‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take your breath away’
I have just arrived back from Glastonbury parked in our kitchen freshly showered sporting a wicked sunglasses tan with blisters on the soles of my feet tired,but happy. I am finally able to take stock of the last few crazy days working at one of the worlds biggest and best music festivals – Glastonbury. I knew of the festival but really had no idea what to expect having never really been to a proper music festival before. But the thing is Glastonbury isn’t just a music festival it’s that and so much more, it surpassed all of my expectations. You may think that’s an exaggeration but you’ll never really know until you see it for yourself, so for now I will do my best to transport you there for a brief moment.
It was only just under a week ago that I piled onto a bus with 50 other revellers at Castle Cary station in Somerset. I sat and stared out of the window feeling like we were driving out into the middle of nowhere, it wasn’t until we rounded a corner that we got our first breathtaking glimpse of the site over the hill. There are very few wow moments in life that are engrained in your memory forever – these are the moments that inspire writers to write, photographers to snap, artists to paint. It’s how I felt in the audience watching an operatic aria for the first time, how I felt driving into the Swiss alps and that’s how I felt as I caught my first glimpse of the festival on the horizon. I liken it to Vegas in that it’s like an entire city built in the middle of nowhere fully self sufficient the size of of Bath with over a hundred stages and a veritable smorgasbord of experiences; a visual overload of color, art and performance. Gluttonous food, sinful delights awe inspiring creativity, fascinating characters from the four corners of the world who outside would never normally coerce but who inside the walls of the Glastonbury community become like brothers and sisters in the shared experience.
My first experience on site was dragging my suitcase along the grass trying to find the others, it was a few days before the general public were due to arrive and the place was literally still being built. The sun was beading down onto the fresh untrodden grass and people were wandering here, there and everywhere putting together this majestic feat of imagination and ingenuity. The sheer speed in which everything came together was amazing in itself. It took months to complete and was almost entirely broken down by the time we had left.
We settled into our campsite that night as the sun slowly set, our new found work mates (regulars at Emma and Larry’s pub) welcomed us with open arms into our new compound. These people are crazy wonderful characters who were drunk, high and on god knows what at times but they have hearts of gold and their generosity and warmth so encapsulates the spirit of Glastonbury. Marek – whom kindly invited us to steward with them this year is very personable and easy to talk to and became like everyone’s dad on camp. Mick is a such character who called me every name under the sun except my own, and who’s rambling stories and disjointed anecdotes became as much apart of the place as the makes shift benches the men built from the recycled wood in the area. Kevin reminded me of Keith Richards, like the others he’s done the festival for many years and has probably done every drug known to man but is very sharp and can talk his way backstage anywhere inside Glastonbury and ate like a pregnant woman such unusual things like burnt toast soaked in pickle juice, bourbon biscuits that he got the bright idea of covering in actual bourbon and raw noodles.From the moment we arrived he was peddling his firewater which is some sort of moonshine concoction that they made steeped in marijuana which much to our protests was passed around the campfire more than once. As these old friends meet up for Glastonbury year after year and you witness the twinkle in their eyes as they tell their stories of the festival you realize it means so much more than just an excuse for a couple of blokes to get drunk and high around a campfire each year.