Happiness is a festival called Glastonbury.

At my age, it’s the only way to camp.

This year was blazing hot and we were constantly coated in  a filthy layer of sunscreen sticky grime.  We had slightly cheated though.  We were staying in a gypsy caravan with Tangerine Fields – flushing toilets, a bed and…showers. I don’t feel bad about this cheating – because of work we can only get there for Friday so we’d never find a camping spot, plus these are the first days off  that Beloved has had since new year. Besides, we’re old, leave it to the young ‘uns to rough it.

Rolf Harris opened the Pyramid Stage – we tied his kangaroo down and climbed the staircase to heaven along with  Small Boy’s festival puppet.

Wolf Harris and Small Boy. It’s a festival thing.

It’s become a  tradition, the acquisition of a puppet animal, ever since our first family Glastonbury where mud was knee deep. Thigh deep, when you are 7 years old.  Mr Fox kept Small Boy entertained, under my rain poncho, through many a damp gig. Every now and then, Boy’s head would pop up saying, ” Mummy, you should see what Foxy’s doing.”  As if I didn’t know.

Wolf Harris came with us to the John Peel Tent and it was there that  Marina (and The Diamonds) stole my heart. I want to adopt her. Her perfect, melodic voice; the engaging poetry of her songs and her overawed, tender banter with the audience, were utterly charming.  As was Marina’s orange knitted fox cardigan.

There were plenty of  magic music moments: accidentally catching the end of Shakira’s set was  golden;  the Scissor Sisters threw a bouncing party with a very welcome guest in the shape of teeny tiny Kylie Minogue;

Go on, eat him up Kylie.

Small Boy loved Dizzy Rascal singing with Florence and the Machine, and it was quite something to see 100,000 people jumping up and down at the same time;

The Muse set was breath taking even  seen from half way up the hill as I walked a very tired Small Boy back to his sleeping bag;

Paloma Faith was charming and witty and I can confirm it wasn’t Beardy Ardagh on keyboard – the beard wasn’t big enough;

Those were some big balloons. Yes, we all wanted a go.

Jack Johnson was soothing and chilled as the sun went down and laid back Daughter singing along to Kate Nash was just delicious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLr2r4cqodc

I must also mention the accidental gigs. The ones you don’t plan to see but just happen upon; Corinne Bailey Rae on the Avalon Stage, Radiohead playing a secret gig in the Park  and the fantastic LCD Soundsystem who turned me into a fan and sent me into a dance frenzy during which the following conversation was overheard between Daughter and Beloved ,

“Well Dad, you married her”

“I know, she’s like the ghost of some crazy hippy, isn’t she?”

The Ghost of Crazy Hippy.

Aside from the music there’s the fields to explore. The sculptural, astonishing, dystopian Arcadia, Block 9, The Unfairground and Shangri-la ( not a place to get lost in after dark) are truly jaw dropping. A block of flats with an underground train sticking out of it:

Block 9, only here for the weekend then back to green fields. Tell me you are not astonished.

–  a car with a missile buried in its back and  a helicopter in a tree :

Crash landing

Pimp my ride Glastonbury style:

Three heads are better than none.

a street with a name so rude it made me blush – oh and the regional liver and kidney hire…..

In case you need a replacement…

Then there’s Avalon and  The Craft Fields.  Beloved and Small Boy hung out at the bronze foundry and talked about metal, then went off and carved themselves some stone. Daughter and I sat under a canvas awning and let a beautiful, blond dreadlocked young woman, henna our hands while her contented, blond dreadlocked  little boy clambered over paisley cushions, eating ryvita and enjoying the air around his naked bottom.

Best not to look at my fingernails.

I love it all.  The random conversations you have with strangers about Glastonbury past; the shared joy that has nothing (much) to do with drugs;  the feeling that you are at a giant picnic with 100,000 other people and such diverse food offerings that every meal is a tough choice Thai, Indian, strawberry’s and cream, vegan or a foot long sausage?

Kidz Field – better than Disneyland

I love that odd is normal –

you can walk around in wings and a wig or take off all your clothes and daub yourself in glitter and no one does much more than smile, or worry that you might overheat in your top to toe pink flamingo outfit.

At least some dressing up must be done.

So, I don’t mind if you hate it, but, unless you live around the site ( in which case, thank you for letting us invade your peace for the weekend, we do appreciate it), I suggest you just give yourself a break.

Don’t go, don’t watch it on TV, don’t waste your energy being so cross.

Leave it the the lovers. Beloved summed it up as  we clocked the first signs for blue route on our way in,

“It feels like coming home doesn’t it?”

I couldn’t speak.

Photo by Small Boy, Happiness by Glastonbury Festival.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Well, Kathy, I am totally taken, with this piece of writing. I want to go to Glastonbury…YES, I DO! The infinite variety of elements, that go together, to make such a marvellous event, are awesome. I had thought about going some years ago, but your write-up has really inspired me and made me want to drag my ‘Hippy-Side’, out of the closet; THAT is long overdue. I’m glad you made it, because it is what YOU are about. Fantabulous….may you bless Glastonbury many more times with your presence until you are very old and grey!

  2. “ghost of some crazy hippy” – love it. And love it that you had such a great time – and that you got your hands hennaed!

  3. Nancy H says:

    WOW. Just wow.

  4. What a fabulous tale, and what gorgeous photos. You look like a girl in her element. xxx

  5. Philippa says:

    I have never been to the Glastonbury Festival – but I did appreciate you writing about it.
    Wist ful sigh.

  6. Sue Hyams says:

    Brilliant post. Sounds like you had an amazing time and I love the photos!

  7. Julie Wilkie says:

    Reading this made me feel like I was there…..so glad you all had such a great time Jx

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