Friday, 24 June 2011

Glastonbury Bore aka The Best Things In Life Are FREE

I went to Glastonbury at least twice. I was definately there in 1994. I clearly remember seeing Bjork in a red dress from the other side of a field full of many thousands of people...

In those days Michael Eavis had the attitude that if you got in for free well good luck to you. Scraped from the streets of West London we took him at his word.

That year we snuck in using dodgy wristbands. We arrived and headed off into the fields around the site. Pretty soon we saw some people huddled together and went to investigate. They had worked out a way to get their wristbands off and offered to sell them to us for a tenner each. We were a little doubtful. I volunteered to give it first try. I marched up to the gates. A bloke in a fluorescent jacket turned to a group of youngsters he was training.

"Ok, here comes someone now. I'll show you how to tell if the wristband is genuine or not."

Oh dear I thought to myself. 

"Give it a good hard tug! The bands are impossible to get off this year so if you tug it and it stays on then it's ok. In you go mate."

That was quite a rush of addrennaline. The rest of our dastardly crew followed soon after. We were in. For (nearly) free.

The following year there were more of us. We got a coach to somewhere near the site then started to walk. We were constantly told by security people that the entrance was in the other direction but were not the only group to be quite obviously without tickets and looking for a way in. Some of our party had massive backpacks and though we might have looked like a rag tag army dressed as we were in our finest army surplus gear we were not so fit as soldiers. They had jeeps patrolling the fences full of men with sticks. We hid in some bushes near a spot where we could see an oil drum by the fence. When the jeep patrol passed, three of us rushed over to the fence and stood up the oil drum. I was boosted up by a mate and managed to grab the fence. I heaved myself on top of it then used a diagonal scaffolding pole inside to swing down. As I got to my feet I was almost killed by another mate hurling his backpack over! This time about five of us got in but two, including artist David Blandy, were stuck outside. They hadn't made it onto the oil drum before the security guys came back. We headed to the top of the site where there were loads of people outside trying to get in and hundreds inside trying to help them. I sat on top of the fence and pulled people up but others were undoing the bolts on the fence inside. Eventually a huge section of the fence was dismantled and those outside were simply able to stroll in.

Yes I had a great time both times. But I hardly saw any of the bands. Portishead were on the jazz stage but their debut album was everywhere and there were so many people trying to see them you couldn't get to within a quarter of a mile of the tent.

I have to say getting in was probably the most fun. Apart from that the best of the action always seemed to be on the edge somewhere. Joe Banana's blanket shop was always good. Mostly I remember dancing a lot. The music was new to me. The vibe was close to revolutionary. A field, a sound system and people. Perfect. Food? Don't need it. Sleep? Waste of time. When I hear people moaning about wellies and bad toilets I just don't understand it.

As the sun rose on the final day of Glasto 95 we were dancing outside the official festival site. Police vans were arranged in a semi-circle around 100 feet away, hemming us in. The DJ was spinning Detroit classics from the likes of Underground Resistance, Kenny Larkin and Carl Craig. Mmmm. The edges are where it's at people, cling to the edges...

No comments:

Post a Comment