Glastonbury 2005: reports and reflections
'Drenched summer barbeques'
By Lee Jones, July 2005
Good old British summertime rain running down the back of your neck as a sodden tent refuses to be assembled wasn't what I expected of Glastonbury, but surprises were set to be a regular occurrence in these muddy Somerset fields.
This wasn't my first festival, I felt slightly prepared after several weekends inebriated in Reading, but as I had been reminded time again 'nothing is like Glastonbury' - something that was ringing in my ears as I stumbled into the imposing main gate like some sort of sleep deprived pack horse.
The scene around me was like nothing I had ever seen - a shanty town produced by millets, weatherproof capsules and temporary scaffold; a shanty town which was quickly becoming altogether biblical as the heavens poured: two adventurers walked past carrying a canoe, not quite the ark but equally as foreboding for a festival which promised beers and barbeques.
This is not to say that the weekend was dominated by the weather, quite the opposite, for after the preliminary fears of trench foot the mud became just another part of the experience.
Wandering from field to field, smiles were aplenty as the water levels rose with the throb of the dance fields, mud churned with the beat of the main stages - we were happy to be ankle deep in what was once pastures green!
Glastonbury, it seemed, unlike any other festival, is a place that exudes happiness; every direction promises something new - as long as you are willing to find it.
The weekend could easily be spent, as of most festivals, camping with the intermittent trips to see the biggest bands, and this is all well and good, but when 150, 000 people are watching Coldplay with yourself there is a slight nagging feeling that watching it on TV may be just as rewarding (don't get me wrong, Chris and company were hugely entertaining, albeit about half a mile away from me).
No, Glastonbury is about getting out to see the little acts, walking or wadding that extra distance I found excellent bands who put some of the bigger acts to shame for the simple fact that this Glastonbury is their pinnacle - watching an unpaid band with tears in their eyes, thanking the 250 or so audience for giving them the greatest moment of their lives is a moment to behold - emotions can run as high as the water levels at this festival.
Of course there is much more than musical entertainment - further excursions will find a plethora of things to do and people to meet - the Stone Circle, the Green Fields, Lost Vagueness - there is almost too many things to do from silent Russian cinema to Waltzers, people dancing round fires or on bars, anything - there are so many festivals within this one festival; a festival for the arts and a festival for people.
So the tent stayed standing, although looking as stable as we all were, dripping wet and exhausted as the water rose round our feet.
Our bags soaked, dreams of summer barbeques drenched and only the damp to look forward to; but we persisted, saucepans on hand to bail out the tent, soaked t shirts to mop up - and against the odds we did it and felt euphoric for the first time in hours.
After a few heartfelt manly hugs we could relax and look forward to the most unique of festivals