It’s a different world. A different reality where hours and days merge, and you spend most of your time in a state of heightened attention as you try to absorb everything that is going on.
It was our second Glastonbury, the first rushing past in a blur of bands and mud. Last time around we spent too much time worrying about time, trying to get from stage to stage, thinking that we had to get the most from the weekend by seeing as many bands as we could.
This time around we took a different approach, made easier by the fact that a lot of the ‘big names’ weren’t really our cup of tea. Instead we wandered the Circus area, Greenfields, the smaller tents. We made stops for specific bands, The Villagers in the John Peel Tent, Portishead and Smashing Pumpklins on the Other Stage, Dizzee Rascal on the Pyramid Stage and yes, we were there for the Rolling Stones (more on that in a bit).
For the most part though we wandered. We stopped to watch a French woman do some amazing tricks on a bike, laughed and joined in with a juggler/magician/comedian on a tiny stage right on a busy corner of the site. We visited the Rabbit Hole, we danced and sang at the Silent Disco, we boogied in Beat Hotel (and other places), we explored Shangri-la during the day but didn’t make it back at night (that’ll be on the list for next time).
And we had a blast. We walked until our feet hurt, then stopped and danced and walked some more. There is so much to do at Glastonbury, so much away from the main stages to take in and all of it, every single second of it, is relaxed. Sure it can get busy, the crush coming out of the Acoustic tent after seeing KT Tunstall wasn’t great but not a patch on the madness that was Saturday night at the Pyramid Stage, but it’s never threatening. The spirit is very much ‘we are all in this together’.
We didn’t watch all of the Rolling Stones. Not because they were bad, but because we were too far away to feel connected to it. The crowds had built over the entire day, people camped out and waited from mid-afternoon. We heard the first few tracks then spent about an hour trying to fit our way through the crowds to get somewhere, anywhere, else.
That aside, it was a fantastic weekend. Will we go next year? Maybe, maybe not. For the same money we could spend a week on a warm beach but… would that make me feel so alive?
Coming back home (we left early on Sunday night as we weren’t bothered about the two main headliners) was odd. It’s funny how quickly you adjust to a new schedule, a new approach to the day to day aspects of life. Sure it’s great to have a hot shower, a comfortable bed, but every day life does seem quite boring, mundane even.
Glastonbury is huge, both in scale and in physical size. Even if you are only partially interested in the music aspect, I’d encourage you to go to experience it. Can’t wait until the next one.