Thursday, 24 June 2010

Hottest Glastonbury Ever

We spent most of Thursday sightseeing - there are no bands on yet and, despite it being the sort of day that would prompt the usual "Phew. What a scorcher" headline from the Sun, we wanted to try and see as much of the site as possible. The first thing we found was that there's not much in the way of shade. At times we were found huddling on a small patch of grass in the shadow of the Acoustic Tent, drinking Avalon Ale and talking nonsense (I suspect if they'd tested us for sunstroke we'd have come up positive - but actually speaking gibberish was pretty much the norm for us).

I'd postponed the purchase of wellies given the weather forecast, and so far, that was looking like a good decision - mud seemed a long way away. It did mean that I was now left with two footwear choices - an old pair of walking boots which I haven't worn for years or an old pair of trainers which I think I last wore at the Hacienda in 1991. The walking boots had been selected and were being tested to their limits. We walked up into the Greencrafts Field where people were invited in to learn how to make things out of other things, the Healing Field where you could have a massage, sauna or have your energy chakras repaired by hippies (I made the last bit up). We did the Greenpeace field, the Kidz Field (they should rename that - how can we expect kids to grow up being able to reed and right proper if we deliberatley spell wrong?) and still we'd only covered a fraction of the whole site. My walking boots couldn't take this and the sole started to come away from the right boot (and the left one looked like it was on the way out too). Looks like I was going to spend the next few hours in clown shoes, flapping round Glastonbury trying to buy eco-organic-healing superglue.

Speaking of clowns, we investigated the circus field which was the first time I saw anyone taller than Big O.

Big O pointed out to me that they were walking on stilts, which is good - it means that he still retains his official title "The Tallest Man In The World" without dispute. However, one of the problems you encounter when you're TTMITW is that you're so much closer to the sun than everyone else and therefore more prone to its debilitating powers.

Back to the tents I think!

Glastonbury is 40 (and so is Big O)

Last year my mate Owen turned 40. At the same time, tickets for the 40th Glastonbury went on sale. Synchronicity as Sting might say. So, in an attempt to drag out his birthday celebrations as long as possible, he (Owen, not Sting) bravely toiled in front of a hot computer and successfully secured three tickets to the "largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world".

So, on Wednesday evening, I threw my rucksack, tent, sleeping bag and wet wipes into the car and headed over the Pennines to Timperley - home of Frank Sidebottom (R.I.P.), various Stone Roses, and Owen (hereafter referred to as Big O). More stuff chucked into the car and a final stop in Holmes Chapel to pick up the third member of our team, Martin (Higginson - hereafter referred to as Higgo).

We hit the M6 and headed south, iPod on-the-go playlist loaded with singalong tunes and the three of us loaded with coffee and anticipation. Apart from a brief double espresso stop we wasted little time and arrived at the festival gates in the small hours of Thursday morning, encountering very little traffic (presumably few other people are daft enough to be turning up at this time).

First impressions were good - the volunteer car park marshals seemed as excited to be there as we were and directed us towards the camping areas. Big O had done his usual level of in-depth research and had half an idea of where we wanted to camp (somewhere quiet, far away from dance tents, toilets and young people) and after a half hour hike we found a spot near the perimeter fence which was flat, spacious and devoid of glowstick-waving youngsters. Tents were erected and in Big O's case, staircases, bathrooms and kitchens installed (we never got a full tour of his tent but I heard that on the second floor he had a games room with pool tables and a bar).

As the sun rose over the John Peel Tent, we went to sleep...