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Diary of a Glasto Rock Chick!


Part one: 

SIGNING UP AS A GLASTO VOLUNTEER: November 2018


I can thank my Aussie girlfriends who pushed me to volunteer as a Glastonbury Steward. 'Yeah, you can do that' they said, sipping on their skinny cappuccinos within easy reach of flushing loos. 


I'd reconnected with my long lost inner Rock Chick after seeing the movie Bohemian Rhapsody and was contemplating volunteering at the greatest show on planet earth. I just wasn't sure what I was letting myself in for, and whether I could survive the Glastonbury Festival.

We're talking six nights camping in a field with no electricity, wot no WIFI? Surviving the legendary Glasto toilets, me Miss Evian water, drinking from the same tap cows use for the rest of the year. A Melbourne coffee snob and part-time foodie, living on festival fast food with a side of no sleep. Moi, the leader of the "shall I'll ask them to turn the music down?" discussions on arrival everywhere. 

An old country bird with zero experience of all-night party raves, well ok, but it's going back a bit. AND not even any particular lover of music...

My friends were more convinced of my abilities than me:


'Oh C' mon, you do three countries in a day, 
You live a permanently jet-lagged life, 
You're used to squatty toilets in Asia'


And so here we have it. I lucked out and got the new field campsite with the compost loos!

Glastonbury 2019, the 49th festival of contemporary performing arts held at Worthy Farm in deepest sleepy Somerset in the UK. All 135,000 first-release tickets, snapped up within 35 minutes... 


To volunteer is the gift of entry, 
IF you can handle the work.

The run-up to the event was a bit like childbirth. People had that knowing chuckle, and a slap on the back, like when they know something you don't know. 'You'll be right' they said with all the certainty of someone who knows that whatever happens, however much mud, little sleep, or dance yourself dizzy people you meet, you will end up on a massive Glastonbury high.



SELECTION AND TRAINING March 2019:

The recruitment process is over and I'm in! Glastonbury donates £3 million pounds to support a variety of charities, including Oxfam and Greenpeace. Our charity will receive around £1500 for our team's work.

March finds me in a packed out Somerset Village Hall for my stewardship accreditation training. We are a wonderfully eclectic group of volunteers. From Grandmas to dreadlocks and tattoos, to millennials and those old enough to have sung along with the original release of Honky Tonk Woman. 


We are a triumph of diversity and inclusiveness. 
We bond over a cuppa and a rich tea biscuit.


I ask the Glasto veteran I'm sitting next to, why she has stewarded for nearly two decades?

'It's the atmosphere' she says, 'there's nothing like it. 
You get that many hugs, the youngsters they just love you.' 

The training is informative and reassuring. Our personal safety is paramount. We are not there as security, we are the friendly, helpful face of Glastonbury. We are there to be firm, to be proud and to awesome. I am one of the 5,000 people who are stewarding.  


We learn many things that day from crowd control to the importance of stopping people peeing on the land. Urine in the river will kill off the fish downstream. Glastonbury's licence renewal depends on many factors, the 'Love the land, leave no trace' policy is stressed. 




SET UP AND ONSITE BRIEFINGS Sunday 23rd June

We are up early to rendezvous with the team and load our kit into the one car and trailer approved to drive to the campsite. This massive bonus means we are set up before the farm goes into lockdown, and can have an initial wander of our area of operation.

Our team are starting to bond and to get to know each other. We are a mix of age and Glastonbury experience with a broad range of musical tastes. We passed the first team test - we have all arrived and got our tents up! 


Believe me, for some of us (me!) that is a hell of an achievement.




Our Team leader brings all his experience operating at the front lines as a former senior infantry army officer. I'm at home amongst spreadsheets, superb organisation and feel ready to be 'deployed' to the front line of the all-night party area the South East, 'naughty corner'. 

He seems pleased with our initial formation, as we check and recheck our understanding of the role:


" Great, I have a team of CEO's!" 





Two more sleeps to go, in a proper bed, nighty night, sleep well!


To be continued... 
How do you think it went?! Would you be up for it? 



You can read more about my Glasto adventures here at: Wandering Glastonbury Festival, UK

Linking with thanks to Mersad at Through My Lens



Comments

eileeninmd said…
Hello,

The festival sounds like a real adventure. Kudos for volunteering! I could not sleep in a tent, I need a real bed, pillows, running water and hot showers. Enjoy your day, have a great week ahead!
Billy Blue Eyes said…
I tend to watch Glatonbury on the TV though I would really like to go. My wife has a friend who lives in the nearby Village and gets free tickets so I am told.
BTW I only live a few miles from Greys Court and enjoy visiting the place
I'm applauding you for stepping up the plate in your volunteering. I sometimes feel I have not done my best in volunteering for causes, and now I'm sad that I'm no longer ready for a trip to countries in need of help, or joining in on the Red Cross in relief of all of the catastrophes in the US. I would do so much differently all over again if I could!

I love camping. I live my best life in the country although I'm a big part of city life. So I really have enjoyed this post and all of your honesty in your intrepid decision and final happiness in your choice. Bravo!

Jane
Crimson Kettle said…
I'm looking forward to hearing the inside story from the field. x
What an adventure...you are BRAVE! And no, I would not be up for it but it's fun to read about it and imagine the excitement that was there!
Christina said…
Goodness, you are one brave woman. I am not great with crowds and prefer silence over music - not good prerequisites for a music festival. Good to be in the capable hands of a former infantry officer though :-)

Gillena Cox said…
That is a very awesome courageous thing to do volunteering. Bless you, ah but that's not something I would do

Happy you dropped by my blog



Much❤love
Janice said…
Discovered a while back that tent camping for me is in the rear view mirror.
Hello never heard of Glasto but it sort sound a little like the American version of Rainbow camp out here in America. But I like the thought of keeping it green.
I stop by though Iris if you have time stop in for a cup of coffee.
Good grief, sounds like a great adventure for some, but not for me.
Nancy Chan said…
The festival and volunteering seem very exciting. I would say you are so very brave. I don't think I can survive the duration of the festival.
Many thanks for your comment.. Enjoy yours Holidays. Cheers
Jeanie said…
Wow -- definitely an adventure. It sounds like they train you very well and that's terrific. But BOY! I think you were brave! Bravo for volunteering and I can't wait to hear more about it!
DeniseinVA said…
You are amazing and good for you being a volunteer. Great photos! I'm a wimp at this stage of the game. I have a hard time getting out of a proper bed in the morning, let along sleeping on a cot/sleeping bag on the hard ground. I take my hat off to you.
betty-NZ said…
Wow, what a great experience!
Jenn Jilks said…
That is quite the adventure!!!
WOW! This is definitely quite an adventure and probably something you will remember for the rest of your life! But you are a far braver person then I am!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!
Hugs,
Deb
Cynthia said…
Goodness, Wren, you are so brave! I bet you did an awesome job as a “friendly face of Glastonbury” and i can’t wait to hear about it. Do tell!
Wow - this has to be a whole new adventure!!! Not something I would ever want to do because sleeping in a tent just gives me the willies. The music would be fun though and I'm sure the people (the non-peeing on the land ones) are great. Can't wait to read the next chapter in your adventure (AND to see if you're on the list to go back next year!).
I am enjoying reading about your adventure …
But never in a million years would that be me!!!

All the best Jan
mvmaithai said…
Hi,

There is a similar music festival in TN (1 hr's drive south of Nashville) called Bonnaroo, also happening in mid June every year. It's quite famous, with a lineup that includes Paul McCartney and U2 in different years. Since you are a pro now, you might want to check into volunteering there :-)


We're still on for BKK. Will send email separately.

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