Glastonbury Festival 2010
Hamish and I went onto site early to document the locations of each block. The site was already taking shape, with a hell of a lot of fencing, roads, light poles, flags and nicely mown green grass.
We were to have 20 publically available toilets in Stone Circle (Kings Meadow) which is the number one spot for late night mischief and nitrous inhalation; 30 at the backstage of the newest area of the festival, The Park. 5 in the VIP Tipi Village, home to Radiohead, K T Tunstall, Lilly Allen, Stings Daughter (and friends), Jarvis Cocker, and a few more celebrities; 10 in the Tipi Village; 2 backstage at Green Futures (the hippy area); 2 at The Bimble Inn (our best mates, cos they give us free cider) and 2 at The Rabbit Hole, another venue in The Park, run by a very crazy man by the name of Hamish.
We met with Lucy, the green initiatives manager who had essentially booked us, and discussed tickets. We were severely understaffed, with only 12 tickets to run 72 toilets, which sucked because that meant we were in for a hell of a weekend.
We had a delivery to site once again by our awesome Tractors and trailers, unloaded our boxes and frames and could begin the build. We had a pretty good team onboard, the absolute A-Team to be exact, consisting of Mattia, Squeak, Hamish, Frances and I.
We had some entertaining stories from the build as usual, my particular favorite involved clearing out some rather large stinging nettle bushes from a location we were to build toilets. I asked the site manger (Roger) and English guy who also worked in Australia for a wipper-snipper and he directed me to “Red Barn”, essentially the Glastonbury stores. So off I drove, up the top of site to Red Barn, located near the site office. I walked into Red Barn to find about 20 guys watching the telly, as England were playing someone in the world cup. It took a while to get some attention, and when I did this is the conversation that followed:
Me: “Hey mate, I’m after a wipper-snipper, Roger from The Park sent me up.”
Storeman: “You want a what…?!”
Me: “A wipper-snipper?”
Storeman: “A wipper-snapper… You want a small boy??! We don’t have those here, don’t know what Roger on about… This ain’t no orphanage!”
Me: “Nah mate, I need something to cut down some bushes… You know, petrol driven, long thing, has two wires on the end that spin around and…”
Storeman: “Oh, a STRIMMER!?!”
Me: “Righto, a strimmer it is!”
Storeman: “They’re both out, don’t know when they’ll be back…”
Silence for a bit
Storeman: “Try Greenpeace compound, they have a bit of kit like that”
After the hilarity of trying to explain to a Somerset man, who supposedly speaks the same language what I wanted, the irony of having to visit the greenpeace compound to borrow something that can hack away the greenery escaped me. So off I went in search of Greenpeace. I eventually found it and was directed to Storeman Steve, a man who would have looked right at home behind the controls of an army helicopter from Vietnam, with full moustache and weathered face. Steve said he had a scythe that would do the job if I had enough “strength and commitment” (his words), but I had to ask Dave who was working in the chainsaw compound. Yes, Greenpeace had a chainsaw compound, actually the only people onsite allowed to use them. I asked Dave and he was fine with it, so Steve collected my drivers license as a deposit and I was off, back to my giant bush of stinging nettles at “The Park”.
I had never used a Scythe before, and quite enjoyed the sheer mental-ness of swinging it nice and low and watching the bushes fall at the stems. Hacking away at a busy of nettles 8m long by 4m deep was no easy task and by the end of the task I was covered in nettle stings from stray bushes falling and was quite exhausted. You can see my handiwork below in my before, during and after photos.
By this stage the festival was very much taking shape, and amazing vehicles, plant and infrastructure was rolling onsite. We saw an amazingly cool 4WD mini, complete with fatty tires and matte paint job. The observation tower, central to The Park was also being erected.
We were down to our final two blocks to build, Bimble Inn and Rabbit Hole when I ran into Hamish, saying he needed help up at Rabbit Hole. I came up to investigate and found Frances and Squeak looking at the Hilux and scratching their heads. It was parked hard up against a fence post, in a big hole on the side of a reasonable hill. Turned out Hamish had directed Frances to back it in there, then realized it was going to be a struggle to get it out, so Hamish threw the keys to Squeak to do some Squeak driving madness/magic on it, and it had just slid along the side of the incline and into the fence post. There wasn’t much damage done, just a scratch really, but now was the task of trying to get it away from the post and up the hill without more damage.
We called in the cavalry, Squeak, in the straight mast forklift with a snatch strap. First we tried to get the fork to pull the Hilux up the hill and away from the pole. It was quickly clear that this was not going to happen and so, the pole had to go. From there, it was a simple task of just pulling the Hilux 2m further uphill and out of the hole. We had only had this car for 2 days and I had already given both Hamish and Squeak the lecture on not trying to actively thrash our vehicles, clearly fallen on deaf ears.
From there, we were built and ready to rock Glastonbury. We had some new additions to the team, Bart & Tim (two more Aussies from Melbourne), Sid (The Farmer), his daughter Anna and her cousin Shannon. I had developed a 4 hour rotating shift system, whereby there would be someone on duty from 6am through 2am, and if needed, like for example a changeover, other team members would come on board and assist. It worked like a dream, and actually meant that we could finish shift, switch off knowing we had passed the duties and information onto the next crew and head off to enjoy the festival.
Squeak and I had done the morning shift and had the evening off, so we met up with and ex poo crew member (Sloanie) and headed off to see Snoop Dog at the Pyramid Stage (the largest at Glastonbury). The main arena is crazy, and apparently can hold up to 140,000 people. It wasn’t too busy as they had created a football (soccer) field where they were showing the soccer, so a fair few people were doing that. We met up with a few more of Sloanie’s mates up the top of the arena under the big tree (shade is GOOD!) and then Snoop Dogg started. I had one of those “Oh my god I hate my job” moments and Squeak and I were squealing like little girls. We all decided to get a bit closer and wondered down the hill to a lovely spot just in front of the disabled viewing platform (big tip for all of you, it’s generally pretty free because people can’t see past it to see the available space). Snoop Dogg finished on a pretty awesome note, with a big speech about how you should be greatful for everyday that you are given and that he has three things he does each morning, finishing on his signature “Smoke weed everyday” and then dropped Bob Marley to walk out to. Needless to say, it got a big response.
We had even more time free and decided to stay and watch the next band play, which was Vampire Weekend. A lot of people headed off to see Florence & The Machine, but we they are on the bill of a few more festivals we are booked to do, so we stayed. There were some guys sitting near us messing with people, using a plastic turd, which we were entertained by for a while and suggested we should get one to mess with people in the loos.
Vampire Weekend started and I have to admit I was quite excited. Squeak and I decided to get a bit closer as the crowd had thinned out a fair bit, and we ended up almost front centre. We were next to a very entertaining fellow who would answer the lead singers rhetorical questions with much gusto. At one point, the question was asked, “Are you guys having a good time?” to which the over excited crowd member replied “F**k yeah, let’s get f**king naked!!!” and sure enough, the next song was “A Punk”, a very crowd pleasing tune, and I look across to my right to see this gentleman completely starker’s, thing swinging in the breeze. Very very funny!
Squeak and I were on the late shift and so we used our very cool hospitality bands to do the short walk behind the main stage to the Other Stage, and headed back to The Park. It was a pretty easy run and we absolutely smashed it. We finished up around 1am and decided to meet up with a friend of mine from last year, and headed to the new “Trash City”, now called District 9 and the Unfairgrounds.
This place was just epic, a full scale set is built throughout the arena, and a range of awesome ‘trash’ is used, such as black hawk helicopters, old army bomber planes and some awesome modified tractors and cars that drive around. I can’t describe to you how amazing this place is, the photos don’t do it justice. We also noticed the amazing dome from Standon Calling last year, hopefully we are bringing this dome over to Australia for summer in the next few years. We headed around the unfairgrounds, finding little clubs here and there and generally thinking it was pretty mental. We then headed up to Stone Circle and had a chillout. Lucy went to bed with a mate and I headed back to find Squeak around the Park.
We enjoyed our sleep in and had a pretty slow day. After work, I met up with Ella, a marshal from Sunrise Festival, a few weeks before. She dragged me to see Shakira, which her mates were very much into. Ella and I were ready for a great bagging session, but as it turned out she was pretty amazing. We were waiting for the backup dancers the first few songs, and eventually they appeared to many cheers from the audience. We had the afternoon shift, so we headed back to The Park, quite a long walk, probably about 45 minutes to an hour including traffic.
We finished around 10 and headed back out to the festival. We met up with Ella and her friends again and decided to experience Arcadia. It is run by a company called Arcadia and they are hired at many festivals throughout the summer, on varying scales. They usually feature a large staging area, pyrotechnics, acrobats and general craziness. It didn’t disappoint, and the area was enclosed in London style street lamps, that were actually flame throwers, that went off to the beat of the music.
As if that wasn’t enough there were girls on each side of the staging area with very impressive flame throwers. The music was mainly electro, and Squeak, Ella, Her Friend and I were in quite an amount of disbelief at the epic scale and general randomness. Then came a crowd favorite, Nirvana with Lithium and they quite simply rocked. We called it a night when Arcadia stopped playing around 4, and headed off to get some well deserved rest.
We loved the shift system, and worked early morning and then again in the afternoon and then it was off to play again. We met up with one of Squeaks mates called Geeza and saw some band called Faithless who we thought we didn’t know. Geeza assured us that we did, and eventually “I Can’t Get No Sleep” came on, and the penny dropped. We cut faithless short and used the sneaky backstage path to get to the Other Stage to see LCD Soundsystem. We missed my favorite song “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”, but never the less was a good set. We headed back to the mainstage for the Sunday night headliner, and joined almost 140,000 people to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder.
Amazingly, we ran into Mattia, Bart and Tim in the arena, which is just pure and utter luck. We worked our way forward and settled in for some magic. Magic it was, and I even shared the love with home (Australia), calling them during the song “I just called to say I love you”. Needless to say, my parents were quite entertained. It was a magical end to an awesome festival, and as this is Glastonbury’s 40th year, Michael Evis, the man who started the festival all those years ago, and the farmer of the land appeared onstage with Stevie Wonder to sing Happy Birthday to the festival.
We joined the masses heading out of the arena and headed to The Park to have one last beer and chill out. We had absolutely smashed the festival and our loos were a hit. We had worked a very managed shift roster and worked very hard when we were on, then communicated the situation to the next crew and shuffled shifts for bin changeovers. It was just ideal, and gave us an awesome amount of time to actually switch off and enjoy the music. Squeak and I couldn’t believe it, and there were many times in the crowd that we looked at each other and remarked “God I hate my job” HAHA!
Squeak and I were exempt from pack up on the Monday to go on a very important mission, tatting. Now that word may be foreign to you all, but essentially you get to discover the amazing array of stuff left by the punters. Including, as shown in the photo below, a massive amount of beer!
Glastonbury Festival is an amazing festival, you just get lost in it, an it’s not even for the amazing lineup, as you could never get around and see everyone. It’s actually the little things, like Trash City and Arcadia and awesome little secrets like the Rabbit Hole bar, with a secret back room and toilets with the best view of the festival. I will be back, I’d like to make a habbit of this festival, even if it requires saving money and just coming over for the week.
We have a few weeks off now, before the next festival, hopefully some prep time and time to recover! Until then, cheers!