Glastonbury Festival - 24-26 June 2005
I arrived on site at Glastonbury on Tuesday 21 June after watching the solstice sun rise over Stonehenge. I got to the gates of the campervan field only to be turned away even though I had the correct pass. Apparently my van wasn't a good enough campervan, transits with mattresses in don't count! If its a van and you're camping in it its a campervan as far as I'm concerned but not as far as Glastonbury festival are concerned. It's all to do with health and safety they tell me! I get to park up in a staff carpark, luckily I brought my old leaky tent and my new leaky tent so went and pitched up in Tom's field with the rest of the Oxfam stewards. At the time there was glorious sunshine and it felt like it would never rain again!
I meet lots of great Oxfam crew and get my shift sheet. My first shift was Wednesday night through to Thursday morning, I started at 10pm, most people had already arrived in the daytime so it wasn't too busy. A steady trickle of people arriving through the night helped us not get too bored. By end of shift at 6am I was ready for bed big time! After a sleep and some food I went and had a wander round site and took some photos. I went and saw some friends on their stall and had a catch up with them. I ended up back in the crew canteen chatting with new and old friends.
Friday morning came all to quick and I started my next shift at 6am. In my tiredness of the night before and not thinking so early in the morning I hadn't taken waterproofs on shift. By 8am the heavens had opened and I was getting soaked! Luckily good old Oxfam provided waterproof ponchos which helped keep the top half dry but my trousers and trainers got soaked through. As it continued to pour with rain a river was beginning to develop at the bottom of the gate we were working on. By midday it was fast flowing and up to peoples waists so the gate got closed. I finished at 2pm and couldn't wait to go and get dry, by this time my feet were sore from being wet for six hours.
I got back to my leaky tent to find everything wet, this was no surprise but a pain all the same. I grabbed as much as I could and took it back to the van, it was lovely and dry there and I had kept loads of spare clothes there so plenty of dry stuff to put on. I ended up sleeping for a while and then went to the crew canteen for food. I ended up chatting to people again for a while and I couldn't be bothered to brave the main festival site after all the rain so I went back to the van.
I never used the tent again and bit by bit brought my stuff back to my lovely warm and dry van, it was great there but very lonely as no-one else was near me in the carpark. Saturday came and the sunshine was back in full force, my shift started at 2pm so I went and got food and then made my way over to the gate. There was lots of people with lost tickets and pass-outs due to being washed away so that kept us busy right up until we left at 10pm. The highlight of the shift was Dubdadda and his son coming through my gate which was great!
I made my way straight to the Drifts stage in Lost Vagueness to see Molara from Zion Train doing some stuff with a different band made up of members from Headmix and Baka Beyond. She did a couple of Zion Train songs as well as other stuff I had never heard before. It was really good although hardly anyone was there. I then made my way to the ballroom for Love Grocer but they hadn't started and it was time for Dreadzone in the dance village so I went over there. Dreadzone kicked ass big time, the tent was packed out and the crowd really got into the Dreadzone sound. They played some older tracks and some new ones from their new album due out in the autumn. As always MC Spee stole the show with his brilliant performance.
Afterwards I slowly wandered back to the van stopping here and there for munchies or a smoke. Sunday was my first and only day off during the festival. The sun was beating down, it was beautiful although still rather muddy underfoot in places. It was nice to be out knowing there was no more work to do. I must say though I find Glastonbury just far too crowded, I much prefer smaller festivals. I know to a lot of people you can't beat Glastonbury Festival but I think its just too big now. There's a great diversity of people and things going on but it's like going to Alton Towers on August bank holiday or walking down Oxford street on Christmas eve. I also think that it makes it less personal being so big and not one person came up to me and stuck up a conversation outside the crew area..... whats all that about?
I went and spent the evening at the roots tent in the dance village. I saw Alpha and Omega who were brilliant, I had heard of them before but never heard their stuff and I was well impressed. I will definitely look out for them in the future. Then on came Dubdadda, he had a brass section with him which included Dave and Chris from Love Grocer. He didn't disappoint and played some of my favourite tracks off his album. Next up was Smith and Mighty and I went for a wander round the dance village at this point and then came and sat outside in the remaining sunshine for a smoke. Finally (well for me) was Iration Steppas. Full on dub from the masters and I had a great boogie to them!
I bumped into a friend and went back to the green fields with him for a chat. I left there and wandered round generally taking in the atmosphere of the festival. I got back to the van at some point and crashed out. On Monday I was in no rush to leave so went up for a final visit to the stone circle and chilled out there for a good few hours. I left the site at about 6pm wishing I was going straight onto another festie and not going home!
Below are a selection of photographs from the gathering.