Glastonbury 1997 or ‘The year of the mud’ as it’s known by those of us who attended and rocked out to the likes of Radiohead, Supergrass and The Prodigy while knee-deep in dirt.
I remember the rain pouring down prior to the event in the heart of the English countryside. My brother and I entered the fortress like walls as part of a huge throng of people, all jostling for the best camp sites.
We were pleased with our spot near the dance area. It wasn’t the quietest spot, however, thanks to an impromptu dance arena made from a converted bus that had set-up 20 meters away. At least the ravers within were friendly bunch.
At first trying to negotiate the festival was confusing. Glastonbury was massive filled with music and entertainments tents all competing for our attention. The ground, soaked by torrential downpours had been trampled into a sticky paste. It would take more than wet wipes to get us clean!
The mud connected the crowd; we would exchange wry smiles as we trudged through it or laughed together at our futile attempts at bouncing along to our favourite tunes while partially submerged in filth. Some even wrestled in it or threw mud-pies. The jovial atmosphere overcame the typically English conditions
Glastonbury 2010, in contrast, was hot and dry. The festival had gotten bigger since my first visit, there was greater organisation and facilities allowing children and those averse to slumming it to attend. There were also more attractions offering the 250’000 strong crowd almost a weeks worth of distractions.
I had some of the greatest experiences of my life at that festival; I partied hard at the Slumber Rave, dressed in pyjamas and bouncing on two giant beds, I ticked-off an item from my bucket list by playing drums to a crowd gathered at the Jam tent, I even met Chali 2na, an idol of mine from the hip-hop act Jurassic 5. One, more unusual, moment came as I ate free curry at the Harikrishna tent while listening to a Harikrishnan dwarf sing songs attacking Richard Dawkins.
Some of my friends were put off by the ticket price. At £200 it was not cheap but did offer unparalleled value for money. I saw many great musicians including Stevie Wonder, Jack Johnson, The Foals and Mumford and Sons. To see each individually would cost a lot more.
I love attending festivals, they are an exciting spectacle, full of music and colourful characters. They give you the opportunity to take a mini-break from the humdrum pace of life and expose you to a huge variety of musicians that you might struggle to see otherwise. If you get the chance, you should go!