Ok, so everyone moans about the mud at Glastonbury, apparently. Any of you guys that know me, however, will know that I am not averse to muckiness, messiness, or “roughing it”. As a New Zealander too, camping comes as second nature to most of us. I packed my army boots, my powdered milk, my pocket knife and soap, and thought “whinging poms, what do they know about camping. I bet it’s fine”.
How doubly crap to admit one is wrong in such circumstances. on the day I arried at Glastonbury, it had been raining for a week and a half. My army boots died a death so quick that I wondered if Neopolean or Hitler could have actually conquered Russia if they had thought of wearing gumboots.
Having battled the rain to put up my tent, I made my way to the oxfam tent. I waded to the table where gumboots were bing offered at merciful prices (some people are rumoured to make their fortune at Glastonbury selling the things at 20 pound a pair) and peeled my now useless John Bulls from my feet to force my sodden socks into the first pair of “Wellies” could lay my hands on.
That accomplished, I have to say, the whole experience was far easier to enjoy. Umbrella up, and it was off to explore.
Glastonbury is the size of a “small town” – to quote the locals. In New Zealand, it would be the size of a city. At 100,000 people, Glastonbury is bigger than all bar 5 of NZs urban areas, and it takes you about 40 minutes to walk from one side to the other. I decided to spend day one exploring the feild where my first gig was – Greenfeilds. it only took a few minutes to discover some seriously amazing construction art. I am a sucker for the visual arts at the best of times, but even so, I have to say that Glastonbury offered some installations that were worth going for on their own, and in my opinion, rivalled many of the headlining acts (ok, cynics, I admit, with Beyonce as a headliner, that isn’t saying a lot, but I have been to a lot of galleries in my time, and this stuff was truly impressive).
This next one is another of my favorites – an anti-consumerist installation right on the border of Greenfeilds. Greenfeilds, it turned out, after my day of exploringm was the place to find interesting people – the alternative lifestylers, neiche music lovers, solar powered cafes (a severe disadvantage in the weather we had), alternative fuel initiatives, fair trade stands, nice things to smoke, and above all else, the people who are prepared to do something about the fact that Capitalism will screw the planet if we let it. If you don’t want to hear such things and would rather buy useless junk in peace, look away now. This peice is a powerful one and one of the highlights of the festival as far as I am concerned.
Day one ended soggily, with me hoping for sun and wondering what on earth had posessed me to only bring weetabix and powdered milk when I was meant to be there for 5 days. At least I got to sleep early, cos my spot was next to the Tadpole stage, where I was scheduled to play the next day, and which normally finished at 3am. As I drifted off to the sound of gently chatting neighbors, I was glad that I was there and had seen a few things already that I wouldnt have gotten to otherwise.
day two, on its way soon.