Here I sit, at 8am, in a lovely villa in Roquefort Les Pins, which is quite close to Nice. The hot sun is coming up over the house and the swimming pool is warming up nicely. I've got my laptop (not usually holiday luggage) and a Nokia Cardphone to handle the comms. Everybody else is still asleep, whilst I have been awake for about an hour, watching this beautiful day develop. This is a far cry from last weekend... Glastonbury!
Last year was my first Glasto, and the excitement kept me going through the cold and the mud. Unfortunately it was cold and muddy this year too, with the added anti-bonus of rain! We had planned to arrive at the festival on Friday afternoon and hope to find a good spot for the tent, however we actually arrived just before 6pm. I was with Anna and Nishi. We were kitted our with our wellies, waterproof trouser covers and kagool tops. It was hard work trudging through the mud (again!) however on the way to camp we met Lyn and xqp, who delightfully bought us a beer whilst we had a rest from lugging stuff.
I just wanted to stay there and relax for hours but there was work to do so we moved on to the Green Fields camp site, joining up with Keif (happymexican) along the way. It was tough finding a spot for the tent, I had incorrectly guessed that the main bulk of festival goers would arrive Friday night and that we should be OK -nope! Lyn had told us that they'd had trouble finding a spot on /thursday/ so it took us a while. We basically shoved the tent up at the end of a muddy track, which may not have been the most polite thing to do, but what the heck, I wasn't prepared to walk around (again) for ages looking for a perfect campsite. xqp gave me good advice - "If you see a space - take it! Don't mess about looking for another one!" We decided that Nishi could share our tent rather than building a second one up.
The rain came down in droves and so we found a welcome dry spot in a beer tent, inviting the Carlsberg to provide some heat. Still the rain came down so next stop was a Theatre Tent, where we watched a three piece Indian band play. How I would love to play drums like that! The next act was also a trio, a Spanish music/comedy group. Their set opened up and I could here them but not see them. Scanning the audience I spotted them in the crowd trying to get everybody excited. The guitarist, with a little Spanish guitar was clearly the leader. At one point he threw his guitar straight out in front of him to somebody in the crowd - gasp! - only for it to bounce straight back to his chest, courtesy of the "comedy elastic guitar strap". Taking the stage, there were more songs, including one particularly delightful piece, where a bass drum was on it's side on the stage. The lady in the band came on juggling, then she switched to bouncing the balls on the drum. At first it was a bounce per beat, then this developed into a complex rhythm with five balls going at once - fabulous!
We tried walking over to the Cinema tent, however it was so far (through the mud) and still it was raining that we decided to call it a night and went back to our tent. Technical hitch - Nishi's sleeping bag was wet and unusable, so we had to zip mine and Anna's sleeping bags together and three of us squeezed in. I slept solidly for about ten minutes then had to get some fresh air. This kind of sleep/awake/sleep/awake went on all night and I don't think any of us slept very well.
When I woke up proper on Saturday, I felt really lousy however the sun was shining, there were bongo drums in the distance, Radio Avalon, the festival radio station was playing and the welcome mood of the festival began to wash over me. It felt good.
I checked the agenda and realised that Jools Holland was playing the main stage and I'd be able to catch some of his set if I went over. So I did. I saw a few of his songs, which were excellent then the rain came (doh!) and my t shirt quickly became soaked through. As I'd left my kagool in the tent (double doh!), I just took my top off, which was preferable to wearing a soggy shirt. Wandered some more and met Anna. She went off to see Hothouse Flowers whilst I went to see Kenickie. I was a little late for the Kenickie kick off so my place in the crowd was quite far back. No problem, I fished out my mini-binoculars and bingo! I was right on stage with them. Close enough to see Emmy-Kate's bass style (a mix of plectrum and finger picking). The set was quite similar to the one we saw a few weeks back at the Electric Ballroom. After this, I went to see the end of Hothouse Flowers, so I caught a couple of songs before the rain set in once again!
I met Anna back at the tent, still more rain came and we considered our options. After some umming and erring, we all eventually said that we weren't bothered about staying another night in these conditions, that we hated Keif who was in a Campervan (no vacancies!) and that we'd probably go home later. We wandered around the markets for a while, getting some organic wine and I also picked up a leaflet from the Indian Music Shop, whom I plan to visit in the near future. Looking at the time, we reckoned that we'd have time to pack the stuff, take it to the car, then get back for Robbie Williams. This seemed preferable to watching Robbie, then packing up, as it would have been very late when we came to leave. There was also the nagging fear of tent burglary, as there had been many reports of this.
So we packed the tent and trudged off. It took an hour just to walk to the car with the stuff! The first part of the journey was walking through the site, the second half was mainly uphill, which wouldn't have been easy anyway, let alone with bags and tents! By the time we reached the car Robbie was due to start so we gave up the idea of going back.
Getting the car through the muddy car park was tough, Anna and Nishi had to push it through the worst bits (and this was only Saturday night!), we drove home, stopping to use real toilets and to get a speeding ticket. We arrived home at about 1:30am and the cottage never looked so warm and comforting - yay!
So our Glasto trip was two nights shorter than planned, though there was no way we were going to stay for the sake of it. After you've walked around the mud and the markets and used the toilets for a day, you might as well watch the rest on TV or listen to the radio! I've heard that Glastonbury in great weather can be fantastic and I'm sure it is. Don't get me wrong, I love the festival, it's just the camping that drives me crazy. Maybe I spend too much time in hotels to 'rough it'... so next time, there's definitely going to be a caravan or a camper in the equation!
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