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Glastonbury Festival 2017
During the last weekend in June of 4 out of every 5 years, a picturesque farm in the rolling hills of Somerset, England, plays host to Glastonbury Festival. You’ve got to be prepared to go unwashed for 4-5 days, but the payoff is the experience at this incredible festival like no other.
2017 is rumoured to be the last before two years away from Worthy Farm, Pilton. I’ve read that 2018 will be a fallow year and that the festival may temporarily relocate in 2019. So, this year was always going to feel like a bit of a biggie.
For the last couple of years, we’ve shared the ticket buying panic-clicking-fest with my brother-in-law and this year was no different.
Except that it was.
This year, our bank account wasn’t feeling at all amenable to us joining the great unwashed for a fabulous weekend of living wholeheartedly in the moment. So, when he got through to check out during the 20 minutes of the April re-sale (three times!) it was with a heavy heart that Gregg, my husband, checked his Glasto’ ’17 basket out with just two tickets in it. Neither were for us.
This weekend, we decided to go anyway. Well, sort of.
As his brother and partner headed off to the Festival, Gregg was feeling more than a little down about missing out. I, on the other hand, was still scarred by the muds of 2016. Two children and all that mud was really hard going. Not to mention 6 hours of queuing in a car with only two children for company, one of who screamed on and off for the last two hours of the wait – their Daddy already being on the other side of the fence.
I’ll say that again, I was scarred.
I was looking forward to watching from home this year, but knew that that really wasn’t enough for Gregg. So, we concocted a plan to do it our way and Gregg made a video all about it:
One of my friends has coined it ‘Glasthomebury’ – which I absolutely love. It’s been a fantastic experience and one I would heartily recommend. The weekend has felt magical even ‘tho 3/4 of us haven’t been outside the front door and I spent part of both days out, marrying the lovely folks of South- East Cornwall.
Giving routine the heave-ho
Whilst I was between weddings yesterday, I got to thinking that, as it turns out, you don’t actually have to be there to let go in the Glasto way. We’ve let the kids have a weekend of freedom that is usually only reserved for time spent on the other side of the festival fence. Routine is normally a given in our house, but this weekend it wasn’t. For two nights, the boys went to sleep when, and where, they wanted, didn’t bathe and we even forgot to clean their teeth for 24 hours.
And, you know what?
The sky didn’t fall in. Tho, of course, we’ll be right back to normal tomorrow. Starting with the school run.
The Glastonbury bubble
Being at Glastonbury is to exist in a giant ‘Superfenced’ bubble. For 3,4,5 or however many days your choose to make it your home, real life is put on hold. There is little point worrying about anything other than what you are doing in each moment because there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it.
You’ve walked a mile, two or three from your car. Even if you think you’ve taken enough power banks with you, your phone will fail you repeatedly and news of world events, in the main, stops where the Superfence starts.
You decide what you’re going to do and do it, there and then. Getting to that must-see show and re-fuelling along the way are, pretty much, it.
Mindfulness amidst the crowds
There is something mindful about the experience; it’s one of the few times in modern life when you spend days living in the moment. You absorb every new experience in its entirety and without inhibition. Because you can.
After all, everyone else is grubby too.
In our quiet corner of south-east Cornwall, we lived that way this weekend, fairy lights and all. We danced around the kitchen, drifted from ‘stage’ to ‘stage’ and revelled in the joy of the festival even tho, we weren’t there.
The joy of festivals yet to come
During the last weekend of June 2019 (or you may have to wait until 2020), why not turn your home into a Glasthomebury and just let it all go. Just for one weekend.
And, if you’re lucky enough to bag yourself tickets, here’s my top 10 reasons why it’s worth risking the mud, grime and absence of showers and adding Glastonbury to your bucket list:
1. It’s not just about the music
There is so much more to the ‘Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts’ than the the big names that play on the main stages.
2. The circus tent.
This is acrobatic circus like you have never seen it before. With the odd hint of the bizarre.
3. The food.
Travel the world in festival food and never eat the same type twice. Whether it’s vegan food and chai latte in the Green Fields, or Pizza just off the pyramid stage, there is something for everyone. There’s even a stall specialising in fish finger sandwiches for those times when you just need standard comfort food -or, your children do.
4. The lack of modern amenities
You could be forgiven for thinking that I’ve gone too far with this one but, discovering that not washing for 5 days is not the end of the world is freeing. Each year I announce on day 1 that I will queue for the wood fired showers at least once during the festival. And, by Sunday morning, I’ve yet to value standing in that queue over experiencing the sights and sounds of Glastonbury Festival for every second that we’re there.
I’m always the first to shower when we get home tho!
5. Being Grateful
You’ll fall in love with home all over again the moment you get back. Even those bits of unfinished DIY and scruffy paintwork will feel delightful. You’ll appreciate your modern conveniences and flushing toilet all the more.
Not to mention, the feel of carpet beneath your feet and lack of abandoned beer cans. The feeling of space and the peace. Oh, the peace.
6. Kids Field
If you have kids, it’s a (very busy) haven of amazing acts & activities that will keep your kids entertained for the entire festival if you wish. From early morning Kids Yoga to the big names from Cbeebies, and it just gets better each year.
You’ll just find yourself talking to people. Sharing experiences with complete strangers, bumping into old friends unexpectedly and letting down the barriers that we build around ourselves in the real world. It’s much harder to notice the differences when you’re all muddy, a bit smelly and experiencing life in sharp focus.
8. The Pyramid Stage
Being one of that 100,00+ festival goers watching a Glastonbury Festival Headliner is just the most incredible feeling.
9. The Art
Even Glastonbury’s oil drum bins are a feast for the eyes – when they aren’t overflowing. Creativity oozes out of every single pore of it.
10. The Night Skies
Looking over the site at night as festoon lights guide your way, lasers jump into the sky and with the tip of the pyramid stage glowing is utter magic.
Forget the risk of mud, I think the scars from the muds of 2016 have healed, don’t you? Fingers crossed for 2019!