30 hours on a plane to travel to a place where I would have to live in a tiny tent which is being rained on by the juiciest drops you could ever imagine. Waiting in a long line to use a toilet which is covered in various bodily fluids. Not showering for five days and having all your clothes covered in mud or red wine. Sounds like a fun time right?
CORRECT! To me it sounds like the most fun a person can have. As bad as the above paragraph makes things at Glastonbury sound, that combined with amazing bands, great friends and the odd spurt of sunshine made my five days and nights camping the best of my life (so far).
My passion in life is cutting loose at a music festivals and dancing in the dirt to all forms of music. As Glastonbury is basically the most well-known festival in the world I had no qualm in traveling to the other side of the planet to be part of the action. I spent nine months living in Melbourne trying to save my pennies in preparation for another summer in the northern hemisphere, the months sped by so quickly that It was hard to believe I was boarding a flight bound for Manilla then another onto Heathrow.
I had just four days to recover from the flights, catch up with friends in London and get my supplies sorted from Asda before catching the bus from Victoria station to the festival. In our original team there was five of us that managed to get tickets, Tom, Katie, Karolina, Izaak and I. We were the five that boarded the bus that morning and struggled with incredibly heavy packs and bags across the festival grounds to meet a group of people that had a ‘mass erection session’ with our tents earlier in the day which meant we had great spots for getting around the festival grounds. After dropping our packs I changed out of my sweat drenched t-shirt and we went to explore Glastonbury for the first time. The Park stage was our first point of call where cold beer soothed the pain I had felt moments earlier under the weight of multiple packs and bags. From here we made our way to the top of the hill to take in the view which was basically paddocks and paddocks of tents stretching out to the horizon. After this many more beers were sank and we got lost somewhere about the festival late that night. My last memory was sitting by a camp fire singing along to Cat Stevens with a choir of strangers.
Thursday started off a little slowly with the sound of heavy rain pummelling the tent roof just centimetres from my face. It was a given that today the mud would set in, providing a detrimental yet iconic element to the 2014 event. As none of the main acts were due to play that day we spent more time navigating our way around the festival trying to figure out where to go and who to see. Figuring it all out was like trying to decipher come complex Algebra equation. There was no way I could see every band I wanted to and therefore I had some sacrifices to make.
As Friday rolled around Glastonbury was now in full swing with the opening of the main stages and the more famous acts beginning to perform. First we saw a surprise performance from the Kaiser Chiefs which was followed by Blondie. I then left my friends to see Haim and then went and met another old friend who pushed on through the crowds at the Pyramid Stage to get past the congested ‘D’ barriers to see Lily Allen who for once performed with some enthusiasm (it was Glatsonbury after all). This was followed by a bit of hip hop from Jurassic Five before making my way back into the ‘D’ for Fridays headliners and my highlight of the week, Arcade Fire. Although I cannot remember the entire set list I have relived it time and time again on Youtube and I swear I can see myself perched on Izaak’s shoulders at around the 29 minute mark.
Saturday was far more complicated in terms of working out a schedule of who to see and who I would miss out on. Unfortunately I had to cut Anna Calvi, GoldFrapp, The Pixies and Jake Bugg in order to make room for Kelis, Lana Del Rey, MGMT and Jack White. A surprising highlight of the day came in the form of a group called John Wizards whose lead singer was particularly adamant about making sure the people in the crowd loved one and other. After the main acts had been seen on Saturday we made the massive trek to ‘Shangri la’ where Glastonbury continues on until 7am. On the way, as expected there were plenty of sites to be seen. We stopped in at a bar hidden under a waterfall playing Bollywood tunes and continued on with some exploring at this point the entire festival had turned into a mud pit and each step was taken with great care. Unfortunately I grew tired of taking such precaution and slipped over backwards, getting completed covered in sticky brown mud.
I awoke after pretty much no sleep on the final day of Glastonbury with a heavy heart, already thinking ahead to the next day when the festival I had been waiting so long for would all be over. There was little time for sorrow as we had another full day of activity ahead of us with the likes of Dolly Parton, The Subways, The Black Keys, Connan Mockasin and Disclosure. The camping areas were beginning to look slightly baron with many abandoned tents and piles of rubbish left behind by those who had no intention of sleeping on the final evening and making a hasty escape before the crowds the next day. Like the days before Sunday flashed by in what seemed like a moment of minutes. The team reconvened at the tent at around 3am where three had decided to hitch a very early ride back to London leaving Izaak and I to carry on until the wee hours. We sat in the tent for a few minutes and I began to feel the lack of sleep starting to catch up on me. In order to prevent this from happening Izaak and I decided to take a walk back up to the top of the hill where we started the weekend and watch the sunrise for the final time over the exhausted looking mess that was left below us. In moment of reflection I watched the sun slowly make the wet ground steam and knew that everything had been worth it. It really had been the best five days of my life (so far) and proved that the long flights and thousands spent on flights were all worth it.
P.s After making the trip back to the tent on one of the evenings (god know which one) I received the excited news that I had a ticket for Coachella! Looks like I’ll be doing it all over again in April 2015.