Stewarding at Glastonbury Festival
For the second year in a row I decided to get involved with stewarding at Glastonbury festival. This time I didn’t just go with my best friend Mohassin like in 2010 but also my mate Joe.
This year was a stark contrast in weather to the heatwave of 2010.
Also, the lack of world cup action left a slight void in daytime activities. Waking up every day to rain tipping down outside your tent (and condensation dripping onto your face inside your tent, in my case) is not really motivation to get up, get ready and chill out to some music.
Working at the festival offers a view into a different side of the festival as you were a vital part of how the festival is run. Working on the entry gates and perimeter fence reminded me of my holiday job where I was working on admissions at a Madame Tussauds.
On my first shift I worked on the Wednesday from 3pm-11pm. I was checking wristbands and passes for eight hours but the time went surprisingly fast.
We were allowed to talk to each other and be friendly with other festival-goers, mainly coming and going from their cars with bedding and ALCOHOL.
Surely mattresses and pillows are unnecessary luxuries for a camping/ festival experience though? I felt no real sympathy for many of the people trying to trudge through the mud with these items.
It was also interesting seeing that most men had so much stuff that they had their girlfriends carrying their alcohol. I think I lost count of the amount of people that Mohassin saluted who were carrying Guinness for someone else.
On my second shift it was a 7am start up until 3 in the afternoon. I was on another gate but this time instead of checking wristbands and passes I was stopping the flow of traffic/ people to ensure that the cars didn’t hit the people as they crossed the vehicle track. It was generally agreed by most of us stewarding that the supervisors were idiots and none of them were nice people (“pricks” was a word often used). The first supervisor on this shift was annoying but I got used to him. However, mid-way through he was switched for someone more senior. A fat black man with a shaving rash on his neck arrived and he resembled a rhino in both looks and his crowd management techniques.
I was told originally that getting people into the festival was the main priority and that we could stop cars and make them wait for as long as necessary. However Rhino-man was intent on stopping the flow of people every time any vehicle came along.
“CUT IT OFF!” he’d shout every time he’d want to stop the people. Which was not only funny for me but the building queue of pedestrians being made to wait.
On this shift I saw a few vans of performers but only recognised Ed Sheeran out of all the people driving past.
Towards the end of the shift I also spotted Coleen Rooney in a group leaving a minibus. She was wearing massive sunglasses but I’d read rumours that her and Wayne were going to Glasto. I pointed her out to one of the lads I was working with from Bangor that I’d just met and she smiled at me.
A guy with a thick Liverpudlian accent then asked me:
“Is this the way in mate?” > Rooney’s brother, spitting image of the shin-bicycle-kick scoring wonder.
I then glimpsed Wayne sporting a hat and big, dark sunglasses.
The majority of my time on shift was clock-watching, eagerly awaiting the land rover or van that would pick us up and take us back to camp so we could get ready for musical enjoyment.
We saw a pretty diverse amount of music this year and tended to spend most of our time in the Dance Village once we’d managed to trudge through the mud.
– Arrived and then checked the place out
– Shift and then Chilling
– Trolley Snatcha, Ms Dynamite, Julio Bashmore, Maya Jane Coles, Netsky – All of which smashed it!
– Missed Wu-Tang Clan due to the rain and catching up on sleep but could hear it from my tent.
– U2 – kept my attention and had a load more songs that I’d heard before than I’d thought.
– Fatboy Slim – pretty epic stage set up and productions
– Rumer – definitely not a rapper as Mohassin thought but chilled soulful music that was far too relaxed for the mood.
– Caught the end of Jessie J‘s set and really liked that she got a little girl out of the crowd to sing on stage with her.
– Tinie Tempah – really tested the bass of the Pyramid Stage but meant that we missed out on Giggs‘ performance.
– P-Money – brought Blacks and Little Dee out to perform new single “Run This Town”
– Skepta – I was disappointed that he didn’t bring any special guests to feature – particularly on “Too Many Man”!
– Mistajam– good tunes and really good at entertaining the crowd.
– Caught the end of Maverick Sabre singing “Jungle” and then saw Danny Byrd put on a great set.
– Then I got exempt from a shift and hit up the crazy world of Shangri-La and the massive Arcadia stage which I mentioned in the blog last year. A giant metal spider that shoots fire. What more could you want?
Sunday (the day the weather was so nice we HAD to leave our tents)
– Mr Nice
– Camo and Krooked
– London Elektricity
– Plan B – bursting from his waistcoat and did too many slow songs but we stayed put as we wanted to keep our space for Pendulum and Beyonce.
– Pendulum – big sweaty mosh pits. Lots of water, beer and punches thrown as was expected.
– Beyoncé – very watchable set but obviously a lot of people were disappointed at no guest feature à la Jay-Z/ Kanye West. Her dancers were pretty sick though and she was looking hot. Busted out a few sing-along Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé solo classics too.
It took ages to get from the Pyramid to the Dance Village after Beyoncé but we eventually got to Pussy Parlure. We didn’t make it in there last year but I wondered why I hadn’t spent my whole festival inside here!
It was a massive circular room with bouncy wooden floors. We thought we’d see about 5 minutes of Foreign Beggars but actually got more like an hour. This was one of the craziest live sets I’ve ever seen in my life. It began with a woman stage diving into the crowd and ended with half the room running at the other and basically brawling in a mosh-pit. A few litres of sweat and the odd busted lip later, we walked out.
What a great few days, lots of alcohol, lots of music, barely any sleep and some crazy sights all topped off by meeting some great people and some good weather on the last day.
The fields were rested in 2012, so no festival).