My Glastonbury History -pt1

A few people have asked me recently what I have been doing at past Glastonbury festivals. So I thought it would be worth posting:

1992, 1993, 1994

I went for the first time with my girlfriend Jenny Beasley because the Cud band were in the advert in the NME. Truth is I didn't actually get to see  Cud play but I did have an amazing time. Too many stories to tell, mostly more suitable for over a beer than a blog. I think my favourite tale is as it was my first time camping since the scouts I'd borrowed a hopelessly impractical tent from a friends Mum, it was a big 3 room frame tent thing and all orange nylon - nice! Back in 92 the bus used to drop you on the main road and you walked about 2 miles down the lane to the site. I'd already been introduced to the very strong Glastonbury serendipity earlier in the day - when begging Jenny to lend me some money (i wasn't proud) I showed her my empty cashpoint balance - only it wasn't empty there was a random £340 paid in - this was "holiday pay" a totally new concept to me that I had no idea was coming and being paid in that day and in the end I lent  Jenny money. So anyway  we arrive, we choose a spot, I look at this 50KG 70s marvel I've carried all the way  here and remember that I don't actually have a clue about putting tents up, I hadn't thought about this part until  now at all. Luckily Jenny was fairly sublime in nature and agreed with me that the best plan was to have a beer and think about it. We'd also  carried quite a lot of beer quite a long way. The weather was nice. It was a holiday. Why rush? So another beer, as no ideas had yet come. If Jenny was getting stressed she wasn't showing it. After 2 beers nature takes its course and so I head for my first Glastonbury toilet experience. I had no reason to fear anything, I had never heard stories of Glastonbury toilets before. As I queue and await my turn and naturally get to the front of the queue the next door to swing open ejects a character that I know. In fact in the most bizarre of coincidences ever it's my old room mate, a man called Andrew Demster, known as Demo, who had often shared a room with Jenny & I. More fantastic was the fact that Demo was something of a Venture Scout. He wasn't just good at camping, he loved camping and tents and that sort of thing. If there was one thing that could improve a less than dreary day for Demo it was some idiot with a random tent they couldn't put up. I had no idea he was going to be there. He did  come, he did help, we did have a tent. I was sold. Glastonbury was the most amazing place on earth. The bizarre events continued, the amazing coincidences abounded. We had a wonderful time. It opened our eyes to a world we knew was there but didn't know was so real. I returned in 1993 & 1994. Each time we bought tickets at HMV on the way to the festival. In 1993 I had my boots, money and car keys stolen in a tent slashing on the Friday morning but had an amazing festival living entirely on the charity of strangers.

1995

I played bass guitar in an Irishy folk rock band called Reincarnation. It was great fun, these were great times. Reincarnation was a vehicle created by fiddler Peter Miln and singer / guitarist Dan James. There were many often bizarre lineups and gigs. The glastonbury lineup was Dan & Pete, Neil Baker later of Flipside on latin percussion, farrier Garrick Nelson on Bodhran, Steve Paul (a man like myself and half the band with no convincing surname) playing rock kit drums, plus a couple of friends who danced on stage. At glastonbury we were booked by Arabela Churchill to open the outside theatre stage at 10:30am each day, and to play in the fire procession on the saturday night that was arranged to celebrate this being the 25th Glastonbury festival. This procession gig was awesome and we played, carnival style on the back of a truck, for about 3.5 hours to 10,0000s of people and they all danced. The absolute high-point of my musical career :D

1997

My very dear and deceased friend David Fleetham & I went as guests of Dubstar. I think on paper we were the woodwind section, and we took my flute and David's clarinet with us as props in case there were any awkward questions. Now David was haeomophilliac with many extreme complications including terrible arthritic ankles that made it incredibly difficult for him to walk. So I spent a fairly intense weekend with him, he was far too proud to use crutches and so most of the weekend I was his crutch, and also his drinking buddy. I think as usual we drank most of Dubstar's fairly substantial rider, just to help save Christian from liver failure. I have hazy memories involving David Baddiel and Hanson's Mum's who were camped next to us. I got very clear insights into being at Glastonbury with a disability too. It was extremely muddy. We did get out to see Radiohead and that set was lifechanging. We did also see Dubstar on the other stage and that was lifechanging too in a not so manic way.

1998

For the first time I bought tickets in advance, framed them put them on bedroom wall and then had them stolen at quite a good party, so again bought tickets on the way down from HMV in Reading. Again an incredibly muddy year. By the time I got there all of the friends I was meeting had left. I spent the time with my new South African girlfriend Shaldean Van Der Merwe her French friend Nadine and her American boyfriend, I felt like a cultural attache explaining everything that was going on. We made some amazing friends in the campsite, we worked together and kept a massive fire going all weekend, and I will always remember the Sunday morning Hothouse Flowers set (I think) where he started "WELCOME TO THE SURVIVOR'S CLUB" it was electric and great fun. That year the website had been run by the Guardian and I'd found it very annoying as it really wasn't very updated, there was very little of  the information I was looking for and I started thinking I could do a better job.

1999

With my friend Travis Pedley we worked  on this idea of a much  better Glastonbury Festival website. We wrote some quite detailed proposals and essentially the idea was to create something that today you'd call Social Networking and Content Management. It's name was a terrible pun (glastonline.com) but it still  makes me smile. I wrote an application that was essentially a networked database that could output web pages via FTP and could be contributed to by many people. We had an agreement with Andy Thomas who, had spoken with Michael Eavis about it, to have six people in a space in a portacabin in the acoustic field to take photos, write, get data, upload stuff and generally capture the richness of info available and make the internet a little bit less boring. The guiding creative principle was that in the way I had just stumbled into the festival 7 years before, someone could stumble  into  this website and confront some ideas that may inspire or entertain or maybe educate them. There was a new official website at www.glastonbury-festival.co.uk that had been put together by Simon Glinn of the JazzWorld stage and Neil Greenway of eFestivals.co.uk - when we sent a link to them for them to link to us and vice versa all hell broke loose. Essentialy we were threatened with a lot of "heavy shit" if we did this and compromised the festivals rights agreements with others. At one point I was told a photo of my face from my personal website would be distributed to all gates to stop me entering. On the Tuesday night before the festival I had a mobile  phone conversation of over 2 hours with Simon Glinn that we both laughed about afterwards, especially as  we don't even know how it was possible for the signal to hold out that long never mind distract  him from the setup. In the end I had to let my friends down and it didn't happen. But I went to HMV in Swindon, bought a ticket, came to the festival and had a fantastic time at the best festival I can remember.

 

READ MORE: 
my Glastonbury History  Part 2 :
/blog4u/2012/1/12/glastonbury-history-part-2

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