I am holding a can of Kopparberg cider, dancing to Motown. The mud allows my wellies to glide from left to right. There are not many people on the dance floor, but I’m past caring what I look like. I’m wearing an anorak, mud is in my hair and my nose is pink with sunburn.
This was a week ago, at Glastonbury Contemporary Performing Arts festival, and I miss it a lot.
I’m not here to give you my review of the festival, a run-down of the bands I saw, or pros and cons of going. You can read that sort of thing anywhere. I just want a record of how it feels to go to Glastonbury.
It feels like home.
Though it certainly doesn’t come with home comforts. There’s the challenge of walking between stages, the fear of rain, floods of mud, and oh God why, oh why, are wellies so uncomfortable to walk in after a couple of hours?
But walking around, you can be whoever you want to be, wear whatever you want, and do whatever you want -within reason. Saying that – I did see a man take off his clothes, while on a ladder, juggling knives. That reason has rather wide margins.
Everyone there is so relaxed. There is no judgement or a way you have to be. You can dance as stupidly as want (in my case, I can’t dance at all so even if I try to dance nicely, I still look foolish) and no one cares. Admittedly, drink and drugs probably have a role to play in this. Even those heavily doped up on various substances aren’t a problem. There are messes, but not explosions waiting to happen. In my experience of Glastonbury, especially compared to Leeds festival, I have not seen any rowdiness. Excitement, passion, and enthusiastic jumping – and occasional shoving – yes – but you don’t fear your tent will be set alight.
When I first got to my tent, after a rather long coach journey, my friends and I arrived at our campsite and offered rosé and home-made cake. It was around this time the Glastonbury grin got stuck on my face.
I got a back massage in the healing fields, nearly falling asleep in the process, and felt the camper’s backache melt away. The sun had come out, when we thought it was going to rain all day, and the grin was still stuck. We sat next in between ponds, with plants above our heads, and saw various folk flake out in the grass. Everyone looked relaxed as I felt.
On our first night, my friend and I watched the sun rise. Before we found a spot on the grass, we had been in a silent disco, and before that we had stumbled across a random tepee dance party. I sat on the hill, the multi-coloured Glastonbury sign behind me, and looked out across the tents. A bright pink across the sky, beginning to crinkle – as if someone had taken the sky in two hands and scrunched it up like a piece of paper. It was a struggle to take it all in.
For the whole week it was like this. A struggle to take in. Though perhaps not so serene.
There is so much to see, and so much to do and no matter where you turn you can find the unexpected. Be it a larger than life polar bear, a chance to weave ribbons, or even a disappointing surprise band (Kaiser Chiefs, I’m looking at you.)
I have no clue where I will be this time next year. I’m hoping to be travelling, but I genuinely do not know. If I have the time, the money, and a way of getting to the festival – my word you can count on me getting a can of cider, and having a dance about.
NB: I apologise for the lack of sail boat picture (a theme I’m hoping to keep up during this blog) the wellies I had to cram my feet in to everyday did not provide the opportunity for a bare-footed picture.