Friday, July 03, 2009

Glastonbury 2009 - Thursday

Thursday – A Wet Warm Up Day

Drip drip drip

Awaking to some light rain, we feel a bit rusty. Hedgy, feeling dehydrated, claims he is not drinking alcohol today. He goes into the campervan, grabs a bottle of Evian, and nearly chokes after the third large gulp of not water but vodka! Glastonbury are very strict about glass, so all spirits must be decanted into plastic bottles, poor Hedge!

Not much privacy in the camper

Dad sorts breakfast of bacon and egg muffins again, along with a nice pint of beer for myself. It’s the festival way! Karen tells us Poppy is not feeling too well after doing the Grand National around the Stone Circle at 6am this morning. As it’s wet and there has been rainfall overnight, I tell Dad to wear wellies. He refuses, despite me having a go at him. He was to have the last laugh on this front.

Welly time

Leaving the boys, Dad and I head down to site. First up, I have the Real Ale meet of the eFesters (i.e. those who spend lots of time on the eFestival forums!). Midday the Red Flag real ale tent is opening, and the plan was to say hello to people and have some real ales. The sun had now come out and was strong.

The Red Flag Real Ale tent

When we arrived the tent was really busy, and incredibly hot and humid. The description of "sauna" as used by many was spot on. It became clear that no-one had any beer - apparently there were delays sorting out the pricing or something. Disaster!

Please don't serve customers a generous portion

I said hello to some of the eFesters, then Dad and I headed off for some bimbling (the correct verb for pottering about at Glasto!).

Dad wanted to get Hedge a spare pair of shorts, though I suspected he just wanted to get Felicity a present!

Anyway, we toured the central marketplace shopping areas *in their entirety* - a very painful process for your author.

Worse still he didn’t even buy anything, just browsed (the worst kind of shopping!) though we do find the lovely Yeo Valley stall and pick up a yoghurt for him and a frozen one for me.

It was hot, really hot, steamy, as the now intense sun baked down on moist ground. The wellies with thick socks were completely unnecessary, as Dad enjoyed pointing out to me on a regular basis! The long grass everywhere had held out to this initial wetting and stamping. How much longer would it be before the inevitable mud descended en mass?! :)

My friend Will finally turned up from Oxford on a bicycle to an empty campervan, having found it by just cycling around E17 and spotting an empty packet of Hamlets! The benefit of knowing your neighbours was demonstrated as Matt questioned what he was up to, but when it became clear that he was not a thief, he sorted Will out with a cup of water, something he had earnt having cycled all the way from Oxford that morning! A moderate distance ride, but as I warned him previously, it is the return journey which is the potentially bad one, on Monday morning at the end of chronic sleep deprivation!

We were down in Jazz World, where Will joined us, having drinks and food in front of District 6 bar, and the adjacent baked potato stall which had to have the best tunes of any food stall I came across at Glasto, and at a decent volume too!

Glasto Moment: The small but dedicated crowd who were just dancing away in front of the baked potato stall in broad daylight.

Via phone we learnt that Pippi, Jonathan and Elaine had turned up, so Will and headed off to meet them at the meeting point. This plan was scuppered by the idiotic decision to put the first band of the festival, Maximo Park, on the relatively small Queen's Head. Completely predictable logjam resulted, and security had just shut down access to the whole area to avoid crushes. We looped around, tried unsuccessfully to get through the Kids Field. Next attempt - the very long way round - up past Acoustic and then round, right up to the top near the Control Centre and IvyMead medical, then back down to Pyramid.

Found them! They look grumpy hot and flustered with full gear in this heat and all this messing around. So how to get them to Gate C? Rather than going up the hill again, we looped the other way around, near Jazz World. What a waste of effort - why on earth did they think that well over 100,000 people with not much to do would be fine with a venue carrying a couple of thousand for the opening band! Minus points, Glasto!!

Finally this was my chance to dump my hated wellies and get back in sandals, whilst the others get set up. When they were done, we headed back in to the site, straight to the Queen's Head where there were a handy series of bands I wanted to see.

First up, Londoner Charlene Soraia is on. I don't know much about her, but she came across as a pleasant solo female guitarist.

Next up, The Gentle Good, who are a lovely Welsh folk band, really enjoyed their set.

Liz Green, a quirky folky singer-songwriter who is a schoolteacher in Manchester. A couple of years she won a competition to play the Pyramid stage as a complete unknown. This set she had a backing band, which was fine, but I think I prefer her playing solo, the band was in danger of drowning her vocals out.

Elaine, Will, Pippi and Jonathan

The girls head off to find food, Jonathan to the Dance Village, whilst Will and I charge up to the Red Flag tent, aka the Real Ale tent, for a couple of beers before rushing back.

Dark clouds overhead

Outside the tent, Dad's spitting image is sitting having a beer. I couldn't believe it wasn't him!! Different from the front perhaps, but the side view - absolutely identical, the beard, the clothes, the hat, the lot!

Inside, the beers were flowing finally.

The beer list

Will gets into the spirit of things

Back to the Queen's Head, where the next gig is starting.

Alessi’s Ark, aka Alessi Laurent-Marke from Hammersmith, is a cute poppy guitar-playing girl. Just after I'd decided I didn't need any food, Herrington turned up with a Cornish Pastie for me. Ah well, you can't refuse a pastie! The rain started and people jammed themselves into the tent.

The last band I wanted to see, The Golden Silvers, came on, and were damn good. I think they are heading for the big time, check them out before they get too big.

Time to head over to the Dance Village, passing the Pyramid,

The others wanted to see East17 for a good dose of old-school cheesy dance. Rumours abound of Michael Jackson's demise. We didn't know at this stage that in a couple of hours people would be wearing t-shirts on the subject!

We found Jonathan, then I headed off on my own to the Pussy Parlour, where Afghan Headspin was on, and the Qemists next. Nearing the tent, I found a huge queue, which I joined, hoping it would be fast moving. It wasn't. I only put up with the queueing because of some friendly neighbours and the thumping tunes blasting out of the nearby Magic Bubble Tent. What became clear as I eventually got near the front, an hour and a half later (I kid you not) was that loads of scumbags were pushing in, right in front of disinsterested stewards who were casually maintaining some crowd queueing barriers for the couple of metres in front of the door.

I was so angry, but finally about to get in, half way through the Qemists set! Just as I approached the final leg of the queue, my brothers all showed up. I wasn't going to miss this chance, so yanked them all in to the queue through a gap in the barrier.

We were in, and the DnB live set of the Qemists was brilliant,

we were right next to the stage on the right just yards from the performers, and I was really glad that my brothers were getting a first flavour of what Glasto was all about.

Alex and Hedge


The Qemists wrapping up

Next up, Billy Nasty, who slowed things down, just as everyone else showed up, having apparently queued for 4 minutes!! Disgraceful! Pippi's sister Lizzy appeared too, with friends of hers.

Pippi, Lizzie's friends and Lizzie

Time to head back to camper for a recharge before out again for the night! In all honesty, as I write this blog.. I have no recollection of how the evening ended!

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