Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Glastonbury was muddy marvellous

Whenever anyone goes on holiday - even if it is to the most culturally exciting place - the first question most people are asked on their return is: "so what was the weather like?"

You may have just seen all the Seven Wonders of the World but to some of your friends and colleagues this will matter far less than the deepness of your tan.

And so it is with Glastonbury.

It may be the world's biggest music festival and it may create a city built on sound for a whole weekend but for many people who go , it is the weather conditions - and most particularly that mud - that people really want to talk to them about afterwards.

And yes I also want to talk here about those weather conditions. And that is because I think the extremes that I saw at the weekend spoke volumes about Glastonbury - but also volumes about Britain as a whole.

And all of it good.

Those playfully extreme conditions meant that on Friday we were virtually sinking into the muddy mire but by Sunday it was a case of how could we avoid getting burnt to a crisp.

The best thing of all from that perspective is that it meant all the stall holders selling their wares at the event benefited - Mr Wellie man was in his element on Friday and much of Saturday but by Sunday Mr Sunglasses and Miss Sun Cream had smiles on their faces too as the conditions changed more dramatically than the music on the ever eclectic stages.

Having only been to Glastonbury twice, I had never experienced the serious mud before and I had privately thought it was all a bit exaggerated. It is not. It felt at times as though you were walking through quicksand and for every one solid(ish) step forward, there were two or three where you risked life, limb and wellie by plunging your foot on to a potentially watery grave.

And yet, despite the fact that this was all hard work, nobody moaned. We may all have been wet, muddy and a bit miserable at times, but the general spirit and almost gallows humour was a joy to behold. In true Glastonbury (and British) style the feeling was we had come here to party - we were all-in-it-together and we might as well just enjoy it.

It was quite inspiring to see.

And that all-in-it-together concept really was true. I was lucky enough to spend some time around the hospitality area but Glastonbury doesn't pander to anyone and I guarantee the mud in and around that area was as thick and as unappetising as anywhere else. I expect you would have to be Bono or Beyonce to have avoided all this - for 200,000 of the rest of us it was a genuine communal experience.

By the time the sun finally did emerge - and its first appearance on Saturday was greeted with roars, most of the bands would have been happy with - it felt as though a collective cloud had literally been lifted off us and from then on it was just fun in the sun.

So, yes it was all a big mud bath and it did rain far too much.

But it was still muddy marvellous.

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