Glastonbury 2004: reports and reflections
Well, what an experience . . .
Report and all photos by 'wiskey', July 2004
Glastonbury has always been a weekend I look forward to for some time, but this year I think it would be fair to say I wasn't exactly enthusiastic.
Failing to get a ticket and the associated stress and then having to work when I expected a week off didn't really get it all off to a good start. But I think it panned out in the end.
Arrived on site on Monday and spent the evening chatting to my team mates and listening to the sound of the footy cheers rippling across the site. Nice pleasant evening – in the rain but it cleared up leaving gales and a slight chill.
Tuesday was a much better affair. Rolling out of bed at 7am to go to work was a bit of a hassle but once nicely ensconced in the Landrover with coffee and radio Avalon things were so much better.
The site was full of people busying around building things with much more skill and care than I can manage, everywhere we went there were people creating amazing shelters, stalls, seating and random objects (or is it art??) from sheet metal, wood and stone.
As the day progressed the site really came together, and then in true Wimbledon style the heavens opened and the first of several deluges fell from the sky, not that this did anything to dampen spirits on site, nor did it stop the Lost Vagueness Lunatics from building their chapel in 35mph winds!
Ended the day in the pouring rain in the backstage Acoustic bar, which always does the trick!
Tuesday night I got an unprecedented 16 hours sleep and when Wednesday rolled in and I was aware the gate was open it was raining so I went back to sleep for a few more hours.
Unfortunately as I got up at lunchtime I managed to slip a disc in my back, which was decidedly unpleasant and forced me to visit the services and healing hands of the Festival Medical crew.
I eventually stumbled out to the family field for a while before setting off for another shift overnight around site.
And it was great, there were people everywhere, we drove past the cider bus but could identify nobody amongst the legless ciderbods and the lary largerites.
The evening was relatively uneventful I think.
Lots of people getting pretty wasted and soaking up the Glasto vibe. I'm sure more people are arriving on site on the wed now, it seems to get earlier every year.
The dawn at the stones was one of the nicest I've seen in a few years (the weather may not be good but its creates some lovely effects).
Thurs was a bit of a blur; it was a case of tent, duvet, newspaper, and sleep.
I then got up and had a lovely hot shower (outside in the driving rain) which revived me somewhat and I set off to see who I could find and hijack anybody I thought might be at camp urban.
I succeeded in my quest and a small group of us went on a slightly hazy wander across site, the WHOLE site.
For the first time in a great many years I went for a proper amble around, we walked past the other stage, dance tent, new bands, pyramid, markets, cabaret, tipi, lost vagueness, stones, back down central drag, leftfield tent, up muddy lane to family field and then to the farm.
At which point I sat down for a good ten mins and lamented about the state of my back! But it was great, something I enjoyed doing and will make a concerted effort to do again.
Friday was spent chilling sat on the roof of the landie parked at the back of the Jazz Field and lovely it was too, we seemed to be listening to Spree who weren't unpleasant and chatting to the people drifting around the festival. Even the weather cleared up.
We rumbled around site and managed to see Snow Patrol, Franz Ferdinand, and some of PJ Harvey.
By the evening I was fed up with work and needed to relax so I headed to the cider bus, avoided Oasis and was immediately captured by 'my new best friend' who transported me to the tipi field – where she was safely put to bed and we had an impromptu gathering of lost souls and started the night off nicely.
Eventually decided it was time to leave the shadows and ghosts in the tipi field and, after collecting a rather fuzzy dervish from the totem pole we set off to the glade to meet others, who we bumped into on the railway line coming towards us in time honoured Glastonbury tradition.
Lost Vagueness was hectic as ever and I must admit it was the only time I felt any negative atmosphere at the festival, but it was all good fun, the lost souls turning up to worship at the chapel provided suitable entertainment for a time until we rolled back down the railway line.
As we approached Green Cross we were treated to the most amazing dawn over the field of Avalon and to our left a huge rainbow spanning to area of the Green Fields. Most impressive!
However, with rainbows comes rain and it was time to hobble sharpish to the tent for a well-earned rest.
Saturday I dozed, listened to the rain on my tent, dozed some more and thought about quite how muddy it must be, by Saturday night I was well prepared for the mother of all shifts, but not prepared enough!
12 hours of people chatting to us, cruising around site dealing with various things, a long encounter with a 42ft preying mantis, a road subsiding, lots of rain, some mud and rather an extended time listening to the Hare Krishna's chanting later it was time for breakfast and we sat by the Avalon mast and surveyed the site.
It was shaping up to be a glorious day and I was hyped up, so sleep wasn't an option.
At 10am I went for a stroll around site and ended up at camp urban, which was just producing the first bedraggled messes stumbling out of tents.
Second breakfast came courtesy of the magnificent square pie company and we set off to be cultured and watch the opera . . . and I did try, I got as far as the cider bus before the sounds of wailing women forced me to go no further.
So I sat and read the paper and soaked it all up from a distance. Joss Stone was the only person I really wanted to see and I saw her second set at the Pyramid in the sunny afternoon, I knew she'd caused a storm at the Jazz stage the night before and wanted to see her in action. And she was impressive!
Things start to get a bit hazy after that, I remember realising I was at Morrissey, deciding I wasn't ready to be depressed and leaving quick smart! I stayed at the cider bus for some time, I may have moved, I cant remember.
The next solid point is meeting various people, chatting to my mother, heading off to orbital and then it all changed.
I went from not being able to move due to back pain to coming up in style as orbital shook the very mud I was sinking into. What an experience.
We dragged our feet from the mud and went to the Craft field to indulge in a little chai and lots of sitting, the stone circle was calling and i successfully failed to find my friends but I think I found another level of my consciousness, having been up for well over 30hrs by then.
By about 3am Sunday morning we were falling back through the mud to the pyramid where I was diverted towards backstage dance tent to go to Prod. And it was a total blast, great atmosphere, great music, and good company. We liked that.
The early hours of Monday morning were spent crawling to the stones again and sunning ourselves drinking chamomile tea.
We didn't move for a long time and it was 12 o'clock before we decided that we really ought to be active or miss lifts home etc. . . and so I dragged myself back to the farm and spent the day chatting, finally building a fire and generally dealing with having been up for 48hrs.
I left site muddy, tired, aching and generally fuzzy at about 8pm Monday night.