fairly fuzzy already makes this the most mindblowing 2 minutes ever. full on music in my head, light show, the works) After a while we head to The Park for a late night set by Fourtet. It hasn't started when we arrive, so we meet a friend of mine in the silent disco for some amusing noiseless fun, and then head to Fourtet, who are disappointing as it's a dj set, instead of the plinky-plonky niceness they play themselves. Me and James wander for a while, and then head back to the tents for sleep.

Another boiling morning, and I'm feeling a little fragile from the day before. I head to the Jazz/World bleary-eyed to meet my dad and we see Tenariwen who are fantastic. I meet up with James, we get a little silly and then go see Spinal Tap, who are suitably ridiculous/funny, and have guest appearances by Jamie Cullum and Jarvis Cocker. We head to The Park for the end of the Easy Star All Stars playing Radiodread, James heads to work (he's working for his ticket) and I lie around in the hot sun for legendary reggae oldie Horace Andy, who puts on a great show. My dad texts to say he's playing the Croissant Neuf at 8, which promptly leads to me falling asleep and missing it. I head to the jazz/world again instead to see Baaba Maal - top class Senegalese pop, and then head to The Park for Bon Iver, who has the crowd swooning with their chilled, beautiful melodies. I hang around a bit with friends, and end up going to bed fairly early as it's absolutely freezing and I'm feeling knackered.

Yet another stifling morning gets everyone up before they'd like. I go for a festival-wide wander, and bump into a friend from Bristol, and we go see The Destroyers, who are a 12-17 piece loud gypsy band. Needless to say they are good fun. I then head to the pyramid stage for international world music superstars Amadou and Mariam who are great, and then head to the other stage to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I'm excited about this gig and it doesn't disappoint - easily my highlight of the festival, and I am in an unbelievably good mood. We sit around a while, and then head to camp out at the Pyramid stage again, for Nick Cave and Blur. Nick Cave puts on a great show, and as soon as it ends there's a surge to the front for blur. We manage to get a decent spot fairly near the front, and spend the next two hours singing along to hit after hit. They aren't great to be honest, but everyone is having a good time - including frontman Damon Albarn who is so overcome he breaks down sobbing mid-song.
I'm starting to fade towards the end, and with a friend from Bristol and her friends I wander around slowly - wandering though Shangri La at night is awesome, tons of tiny 'side streets' with club-type things and music in lots of little tents and hidden corners. I'm feeling good, but then it gets cold, starts to rain very heavily and I'm very tired, dont have a coat or jumper, and am wearing my sandals. I get soaked through and my feet are caked in mud (i'd be disappointed if it hadn't happened at least once!) and eventually we head back to her tent to get her stuff, as they're all getting a 3am train. We wander to the entrance, I see them off and wander back very slowly (partly because I'm tired, partly to stop myself falling over - the mud is very slippy) feeling a bit shit.

When I get back to camp, clean my feet and get a jumper I cheer up though, and pack away our tent ready for James to finish work at 6am and we can head straight off to miss most of the queues. I manage to acquire some smokables, and I sit by myself watching the festival get light. A few of our camp return from various gigs and things and we smoke a few together, talking bollocks and things, all very pleasant. It starts to rain very heavily (I pat myself on the back for predicting rain and moving our stuff into the communal tent bit) and I feel sorry for James stuck outside. He comes back a little while later, absolutely bedraggled and I immediately wave the joint saying 'Come here and smoke this RIGHT NOW' He obliges and then packs up the rest of his stuff. We head off to get the bus, both talking utter jibberish and giggling, until we get to the bus gate and head our seperate ways. I'm feeling really quite silly and manage to get in the queue for the wrong bus several times before finally finding the Bristol bus. I then find out that instead of 1 bus every 30minutes, there has been 1 in the last 4 hours, and there are lots of grumpy people waiting. I sit on my bag in the hot morning sun trying to act vaguely normal, letting everyone else do the shouting, for the next 3 hours. It's quite surreal. Eventually 8 buses turn up at once (to a great cheer from our queue) and we head on to the buses. At this point I've needed the toilet for 4 hours, and had no food or drink for 10 hours and the bus is ridiculously hot, so am feeling slightly uncomfortable. I still manage to sleep almost all the way home though, arrive in bristol at 2pm (7 hours after I got to the buses) and hop in a taxi with a random guy who's been at glastonbury too. We discuss the highlights, and then he gets out and I head home for the wonderful post-glastonbury shower, toilet and sleep. And my god it's good.

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