Wednesday Si joined me this year and graciously offered to drive us. We set off at 9am and were on the site, without once hitting a traffic jam by 3pm. Tents up, it was off to work for me for the 4-midnight shift. It was busy with lots and lots of ankle injuries, every one of which was due to wearing pumps (Converse or Vans). You’re gonna be in a farmers field for 5 days! Bring some decent footwear with you!! There was an X-ray and Ultra Sound Machine available which came in handy as you’re always going to think an acutely twisted ankle that’s swelling before your eyes is fractured…..but surprisingly, most weren’t. The one that was an avulsion fracture to the fibula asked us to just strap it up – he wasn’t gonna leave. Some of the guys were still up demolishing a bottle of Jura so we sat out for a couple of hours chewing the fat.
Thursday was a quiet day for me. I had to be at work 8am on Friday and so was happy to take it easy. Full English breakfast then a relaxed wander around the Greenfield and Greenpeace bit of the site. The animatronics Polar Bear was amazing!
The others went off with Isla to the kids field in the afternoon while Si and I went back to our tents for a kip – Bliss. I was happy to stay up by the medical tent and have a quiet night when Mike O’Connor (who always seems to be in the know) says “Metronomy are going to be playing an unannounced gig at Williams Green at 9.15”…..had it confirmed by Marc Riley an thought “well, as long as I’m not out too late”..…..and so we head down onto the site. There was a huge crowd outside the tent as well as inside for 1975 who were playing.
As they finished we squeezed ourselves inside but the place was rammed! Most of our gang didn’t stay as it was too uncomfortable but Si and I managed to stay for ‘The Look’ before leaving for some air.
I left the boys to it (who were meeting Lee after his shift). Fog and Rachel were doing alternate nights out – they didn’t get back til gone 4.
Friday I was working 8am-4pm with Lizzie and we had quite a lively session. Not so many ankles in this time but quite a few people who had ‘over done it’ and needed looking after. It would be a good idea to get 17 year olds to come and have a look at what taking drugs can do to you….it’s a sorry site! The security staff who shepherded them were fantastic. Missed some bands I would have liked to see (War on drugs, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Blondie, Drenge) but hey, I’d rather be working and get in to see my pals.
Andy Kibby met me at the end of the shift and we headed off to meet the others by the Avalon stage where Michael Kiwanuka was singing his heart out.
The sun was strong and we sat outside chatting and laughing and going on the helter skelter. Then out of nowhere a huge black cloud appeared and soon, a huge downpour with thunder and lightning. “I bet that’s Metallica arriving” says Fog “Riding the Lightning!”. We took shelter in a sheltered double deker bus bar that was serving Hobgoblin and waited for it to blow over……..
We then got to the West Holts stage to find that the power had been pulled because of the storm and ‘Vintage Trouble’ did an acoustic set to the crowd instead. Next up were Tune-Yards who were very entertaining! Fog took Isla to get a signed CD from her before it was time for his early night.
Amber this year was in a motorised chair and lead the way to the Pyramid stage for Elbow. Her lipstick was amazingly bright red which prompted her to offer me some…..well it was Glastonbury. Soon we were all lippied up looking like a gang from the Warriors!
Guy Garvey got everyone to do a Mexican type wave from the front to the back before singing my favourite ‘Sad Captains’ and everyone elses favourite ‘One day like this’.
We stayed around for the beginning of Arcade Fire who had fireworks and sounded great, but Sam (aged 11) was having his first Glstonbury and was desperate to see the Kaiser Chiefs so we left them to it and wondered up to the John Peel stage.
The Chiefs pulled a huge crowd and did a great show that kicked off with ‘Never miss a beat’ and didn’t stop – full of hits and energy as you’d expect – Sam loved it!
Si and I weaved our way back through the dance village and heard Maxi Priest’s band soundchecking. It was SO LOUD that Si’s ears started to hurt so we moved out of the rodeo that’s the gully and sat outside till they came on.
It was the Girls night out and we were going to join them after they’d seem Metronomy for a boogie, but suddenly got very tired so wimped out. They got back at 6am….
Saturday was Metallica day. Fog and Sam were super excited as it’s their favourite band. We listened to 6Music over breakfast where they announced that Lars Ulrich had indeed arrived in a helicopter during the previous days storm “What did I tell you!”. Fog and I set off early wit Sam and Isla with the intension of seeing Gruff Rhys…..but a heavy downpour had us sheltering under a tree, then another REALLY heavy downpour had us run into a drinks stall where we chatted to a lovely Portugese lady about Lisbon and Marisa Monte and kids…..
It was clear we weren’t going to make it to see Gruff so we changed tack and went into the William’s Green tent where it was dry and the kids could run around. Just next door was a cider bar, cheesy chips stall and stone baked pizza stall – we were happy (and dry) there.
The next band on were ‘The Moles’ who looked a bit incongruous as the lead singer looked over 50 and the rest of the band under 20. They were really good. I bumped into the Australian lead singer a bit later and had a chat – Turns out the main man’s record company have re-issued some of his 25 year old albums and put this young band together for him to play with “So what you gonna do?”
The rain was still on and off so we just stayed put. ‘Coves’ were up next. A good 3 piece with a great front woman. There was a piece of research where they played just the music from a ‘Voice-like contest to people and nobody could consistently pick the winner. They then showed them the footage without the sound and everyone picked the winner – you could tell by their passion and performance. These looked like winners.
Before ‘The Wyches’ came on I chatted to a guy in a wyches T-Shirt outside “Are these good then?” “They’re dirty and horrible, I love ‘em! Just like early Buthole Surfers”…..indeed they were…..loud raucous…. And a joy to watch.
After a bite to eat we wandered the theatre field where we helped Druids carry a stone henge stone, got a blessing from a Yorkshire God, saw card tricks and some extraordinary circus acts from India.
The sun was blazing so we sat in deckchairs when a magician came on stage. During his act the heavens opened so he invited everyone on stage to shelter and carried on his act – very clever! There wasn’t enough room for the rest of us so we sheltered under Mels brolley….
After that it was the Pyramid stage all the way, first with Robert Plant who had the fantastic Justin Adams with him (he did great guitar job on ‘Whole Lotta Love’).
Lee had got totally soaked and so decided to go barechested until Si leant him one of his ultrabright hawian shirt…
During Jack White’s set there was great excitement as Fog and Andy found out they were going to be on stage with Metallica. Jason, a Pod friend of Amber and Andy, had won a competition to meet the band and he was asked if he could get another couple of people together to go on stage……
So before ‘Metallica’ came on, a group of their fans walked onto stage and lined the back of it (including Andy and Foggy). There was a film about posh Brits hunting a fox who then got shot by bears who turned out to be Metallica in bear suits……if you’d asked me before the festival I would have said “no way” to them as they’re not my cup of tea….but (as I’ve said before) if Fog says you must see something, he’s usually right……and tonight, he was bang on the money – they were terrific!
(Pic from Metallicas website with Fog centre stage). It occurred to me “How can I go back to being a skinny indie kid after this!?”
When they met us after it turned out they had to sign a BBC contract before going on stage promising to behave, not drink and for their images to be used by the Beeb….etc. and were paid £1.00 for their trouble. “50p and hour!” exclaimed Fog “How can I tell my Union Rep that!”.
We headed up to Avalon and the Giant fire spewing spider to meet Sarah who’d just finished her shift at the Park Medical centre. It was ridiculously crowded there as Fundamental were about to play but we managed to meet her eventually. The music was the quietest we’d heard all evening – Like they were playing music in a toilet. We hit the dance tents and about 3am decided to go to Shangri La and look at the madness…..unfortunately it was still RAMMED “It’s a Hillsborough waiting to happen” I heard someone say. Si, Sarah and I decided against it whilst Lee, Fog and Ari forged on…..getting in at 6.30 “Well, I had to beat Rachel didn’t I!”
Sunday was pretty much sunny all day. As we wandered down to the Pyramid field I could hear Billy Bragg on stage doing ‘Between the Wars’. He then introduced a film from the 60’s where men and women were talking frankly about their first world war experiences which brought a lump to my throat. Then the English National Ballet came on and did a performance that was just brilliant.
The bit at the end when there’s just a man and a woman on stage, he’s writhing in the agony of the battle field and she’s trying to comfort him from afar, but can’t……so intense – make me shed a tear! Found out later that they were man and wife in real life and this was the first time they’d danced solo together – surely not the last!
Next up was Leeds finest ‘Melt Yourself Down’ on the West Holts Stage who put in a blinding performance complete with speaker stack climbing and mud slinging/smearing in the crowd. This band are never dull.
A walk around the theatre field with an amazing Hula-Hoop lady, a wonderful giraffe walking around, the Cricket commentators and Leeds other finest, ‘Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip’ “This dipstick is the start of a car, could even be a jaguar!” – just the best!
Next up for us was ‘Public Service Broadcasting’ on West Holts who did a blinding set. The bass notes hit you in the chest at the front. After shouting “Yeeeaaaah!” I got a polite “Simmer Down” from the stage. Can’t wait to see them again at WOMAD.
By staying for PSB, we missed the start of Dolly Parton, who it seemed everyone wanted to see. I knew we’d never get anywhere near so instead we had a sit down with a cider from the Brothers bar to watch ‘Lee Thompson’s Ska Orchestra’ – could just hear Dolly singing “I will always love you” in the background as they came on. They had their own superstar with them in the shape of Dawn Penn for a version of (you guessed it) ‘No No No’.
I had thought of finishing the festival quietly with Alison Moyet and then Suzanne Vega in the Acoustic tent but as everyone else was up for Kasabian, and I had more energy left than usual for a Glasto Sunday we stayed and were bloody glad we did – a great show full of swagger, energy and sing-a-longs. My niece Hannah is a big fan and being from Leicester, was at their recent homecoming gig. By a coincidence Si and I bumped into her after the gig….what are the chances of that eh?
There was a great effort behind us with someone on someones shoulders on someones shoulders…
Si and I finished our week-end with Rachel and Lou-Lou in the Tiny tea tent near the Greenfields with a nice cuppa and a piece of cake. Chatted til gone 1am before heading back to base for the last time. There was a funny play in the Theatre tent that we stayed to have a look at for a while in which the actors mimed lines from classic films – wish we’d have seen more but then you can’t see it all……and remember……it’s not about what you see…..it’s who you see it with…
A vintage year…..well done everybody!
Bob the Chiropodist