We Are Cardiff goes to Glastonbury!

Bit of a misleading title seeing as the GREATEST FESTIVAL ON EARTH was nearly two weeks ago now. It’s taken me THIS LONG to recover and manage to write up my experiences. If you’ve no interest in reading about HOW AMAZING GLASTONBURY IS, then you best toddle off and read something else.

Photo by Andrew Allcock

So. Firstly, a confession. Or an announcement. My name is Helia Phoenix, I am 33 years old and up til this year, I was a Glastonbury virgin. There are a lot of reasons – I wasn’t allowed to go as a teenager, early 20s I was too chicken to jump the fence and I couldn’t afford a ticket, blah blah. All the powers of the universe converged this year to allow me the disposable income for a ticket, and a friend who managed to get through and get me one. So, I was in. Signed up. Ready to go.

Having years of experience of listening to Glastonbury stories from all my friends and reading all about it in the NME/Select/Melody Maker/all the other music magazines that I used to feast on, I had a pretty good idea of what went on where. Major errors that most people made included trying to see too much, not allowing enough time to get around the festival, not allowing time to be taken off on adventures and not seeing enough of the festival around the main stages.

So. I had a quick look at the line up when it was announced. With the exception of the headliners there was quite a lot that tickled me, so I decided to choose one thing per day to try and make it along to, leaving plenty of room for end user error and getting around the site. I mean, really, how big could it actually be?

Photo by Jason Bryant

The answer to that is actually something that you could use to give a one-word review of Glastonbury. If you can’t be arsed to read the rest of my review, just take this word as my word for the event. MASSIVE. It’s MASSIVE. I mean, everything about the festival is super sized. When people say it’ll take you an hour to get from one side of the festival to the other, that’s a conservative estimate. It’s 900 acres of moving, changing adventure space filled with every kind of party head, hippy, raver, gap yah student, circus freak and general good time lover in the country.

Photo by Andrew Allcock

As well as the distance you’ll cover (next time I’m going to attach a GPS to myself for the duration of the festival) and the fact you’ll probably have legs that feel like concrete from clumping around in wellies for days, you have to add in unexpected factors to your festival. These could be things like getting stuck in the human traffic jams that occur after the exodus from the Pyramid Stage, or getting blocked from the bar by a group of mean girls talking about how great their flower head-dresses are and how much they hate their one ugly friend who isn’t there, or getting lost in a cloud of nitrous in the stone circle while you’re trying to get to bed. Those are challenging tasks on the best of days, never mind when you’re four days into a serious festival bender and are finding it hard enough to remember where your tent is.

WEDNESDAY

Photo by Jason Bryant

So, Wednesday. We set off from Cardiff at about 10am, and despite doing two detours to buy cider from local producers, managed to make it to the Worthy View Campsite (I know, don’t judge me) within two and a half hours. For cider lovers amongst you, I highly recommend you pay a visit to the Orchard Pig Farm if you can, where they sell bottle or 10 or 30 litre bags, and they’ve got some great medium ciders.

We drove past Glastonbury Tor, which I had foolishly planned to go and walk up on the Wednesday afternoon. I was embracing the hippy vibe. Obviously, this never happened. But isn’t it amazing??

Glastonbury Tor

We got into the car park at about 1pm, but then realised we were going to have to wait for the rest of our party to arrive as they hadn’t been arsed to send us the booking in email (thanks, Clive). So we got out our camping chairs, cracked open the cider and sat in the car park to relax before they arrived. Eventually Clive managed to sort his life out and forward on the email, so we got in and decamped to our rather grand six man woodlouse. While the tent got filled, I headed off down into the festival site to get a look at everything.

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My entrance to the festival was down the steep hill right next to the stone circle, where you can see first over the tipi village, and then over the rest of the site. It’s a totally overwhelming experience. I mean, there aren’t really words to describe how big it is. It’s HUGE.

I decided to wander into the stone circle to see if there was anyone there that I knew. Yeah right, you’d think, what are the chances of bumping into anyone in a festival of 180,000 people? Pretty high, as it happens, as thirty seconds after wandering past the various groups of people – many of them already already prostrate and passed out – I bumped into my friend Fran and her twin sister Philippa. We left the stone circle and went to enjoy the view from the hill covered in yellow flags above the tipi village, labelled as a ‘lounging area’ on the Glasto site map.

Here’s me, in a twin sandwich. Apparently they don’t offer this to just anyone, so I was a most fortunate lass!

glastonbury 2014 twin sandwich

My first Wednesday surprise was the amount of nitrous around. The stone circle and the lounging area were carpeted with small round canisters, and it seems like every couple of seconds you’ll hear the fat hissing sound of a balloon being filled up somewhere. At £3 a pop, the hiss was probably the sound of bank accounts somewhere inflating at an exponential rate over the course of the weekend. I was even given a business card by someone who promised to deliver anywhere across the festival site within the hour. Now that’s good service.

Being the good slave to capitalism that I am I felt it was my duty to support these business ventures, as did my friends Tom and Will who I’d also bumped into. We hyperventilated into balloons and then stared at the festival site, me and Tom giggling at Will, who kept on going with his balloon for about three minutes after we had finished ours. I’m certain that our mums are all very proud of us.

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This is what the stone circle looked like at around midday on Wednesday. It stayed more or less this same level of messy throughout the festival, though with added thunder, lightening and hailstones at different points – floor littered with used nitrous canisters and zombified ravers who left to try and get back to camp three hours ago.

Photo by Jason Bryant

In fairness, those guys in the photo above are looking pretty chipper. But then, it was only Wednesday when that photo was taken…

After that, I found my tent-mates who had finally arrived on their coach from London and we went wandering around the festival site, just taking everything in. The empty field where the Pyramid Stage was still fenced off, the building still going on around Block 9, the big tents that were still having the final touches put to the lights and rigging. Some of my friends from London had done the nightmare thing and broken down IN SLOUGH. They were on their way, but their spirits had been crushed.

Considering it was only Wednesday, I was astounded at how busy the festival already was. All the central areas were already packed with tents. So remember seeing that footage on the Beeb of people queuing up from 2am for the 4am gate opening on Wednesday morning? That’s how come. When you see the scale of the festival, you can imagine why though. If you’ve got a particular area that you always want to be in or near, it’s worth the trouble of getting there early to get a spot.

Photo by Jason Bryant

So, we drank a skinful of cider and went to bed, eager to go wandering on Thursday. There was one thing I’d spotted in the programme for Thursday night, which was David Morales playing a Frankie Knuckles tribute set at NYC Downlow (a tiny bar in Block 9 where the primary entertainment comes from drag queens swinging round stripper poles and cat calling at each other and into the audience). So everyone agreed we’d meet there on Thursday night. Good plan, right? What could possibly go wrong?
THURSDAY

Photo by Andrew Allcock

As it happened, NYC Downlow (a gay bar set in 1970s New York) has a capacity of 300 people, and was already full to capacity two hours before Morales even went on, and it remained packed all weekend everytime I tried to go in it.

So instead we contented ourselves wandering through the site towards the Common, where Kate Tempest was playing. The Rum Shack was also so rammed it was impossible to get inside, though I have wiley friends who don’t care about pushing past people to get to the front, so they dived inside, while I bopped around outside and bumped my old pal Mike who used to boss me around at a magazine I worked for many years ago called Kruger Magazine (RIP, truly). Mike is now the boss of the NME, so obviously I tried to pump him for as much information about secret acts as possible. Unfortunately, the news was disappointing – the 1975, Metronomy and the BBC’s inhouse entertainers the Kaiser Chiefs were the bland flavour of what was coming up. I had no desire to see any of those, so we abandoned hope of the TBA spots on the programme, and once Kate Tempest was finished riling up the crowd we headed across a very very crushed railway line over to the Beat Hotel, right on the other side of the site, just in time for Max Cooper to play us some broken up electronica.

photo by Max Cooper

I managed to stay in there for about half an hour (the highlight being Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker – how often do you get to hear that on a MASSIVE system these days??) before I had enough of being shoved around and squashed, so we decided to leave and dance outside. Some really munted guy then snatched my rucksack off the floor thinking it was his, and a frantic ten minute search eventually turned it up again, but my mood had turned sour so we decided to leave and head up to the Park, where the Two Bears were doing a DJ set at the Stonebridge Bar.

I was getting a bit concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to handle how busy everything was. Kate Tempest was so packed that people were climbing up the walls of the Rum Shack, and the Beat Hotel had been full of mashed up, monged out ravers that were about a foot taller than me trying to walk straight through me. The everyday problems of the short, woe are we.

The Park field was a lot calmer than the other parts of the festival, and we got to sit down, neck more cider and enjoy the amazing view from the top of the hill. This is a view from Park in the daytime. Something special, eh??

photo by Jason Bryant

We had a bit of a dance in the Stonebridge bar, then wandered into Green Futures and into a tent I forget the name of, where we watched some spoken-word-ukulele-led performance by a guy whose name I was too drunk to write down, who sang songs about Nigel Farrage, fracking, and particle physics. Shortly after this, we wandered back up the mile long mountain to bed, to be bright and ready to take on Friday.
FRIDAY

Photo by Charles Gervais

This is the thing about Glastonbury. Comparatively speaking, it’s a long festival. It’s no 24 hour hit-and-run dance event, a la Global Gathering, where you can bosh everything you’ve found (even the stuff in questionable baggies on the floor) but then you’ve got the option of spending the next 48 hours hiding under the duvet in your living room waiting for all the bad noises to stop and wishing you were a better daughter/son and worrying about how badly you’ve failed in life.

At Worthy Farm you can hit and run as hard as you like, but if you peak too early in the festival then you’re going to be spending 24 hours waiting for the effects of that bad acid to wear off while you’re coming to the broil in a sweaty tent that you can’t bear to leave, so you’ve ended up pissing in every empty container you can find and then emptying it out of the front of the tent and then going back to hide in your sleeping bag.

Photo by Charles Gervais

And who wants that? Seriously, nobody wants to hang around the tent looking after a festival casualty, especially if they’ve spunked over £200 just on a ticket. So you’ve got to pace yourself. You want to be able to enjoy it and see as much as you can without going so far over to the other side that you never come back.

So I decided to try and pace myself. I’d managed to force myself to bed pre-sunrise for the rest of the festival, but Friday night was the night I was allowed to rampage. I got out just after lunchtime and headed down to the Park Stage to sit on the drying-out grass and watch Courtney Barnett. The sun was out, and she was a lot more rocking on stage than she is on record.

My companions wanted to go and watch the start of the Arcadia mechnical playground so they left a couple of songs in, giving me an excuse to get down the front and sing along. I love her stream of consciousness lyrics. Some people don’t. Whatever, it’s all a matter of taste, yes? Anyway, you can watch the whole set that I watched at the Park Stage above. Good old BBC!

So Courtney Barnett finished and we started walking towards the Green Futures area with the Greenpeace boat and the giant polar bear when something happened. We’re British, so let’s talk weather, yeah? Wednesday had been scorching. It rained a bit on Thursday. And then on Friday, shortly after Courtney Barnett, this happened.

photos by Jason Bryant

Remember Glastonbury 2007? The absolutely soaking one when everyone’s tents melted into a layer of primordial soup (that’s an actual thing, Google it if you don’t believe me) that most of the festival ended up going swimming in just to get around? Well, I had visions of the weekend turning into that. And I’m not a hardened festival nut. I would have got my shit together and got the hell out of there if that had happened.

As it was, it rained for a bit, and then it stopped. It gave me the chance to make my first trip of many into the Hare Krishna tent to shelter from the rain, and listen to some philosophical discussion about spirituality versus science. We also chanted a little (luckily for all the slow minds in the room there are only six lines to their songs), which was a soothing experience. Oh yeah, and we got out of the rain and watched many many sodden people running past outside, heading nowhere fast. Hare krishna, krishna krishna, hare hare, rama rama. I ended coming back to the Hare Krishna tent three times throughout the course of the festival, where we got fed for a donation (dahl and pasta – just the kind of delicious stodge you need to get you through), listened to a lot of talk about how quantum physics was proof of the existence of God (this got me, Clive and Bleddyn into another argument later) and learned what a harmonium was (it’s the weird looking instrument that looks like an accordian in a cardboard box).

Photo by Charles Gervais

Once the rain had finished, we set on our way again, then separated to go and watch some different bands. I was pretty drunk by this point, and on passing a postcard stall, decided to send some postcards to my mum and my housemate. My housemate’s postcard was a picture of the Glastonbury toilets with the word ‘shit’ tagged on the outside, although actually I felt like that was pretty disingenuous as the toilets weren’t actually that bad … at all. If you’re interested in how they’ve upgraded the Glastonbury toilet situation, you can read about it here – now they’re using new long drops and composting toilets rather than baking hot portaloos, making the whole experience a lot less terrifying. If you’re a girl you’re still going to have to adopt the usual ski-jump position, but being able to do it without being in a plastic oven where they seem to be cooking a nice mix of chemicals is much more pleasant.

After having enjoyed my toilet experience, I went to the West Holts stage to meet up with some friends and watch three acts in a row: Tune-Yards, Jurassic Five and headliner MIA. During this time I had one of my life-firsts, when my friend Will (who is about six foot five) dropped to his knees, got between my legs (ooer) and shunted me up on his shoulders without any warning. I’m only 5 foot two, so to get this kind of view was AMAZING! Concrete Schoolyard never EVER sounded so good.

Tune-Yards were great – all glittery costumes, afrobeats with lots of big percussion. Jurassic Five transported me instantly back to my university years (plus Chali 2na has one of the greatest warmest biggest voices ever!). The crowd emptied out a lot for MIA with everyone heading over to the Pyramid stage to watch Arcade Fire, so we had a little more room to boogie.

Photo by the BBC, obviously

MIA came on stage with 40 dancers, all wearing t-shirts that said ‘Stop Tamil Deportation’. She had a bit of a hissy fit at one point saying that the BBC weren’t going to broadcast her show because of what the t-shirts said (they did broadcast it, btw), she jumped into the crowd, demanded the house lights were taken up and down at various points, and generally bossed everyone around. But she’s bonkers on stage, which is why you want to see it live, right? I’d never seen her live before and I wasn’t disappointed, especially when she pulled out some classics from Arular (still for my money her best album). We want bucky done gun, right??

After MIA was finished, the decision was made to head for the late night vibe of Shangri La. There was a group of about 20 of us, it was gone midnight and the party was just getting started. With different parts of the group enjoying a different kind of buzz, the group soon got seperated (a couple of people were left standing around the Common staring at the waterfall), and my motley crew took ages to get anywhere as we had a dance leader in our midst who kept making us stop to follow her in dance routines across the fields. Then we bumped into some teenage beatboxers, who followed us around freestyling at us for an hour (to contextualise, my friend Liz runs a beatbox academy at Battersea Arts Centre so I think the pair of them  fell in love with her instantly).
Eventually we managed to lose them by the time we entered Block 9. We were many people down by this point, but once we got we started queuing up for London Underground, which from the outside looks like a huge London council block with an underground train smashed into it halfway up. Block 9 was my favourite late night spot in the whole festival. I mean, look at it!

Photos by Julian Chan

Photo by jaswooduk

We queued for about half an hour to get inside, where we found all our friends at the front (of course), dancing around a security guy who presumably was there to try and discourage too much bad behaviour, but in fact spent the entire night just getting hugged by gurning, half naked girls. There’s got to be worse jobs than that on site, right?

It was all drum’n’bass in London Underground, so we watched some of DJ Flight and Calibre, but I wasn’t in the mood for dnb so a couple of us left in search of disco in Shangri La. Eventually by four am, we’d spent a good four hours wandering around on missions – trying to find people, trying to get into places, going to find drinks, but there ended just being three of us. We tried to find some of our friends who were in Bez’s Acid House but there was an hour queue to get in. We later heard that Bez himself had been dancing on a podium in the tent all night, and people would occasionally approach him with some sort of narcotic on an open palm – pill, acid tab, wrap, whatever – as if giving an offering to the god of dance. He would accept the gifts graciously and shovel them in then carry on dancing, as calling to mind the words of Hedonism Bot: ‘Let us cavort like the Greeks of old. You know the ones I mean!’

Anyway, we couldn’t get in there, so eventually we gave up trying to find anyone else and just concentrated on having fun. We headed to the front of the Shangri La outdoor Hell stage, where we listened to an our of fat breakbeat from Australian producer Opiuo (check out his Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/opiuo – squelchy!)

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The greatest poster you’ll ever see, in Shangri Hell

We started getting a little tired at about five am so headed to a nearby bar to grab some gin. The bar was playing a party mixture, with some Mr Scruff, Dolly Parton and various other party essentials, but by 6am we decided we’d better start heading to bed if we were going to be of any use on Saturday. By the time we’d wandered back from Shangri La and I’d managed to get up Mount Everest back to my tent, it was almost 7am. I necked some sleeping pills and a strawberry Yazoo and passed out in my pants.

 

SATURDAY


Photo by Ivy Lahon

It was the criminally early hour of 10.30am (yes, 10.30am) when my tent mates decided to get up and start making breakfast. And if the smell of freshly cooked bacon in the morning isn’t going to get you up, what is? We had intended to make it down to watch Kelis, but by the time I’d had a shower (very very necessary after my escapades the night before) and we had sat outside the tent enjoying the nice weather, it was too late to make it over to see her. I enjoyed watching her back on iPlayer though, so you should too: Kelis Glastonbury 2014 

We spent a lot of Saturday wandering around the Green Futures area, looking at the workshops and various charities that had set up tents for you to go an investigate. We actually found a Welsh one called TSFR Cymru https://www.facebook.com/TFSRCymru (tools for self reliance), who send out containers of tools to Africa to help local communities become more self-sufficient. They had a small blacksmithery going to show people how easy it was to create hooks and things from metal, plus we got a tip off from a lady there to head to the Small World stage to see a lady called Hattie Hatstar, who plays an accordian and the ukelele.

She was brilliant – sang songs about taking up jogging in her 40s, wearing control top ‘big girl’ pants, fracking, all that sort of thing. There was a group of absolutely wasted ‘mean girls’ in front of us who loved her – and kept demanding the mouse song.

The mouse song? I saw a mouse! Where? There on the stair! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch her here

(it’s from a few years ago, but it’s the same song)

After that, we headed over to West Holts to watch some sweet soul music from the Daptone Super Soul Review (where we heard about that year’s Glastonbury death – RIP Bobby Womack), but that only lasted a few minutes as a breakaway group headed to the Pyramid Stage to watch Robert Plant and the Sensational Shapeshifters. I’m a big Led Zep fan but wouldn’t normally have gone out of my way to watch Robert Plant, but when he’s right there in front of you, you can’t really say no to watching a legend, can you?

Watch his entire set here:

He was great. Really rocking, sang a lot of his own stuff, plus a couple of Led Zep numbers thrown in. Watching it back on TV he does occasionally have the look of someone’s confused grandad who doesn’t really know where he is or why he’s there, but he does an amazing job, so I think we can let him off, eh?

Photo by Jason Bryant

After that Jack White came on. We watched him for a bit but weren’t that bothered, so stomped over to the Other Stage to try and catch the Manic Street Preachers (who I was informed played a great set – you can watch them play Motorcyle Emptiness below).

We missed them anyway and arrived halfway through the Pixies, who were okay – fans enjoyed them, those who were ambivalent towards them thought they were crap. Jake Bugg was on after them and we had no desire to watch him, so we decided to leave early to try and secure a good spot at the Glade for Jon Hopkins.

The Glade! photo by Andrew Allcock

Hopkins played an amazing set – one of my highlights of the festival –  just a shame he wasn’t on a bigger stage, but there was a great packed in crowd, all going mental for the great light show and visuals. He played two new songs I hadn’t heard before that seemed to go down pretty well with the crowd. He posted this photo to his Facebook afterwards, so I’m guessing he enjoyed himself too….

photo by Jon Hopkins

After Hopkins we headed towards Arcadia for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Disclosure. Arcade was so incredibly packed getting in that I lost everyone. I spent about an hour pushing through the crowd in the middle trying to find them but with no luck. I cut my losses, got right underneath the spider for TEED and danced with this group of amazing looking women with wigs covered in exotic fruit and wearing aprons. After that Disclosure were playing a DJ set, so I thought I’d go find my friends. No joy. Too rammed.

Photo by Chris Cooper

By the bar I was just about to give up and just get out of Arcadia altogether when some wild eyed crazy man in front of me turned around and shoved me back. ‘Are you fucking pushing me? Are you??’ he demanded. His friends stepped in to try and calm him down, but he pushed one of them off, swung for me (luckily someone caught his arm so he only ended up giving me a smack with his wrist) and then turned around and punched one of his friends full on in the face. I’ve never seen anyone so off their heads as this guy was – he looked like a wild animal. I ducked underneath someone’s armpit and shoved everyone out of the way trying to get to the exit, but all I found was the crew area for Arcadia, where a very nice lady got me some ice, and a security guard said he was going to try and find the guy, but it was too rammed.

My mouth was full of blood, and I was a bit freaked out he’d knocked some teeth out but all I ended up with was a gnawed inner cheek. I tried to text me friends where I was, and my boyfriend had headed off into the festival trying to find a medical tent I was heading for (but couldn’t get to because the field was too full), but his phone wasn’t working so he never arrived. Eventually someone came to get me and took me out of the hellhole of Arcadia and back into the friendly Park.



Photo by Jason Bryant

‘Let’s go into the Bimble Inn,’ he said (thanks Matt, I am forever indebted to you!). ‘We’ll get you a pint of cider and listen to a band and you’ll be fine.’

As it happened, two of our other friends were in there right up at the front listening to an incredible band called the Sweetlife Society (they were so good we thought we were listening to a DJ from the back). Apparently back in Arcadia everything was getting way too rammed so the rest of our group got out of there and came to watch the Sweetlife Society too – and experienced one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. They had about four vocalists and everything else was played live – they were brilliant, just the thing I needed to forget all unpleasantness of the night. We watched some of Hong Kong Ping Pong afterwards and I eventually got back into the tent at a much more reasonable five am, with a lot less cursing and swearing going up the hill this time.

 

SUNDAY

Photo by Andrew Allcock

By the time we all woke up on Sunday, we were battered, bruised, sunburned, covered in mud and I had a cut down the side of my inner cheek like I’d been gurning for a week. We refreshed ourselves with bacon sarnies again and then decided to go into the Green Fields to do some arts and crafts. We stopped at a woodwork place and made a couple of wooden pendants with some lovely hippies, then wandered through and had a look at all the other handicrafts that we saw there (no wool spinning though, which I thought was a shame).

We headed up to the Pyramid Stage for Dolly Parton, to experience probably the highlight for me in terms of festival live performances. I mean, the woman is AMAZING. Big voice, great stories, real warmth and charisma and managed to get 110,000 people singing along to a song she’d written espeically for Glastonbury (‘mud mud, mud mud’). Amazing. Forget about all the miming stuff, do you really care about that? Just appreciate and enjoy the fact that the woman is a LEGEND.

Don’t believe me? Watch her entire set on iPlayer here and tell me I’m wrong: Dolly Parton Glastonbury 2014

After that we headed into the Circus Field for some food and to have a sit down and enjoy some of the acts. We even made it into one of the official Glasto pics I’m the amazed looking girl in a white t shirt, clapping in the bottom right hand corner of this photo!

Photo by Jason Bryant

Out in the Kidz Field we had our first random-Cardiff-encounter, when I bumped into my old housemate, photographer Dan Green who was there taking pictures for the Kidz Field (check out the pictures here). On the outdoor stage we did the conga with the New York Brass Band and then watched two guys set traps off on each other and break breezeblocks against each other’s testicles, and in the Big Top we watched some performers from Cardiff’s NoFit State circus, as well as this incredible aerial show that was commissioned especially for Glastonbury by the Leo and Yam aerial circus company. Perfomers came out in white body stocking suits and did aerial tricks on sheets of clear plastic (eeeeeeek!). Outside, we had a couple of impromptu discos with a massive turtle that would come out with loads of underwater sea creatures.

Photo by Charles Gervais

 

After enjoying the Circus Field for a good few hours, we decided to head back to West Holts for Disclosure’s live set. They were amazing – really great for the Sunday night headline act. I’d tell you to watch it on iPlayer, but honestly the sound is terrible compared to what it was like being there, so really, don’t bother. Go see them live instead!

Slowly, very slowly, with all of the tiredness of stomping all of the miles and drinking all the booze and consuming all the festival party treats and eating all the hummous, we made our way slowly back to the Park, determined to get ourselves down the Rabbit Hole before calling the festival a day. We made it there, but obviously lost half the group who were gone somewhere on a mushroom trip. We danced a bit at the Rabbit Hole, but eventually at 3am, my legs gave in, and demanded I take myself back up the hill to Worthy View to sleep.

 

MONDAY

 

Photo by CS

I could happily have slept until the afternoon on Monday, but I was woken up at 11am with more bacon and the news that all the tents around us were being taken down. I was surprised to see nearly everyone in the field had already gone, scarpered, trying not to get stuck in the traffic. It took us a pretty long time to get everything together and into the car – plus we had two extra passengers we needed to drop off at a train station, so it took a while to get everything packed into the car. It’s a Micra. There’s very little extra room for manouvere, you know?

And so, eventually, at about five pm we returned to my house, unpacked the car, collapsed on the sofa, and I was hit with the biggest wave of tiredness I think I’ve ever had in my life. It took me nearly two days to be able to actually get up and function properly. That’ll teach me for drinking nearly two litres of gin over five days, I guess…

The rest of the week was spent watching EVERYTHING on iPlayer, messaging all my friends to tell them how much I love them all and coming up with plans for how we can become some sort of performance troupe next year. It’s going to happen, I tells you …

Sincerely, new Glastonbury convert at the age of 33, Helia.

Photo by Andrew Allcock
You’re still reading. What’s the deal here. The review’s finished. Go home already.

Oh, you want a round up? A conclusion?

Okay, I’ll try.

It was a spiritual experience of the highest order. There are some parts of the festival that had nothing to do with the headliners or the music at all really that were my favourite parts … being in some random bar in Shangri-La at 5am on Saturday morning, in the middle of the dancefloor playing tiny instruments in an imaginary band (I was on the mouth trumpet, we also had a tiny piano and tiny drums) … my friend Catherine passing out on top of all our bags on the floor watching Disclosure and us creating a shamanic circle of dance around her to protect her from all the people trying to walk over her (and then waking her up at the end by singing kumbayah…)  … sitting in a small workshop sanding down bits of wood on Sunday afternoon to make pendants before wandering in a daze through the festival to go and watch Dolly Parton … or having my friend Matt rap an entire song to me in Polish at 4am in the Bimble Inn (he can’t speak Polish) …

While we’re still here, let me share my learnings about the festival.

Things I learned about Glastonbury

1 – fuck Arcadia. Seriously, it’s packed to bursting, there’s no room to dance, and it’s full of mean girls and weirdos who want to punch girls in the face. Go find a small bar or a tent somewhere and discover something new and incredible.

2 – your best time is to be found wandering between things. make a conga line and enjoy it!

3 – there are mean girls everywhere. you can spot them easily – they wear Hunter wellies and those ridiculous flower headbands, and are frequently found blocking the bars and slagging off their less pretty mates who aren’t there with them. And they look mean. You know the ones I mean.

4 – don’t go without ear plugs, eye mask, sleeping pills or small travel packs of tissues. they will save your life, many times over.

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3 responses to “We Are Cardiff goes to Glastonbury!

  1. But ARJEL thought they were being intelligent
    after they allowed French regulated poker rooms to accept
    players from other EU countries that didn’t limit their residents
    from enjoying outside of their nationwide borders however within the
    case of Austrian poker gamers this can not presumably work.

    Like

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