Just another personal weblog.
Glastonbury Festival 2000
Every year, around this time, my thoughts turn to my impending birthday. However, since 2001, I’ve also found myself get nostalgic for a unique event in my life that I hope, one day, to repeat – a birthday weekend at the Glastonbury Festival!
Going to the Festival in 2000, was my first, last, one and only visit to a large festival like that and I loved it. Of course, they have weekend–long music and arts festivals on this side of the pond, but there’s something special for me about “Glasto” that no other festival will be able to replace.
We arrived at our chosen spot at the very top of the whole site and set up. No traffic problems going in and by 12:40 we’re unpacked and ready to go. Off we wander just taking in the experience. We decided that mornings are for sleeping, early afternoons are for wandering and late afternoons/evenings are for bands.
After a good wander, we grabbed a beverage and the final couple of numbers from Fu Manchu on the Other Stage at some point in the afternoon. We then looked at the guide and decided that we’d see Priory of Brion, (a certain Mr. Plant’s new band), and The Waterboys on the Acoustic stage, with the special guest on the Pyramid (main) Stage in between them.
As we got to the Acoustic Stage, Jack Lukeman was finishing. We listened to Priory… both inside and outside the tent, (nearly all the stages were in “Big Top”–type tents). The Special Guest was Macy Gray, we listened to two songs then left. We did end up at the Dance Tent after we listened to a couple of The Waterboys tracks, but I can’t really remember what we did in between, (drink was involved, I believe!). We left the Dance Tent as I just couldn’t “get into it”.
We decide that we’re going to see Reef, Ocean Colour Scene and Travis on the Pyramid, with Rolf Harris at the Avalon Stage breaking up OCS and Travis. This meant that after Rolf we got back and caught the end of The Pet Shop Boys. This was probably the best day of the weekend.
Whilst wandering, we came across Lucky Rich, an Aussie juggler/escapologist/sword swallower who looks like Keith Flint, but with loads of tattoos and a kilt! His sword swallowing act included him bending over forwards for an audience member to pull out the sword!
Next we stopped by the comedy tent and caught some of Mark Kelly, who was not bad. Fair play to him, at times knew he was dying but didn’t care. Apparently, he used to be “Mr. Nasty”, if that helps anyone…
Reef were bloody good. I know few of their songs, yet easily got into those I didn’t know, and they did a really good cover of “Sex and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll” as a tribute to Ian Dury, who would have been on the same bill, apparently.
What we caught of The Pet Shop Boys was instantly recognizable. I must have been more merry than I thought, as I didn’t realize until most of the way through “What Have I Done to Deserve This” that Cerys Matthews, someone I’m a fan of, had stepped in as guest vocalist in place of the late Dusty Springfield
Travis’ set was, like Reef’s, full of songs I didn’t know, but easy to get into. Their encore consisted of a very good, semi-acoustic, iirc, cover of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” (yes, Britney Spears’ song) and “The Music” by The Band.
Getting back to the Tent after Travis was a bit of a nightmare as Travis, Flaming Lips and Fat Boy Slim all apparently finished around the same time. This was probably the worst point of the day being in a crowd of around 50000, all trying to go in pretty much the same direction.
But the highlight of the day… sorry… the weekend, was Rolf Harris! Yes, he was 70 at the time and played the same old songs but we bloody loved him for it. The tent for the stage he was playing probably holds 1000 at a push… I think 2000, maybe even 3000 people crowded in and around the tent to hear him. (His consequent appearances at Glastonbury have all been on the bigger stages). At the sides of the tent, the crowds raised the walls so they could see. It was marvelous to look about and see as many different sorts of people as could be, all there for one thing: to cheer for and sing with Rolf! Everyone sang along to every song he did, except for the excellent “A Fine Day” which was his new single, to which we all just pogo’d. He even added sound effects, in his inimitable way.
At one point we were repetitively chanting “Rolf”, when he stopped us and told us to “try this one” and proceeded to use the “Guantanamera” tune to sing “One Rolfie Harris, there’s only one Rolfie Harris”, even directing the key change.
When it came to the end of the performance, the MC was booed when telling us that that was the end of the set. The booing grew even louder when he said about the great act following. If we’d had been allowed, I think we’d have kept Rolf there all night. I’m sure he would have happily obliged too!
We had great plans, but the best laid plans of mice and men…
The heat from Saturday seemed to have taken more toll on me than I thought, as a little sunburn meant my forehead was quite sore and my arms, nose and neck were starting to feel the same. Insanely, all I did to combat this was to use a little sun lotion and spent all morning laying in the shade of the tent sipping water or sleeping and most of the afternoon wandering the friendly New Age/hippy area. I briefly slept in the “Sacred Space” area, (a field with a stone circle near one end) and woke up just in time to find my way down to catch Chumbawamba.
I had decided that, judging by the way I felt, walking over to see Willie Nelson, standing in the sun and coming back for Chumbawamba would have near killed me. After Chumbawamba I decide to go back to the tent and as I wandered, I came across The Wurzels playingon a small bandstand. I only stayed for the end of one song, then “I’ve Got a Brand New Combine Harvester”, and the start of another song. The crowd was small when I arrived, but had grown to be fairly large by the time I left. The reason they were on the little bandstand in the middle of a bunch of stalls and not on one of the stages is a great story. Apparently the lead singer turned up at Michael Eavis’ farmhouse a few weeks before, looking for tickets and instantly they were invited to play!
Well, my plan was, back to the tent to change and then venture to the Acoustic tent for Paul Carrack, to meet up with my friend. This however didn’t happen. I fell asleep once more and awoke at goodness knows when with an urge to use the bathroom, so, off I trot, toilet roll in hand, (allegedly a tradable commodity @ Glasto!). Anyhow, it transpires that I had enough time for some ablutions, a change of clothes and a roast pork sandwich, (of course – they seemed to be a staple food source for me all weekend!), before Bowie came on.
Thankfully, I had just chosen a spot that I was comfortable with and about to sit down, when his set starts. Maybe it was the general euphoria of the crowd or an inner sense of occasion, but by the end of “All The Young Dudes”, I’m singing along, (when I knew the words), clapping and cheering just as much as the next person. Even the stuff he did I had never heard of was great. There was even a track he did which was kind of a “drum and bass” genre tune! Part of the encore included a slight reworking of “Let’s Dance”, probably my favourite Bowie track.
Random Thoughts on the Experience:
Go with an open mind and no opinion about anyone and the way they dress/look/act and you’ll have a great time. Which also means, don’t be paranoid about what people might think about the way you dress/look/act, either!
Don’t be completely paranoid about your tent being robbed/stolen or you being robbed. I found the best way to deal with this was to think that it was going to happen to me, sooner or later, so I was really happy when I got home with money, tent & stuff all present and accounted for.
Don’t expect to have an undisturbed, full–night’s sleep.
In the general market area there are four types of shops: food, clothes, instruments, (drums & didgeridoos mostly), & New Agey stuff.
In the Green Fields, (i.e. New Age/hippy area), you can also get massages, therapies, readings, etc. Even though the area and origins of the Festival are very “New Agey”, the festival isn’t a thoroughly New Age/hippy affair.
As darkness descends, the air gets very smoky as everywhere people light fires and outdoor candles.
Maybe there’s a little too much drug use. If there’s smoke in the air it usually has a sickly sweet smell…
When you get to a high point in the site, you’ll be awe–struck by the size of the whole site.
Take along or buy a hat, if it is sunny.
Make sure you always have water handy if it is hot & sunny. The site can get quite dusty.
Make sure you use some sort of sun protection lotion and some after–sun care cream.
Make sure you have a bum–bag/fanny pack or similar, “secure” pouch for keeping your money in.
You can’t walk around hungry for long.
The wax from the outdoor candles is very, very hot. I still have a few small scars to prove it.
Next time I go, I’m going to try the stuff I didn’t get around to, like a craft workshop.
Missing Willie Nelson; don’t know why, but I felt quite gutted when I decided to miss him.
Missing The Happy Mondays, who were apparently only together for the Festival.
Wednesday, when it was back to work & reality, (thankfully I had wisely taken the Monday and Tuesday off to acclimatize).
Well, I am so glad I went now, and even more glad I had a friend with me to enhance the experience, but all too often over the weekend, I thought that it was a shame that more of our friends had not decided to come along. Maybe one year…!
For the benefit of my friends that hadn’t gone, I wrote an email, which was the basis for this blog entry. Here’s some comments from a reply I made to my own email and to some of the comments made by my friends who didn’t go, (their comments are italicised).
I’ve been in an hour or so, (I started writing this @ 12:00ish), still on the rollercoaster ride between tiredness & happiness. Despite 11 hours sleep last night, I’m still there! No doubt work’ll change that tomorrow! *s*
On the subject of going next year I’m quite keen to go to a festival just for the experience of having been and Glastonbury is the obvious one. That is the main reason I went.
I’d have gone this year if there had been somebody I’d really like to have seen. I thought this year’s line–up was particularly poor. I’m also really…
Rolf Harris was about the only person who, before the event, I would have been gutted to miss. Glad to have seen Bowie too, seeing as the guy is such a big name. And I agree… the line–up was not particularly good, but that’s life.
…put off by the conditions. I have hated all my previous experiences of camping and the description of the toilets sounds desperately grim. You also…
Well, I only described the cubicle–type toilets. There were also urinals and chemical toilets and they were all regularly emptied. I didn’t use a chemical toilet so I can’t describe them. The urinals were… well… urinals, (connected to the cubicle sess pools, I think).
…have to remember it didn’t rain this year…
We did have a brief shower on the Friday… for about 10 seconds! But the weather in the early part of the week was piss poor. Personally, I think I would have enjoyed myself if it had snowed!
Besides, you don’t get sunburned if it’s raining.
*rubs sore forehead & arms*
If a large number of people decide to go next year or if there’s an artist I’d really like to see (and I can afford it) I’ll probably consider going.
Go on… live a little… *s*
It sounds like you had a really good time.
Despite the lengthy post, I can’t really describe just how much I did enjoy myself.
Just chuckling to myself about the fact that everyone staggers back to the tent at night and would shout, “Bollocks” – This is quite a funny thing when you have 1000’s of people all shouting it at the same time, and it echoes across the Glastonbury Site!!
“Piiiggg… piiiiigggg… squeal little piggy, squeal!” This became a bit of a theme with me and my friend. Whether we were hungry or not, whenever we saw a vendor selling roast pork sandwiches, we’d make the call and kill ourselves laughing. Guess you had to be there, really! *lol*
#Tie me kangaroo down, sport, tie me kangaroo down…# Altogether now.
Whether Glastonbury or some other festival, you really should go at least once in your life! I remember, when I originally posted this, being sat at my computer with Monday’s evening news on in the background and still feeling on high!