Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Off to Glasto - but no longer as a 'virgin'

This first appeared in the Bath Chronicle on Thursday, June 23 - the day before Glastonbury.

This weekend I am off again to indulge in Somerset's biggest annaul party - the Glastonbury Festival.

I say 'again' because this will be my third annual trek which means I can now, thankfully, shake off the much sneered at 'Glasto virgin' tag while not yet, sadly, being able to join the league of those oh-so-cocky 'Glasto veterans'.

However, ex-virgin as I may be, from the feedback I received from writing about my pre-Glastonbury fears over the past couple of years I know there is likely to be the odd first-timer reading this now.

They will be looking for reassurance that they have made the right decision to risk life, limb and dodgy toilets for the sake of a bit of music played out in a farmyard.

Well, if that is you and you are looking forlornly at your camping gear and constantly checking the dreary weather forecast, then can I just say, 'relax'.

You are about to have a ball.

A muddy ball perhaps - but a ball nevertheless.

However, I still do know where those fears are coming from.

I remember as a camping first-timer - let alone a Glasto one - sharing my anxieties a few days before my first Glastonbury two years ago. I was convinced that I was the wrong age (40something) and, well, the wrong type of person (don't ask) to lie around in a field of mud no matter how much I was tempted by the music.

But, lo and behold, on my first visit I soon realised Glasto's greatest asset - it's total freedom. This means there is simply no such thing as a 'wrong' person for this party. And that is because:

  • It is impossible to be too old.

  • It is impossible to be too young.

  • It is impossible to wear the wrong thing.

  • No one cares a fig what you look like, where you are from or what you do.

  • No one cares a fig for anything other than having a good time.

  • The toilets are excellent.

And only one of those is a lie.

Of course, for all of us going down the no doubt jammed roads towards Pilton it is the music which is the greatest magnet of all and the festival has really pulled out the stops this year to get some top-class performers on the bill.

But, and I can't stress this enough, what will make the trip for so many of us is that Glastonbury is about so much more than what comes out of those speakers. Someone once told me you could enjoy Glastonbury without even seeing a band - I would not have believed it before but I do now because this is a multi-faceted event which provides a unique bonding experience for virgins, veterans, et al.

Oh, and if you are a first-timer and you are really worried about those legendary Glastonbury toilets, then bear this in mind. If you don't like one loo then there are no fewer than 3,224 others to try. Fear not.

So, on with the wellies.

And on with the show.

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