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Diary of a Glastonbury Rock Chick Part 2

For Part One start here...

TUESDAY:  'Ground Control to Major Tom' David Bowie

We arrive back at Glastonbury Festival to find a shower block in the paddock and despite the rainstorms, our tents are still standing and dry. Bonus. 

The rain is easing, but the Worthy Farm's legendary mud appears as a thick slurry… and then as if by magic disappears leaving everyone to agree this is the best summer at Glasto ever.

For now, it's wellies on and we're off to suss out our stewarding work area. Team morale is high.

At our team briefing, we refresh our knowledge of the various hand signals to use in the event of an emergency. It's a reminder of the serious nature of our work and the loud noise to come. We know that 99% of our role is 'where's the nearest bar/stage/toilet?' but we are prepared for the 1% emergency.

We have a lesson on using the walkie-talkies Press - Pause - speak.
It's 'over' and not ‘over and out’
Apparently, it is only the Controller who declares a conversation ‘out' 
Who knew?

Tonight is the last chance to get to know the farm before the gates open to the public. The Tipi village - where I should have been, looks amazing. There is an expectant calm... 

Well, some areas are working through the night to get things ready, but that's festivals for you.

We're all ready and waiting...

WEDNESDAY: 'I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky' Kylie Minogue
The birds wake us, someone tells me it's a noisy Wren. It's not me, although I do perhaps sing in the shower at 5am, my only shower of the week...

Actually, this reminds me of a conversation at the broken shower block later in the week: with another Glasto newbie: 

'They tell me this is character building, my character is now well built' 
 I'm quietly pleased with how this grubby bird is holding up!

Gates open at the crack of dawn and by 10am the place is heaving. People of all ages appear having walked miles dragging carts, carrying backpacks, kids, tents, booze and bedding. It's not easy, through the mud in search of their camping nirvana.

SHIFT 1: 6pm to Midnight: Wednesday evening

With over 200,000 people now at Worthy Farm, we are getting a sense of what the weekend will be.

Right remember my role -  be firm, be fair, be awesome!

All goes well, it's fairly quiet as our area is not officially open until tomorrow.

THURSDAY:'Oh you can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life' Bjorn Again (Abba)
Today we have the whole day to glitter up (eco-only glitter of course), perfect the look, check out a favourite go-to place for vegan sushi, see what's open, and get ready for the night shift! 

I have to mention Stormzy - brilliant. I was never that interested to see Grime Artist Stormzy, would have never bought a ticket, but man, did he do something special out there with the Glasto crowd. Loved his connection, loved his dancers, loved the way he broke down barriers, loved the lady who learnt all the songs to sign it for deaf festival-goers. I'm a fan!

FRIDAY: 'Oi, Rudeboy, shut up' Stormzy

SHIFT 2: Friday Midnight to 6 am

Bars in our area are open but the stages close at 3 am. It is all surprisingly good-natured. Yes there are some unsteady on their feet people, yes there are some who try it on, to access through our passes only area:

"You know if the grass doesn't bend, it breaks, you know what I'm saying?"

And then we spotted him, ‘I've got this,’ I yell above the dance music! 

Oi you, Respect the Land!

How do you stop someone in full pee? Have you ever tried? It was a full beer arc of golden colour, bigger than Niagara falls and I knew if caught that he could get chucked out and I could lose my job AND more importantly all the bloody fish in the Whitelake River would die! We're not having toxic pollution on my shift. If I don't stop him…

Of course, I have been practising my words, as other than a drug overdose at my feet, dealing with such drama has been top of my mind:

My friends helpfully weigh in with their suggestions! How about...

'Excuse me, young man, will you put that thing down?' '
Excuse me Sir, no hands allowed for this performance?'
Sorry mate, not on my turf!

The guy shuffles off apologetically, mission accomplished… Sort of.

At 6am we get a couple of hours kip before rushing down the hill for Bjorn Again. It is a real Glasto highlight. Dancing Queen, along with the thousands at the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury... having the time of your life.

Sleep is for wimps!

'Cause you give me something, that makes me scared, alright', James Morrison

SHIFT 3  Saturday 6 am - 12 Noon
The majority of the bars and the main stages close at 6 am. We come on duty just as people are leaving after an all-nighter.

Wow, the rubbish. A few people linger and some need help to find crew bars that are still open.

As if by magic the Glasto rubbish team of volunteers appear, about 20-30 people and the all-night party revellers clap them and call them legends. They descend on the area in a swop, all the rubbish is sorted for recycling into three sacks as they collect.

Our laneway is busy as Production staff leave, food vans replenish stock, the water lorry appears, the toilet cleaners arrive. I am in awe of the behind the scenes organisation of this place, it is mega slick.

We leave in a heatwave, having received a text saying all showers have been suspended until further notice to preserve water. No worries, our brand new showers which had appeared with great excitement broke down on Wednesday, various parts had been replaced but to no avail, we are beyond grubby and beyond caring!

 "It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it..." Bananarama 2007

12 Noon to 6 pm Sunday
The was the toughest shift, and the quietest for us, although our area was gearing up for the last Sunday party until 6 am. 

We were working during David Attenborough's appearance thanking Glastonbury for going plastic-free. He tells the crowd there are a million fewer bottles now going into landfill. 

We missed Kylie Minogue's emotional legends performance on the Pyramid stage too but I'm fine with that. 

We know our role was an important contribution and I'm pleased to have been able to offer my time. I now have a greater understanding of what happens at all-night party venues, the good, the bad and the ugly. I feel that every parent should have this knowledge in their parenting kit bag.

Oh, we did have fun and yes I'm on for 2020 Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary if they'll have me. I shocked the kids. 'You're going again?' they say with a mixture of jealousy and incredulity, but Mum you don't do camping!

I'll leave the last word to my kids when I asked them whether they'd received my postcard from Glastonbury? 

Is it on your fridge I asked?  

'Ermmm not yet', they replied? 'Have you looked at it Mum?' 

'Yes I thought it was lovely, with the little birds on it" I told them

"Oh Mum, look at it!"

Oopsie. Isn't life wonderful when it comes full circle 
and your kids start disapproving of your actions?!


Crimson Kettle said…
Very interesting but so tiring for you. x
eileeninmd said…

What fun photos and a great music festival. The tipi village is cool. Enjoy your day, happy weekend!
Jenny Woolf said…
I never thought of the stewards, so this is a really interesting take on Glasto. I had a friend who stewarded at the Olympics and that was also very interesting to read about.

I have never been to Glastonbury, but our neighbours are the family of the teenage girl who was on camera crying about Sigrid so a lot of people in our neighbourhood were even more aware of Glastonbury than usual. I am so impressed by Attenborough speaking there at his age. Did you get to meet him?
What fun to read about the background of what goes on at a big music festival. There's no way I will ever attend one (although never say never) and it was amazing to live vicariously. Wish I could have seen/experienced Abba!! (oh - and you want to go must have been great).

Cynthia said…
Well, I love your postcard and would surely post it on my fridge! What an EPIC experience. I loved your photos and description as that is one experience I will never have. Did you live in your shower for days when you got home? Thanks for sharing!
Great to read your post, it certainly was an experience!

All the best Jan
I'm so enjoying joining you on your adventures. Glastonbury is such an iconic event, I've always hoped I'd go one day, but until then... thanks for taking us along and making it such fun.
Thanks so much for visiting!!
Jeanie said…
That's incredibly funny about the postcard.
And no, I've never tried to stop someone mid-pee. Well done, you!
All those brollies! Well, at least you can hear, even if you can't see. It sounds like a most remarkable experience for you! Bravo!
Christina said…
I only ever tried to stop myself mid-pee... I am so glad it was you being a steward and not me, I am a total wimp in crowds. I even forfeited to see the Foo Fighters last night here in Glasgow, a band I absolutely love. Fingers crossed for next year eh?
ann said…
Thanks for visiting the Garden Spot and leaving a cheerful comment. Did you consider going to the Wood Stock anniversary concert. 50 years old. If you didn't, good. The reunion didn't get off the ground.
Janice said…
What an adventure! And kids, what do they know anyway, right?

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