hippy butlins?

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June 29, 2005 by cosmoakacitizensmith

some things about the glastonbury experience never change.

most notably, we had two tickets and a drop off vehicle pass, (that is to say we couldn’t keep the van in the festival perimeter for more than six hours), in order to get in five people, a whole band’s worth of musical equipment on site and ferry the equipment round from to all our gigs once we were there.

musicians sometimes have to work miracles in their own hazy way.

tom had to secret himself under a load of seats in the transit and then cover himself in rubbish in order to become invisible.

rob on the other hand had the relative luxury of squatting in a huge drum case on the way in. wot larks

anyhow, we managed it and by 10 am on the thursday we were on site and ready to go.

the festival is divided into three main sections. the first is the ubiquitous “babylon,” which describes the area with all the main music stages, stalls and camping for punters. for me it is a nightmare of consumer hell, and even when u go and check out a band on one of the big stages, it seems such an effort to wade through the sea of people, price-inflated “alternative” products and on a rainy day, mud

the second is a bit more to my taste, and that’s the area at the top of the site called the green fields. this has everything from solar powered cinemas like groovy movie, to crafts, examples of sustainable living, vegan food stalls and activist groups.

penny rimbaud from uk anarchist band crass once said that the old free (i.e. non-paying festivals) which have all but disappeared from the uk were examples of anarchist demonstrations. while the left organised marches, anarchists actually put into practice a whole experience based on mutual aid, co-operation and non-heirarchical structures. while the reality was often not as idyllic as the description, it is a good point.

in a war-ravaging ecocidal system like the one we have in operation on the planet today, spaces like the green fields at glastonbury are glimmers of other possiblities if only we could be arsed to make the effort.

i also reckon that on the festival scene in this country, u don’t just make friends, u make allies in a conspiracy of hope. bonding in a festival situation can be a very intense experience; it can release new possibilities in u that can be assimilated constructively back in the “real” world. so it’s not just all loud music and crazy drugs. i guess the one of the main differences between then and now is that these days the uk public have to pay well over the odds (£120 this year!) for the privilige of experiencing it at glastonbury.

finally, the third section of glastonbury festival is based around a rather bizzarre casino tent and it is called “lost vagueness.”

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