Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Glastonbury 2013: the diary of a festival-goer





Glastonbury Festival – that promised land of escapism, experience and hedonistic partying. There are stories of mud baths, near-misses in the long drops and bumping into Kate Moss, her slender legs rattling around inside a pair of Hunter wellies. But, is that really what we get up to? Do we all don floaty hippy dresses, flower headbands and the 'latest colour' in designer welly? Well, yes, some of us do. A friend of mine even came across Kate in Shangri La. This is how my fourth year at Glastonbury looked and felt.


EXTRACT: the diary of a festival-goer, 27th June 2013

This morning (Thursday) I slipped away for an adventure around the festival. The ground is dusty and well-trodden; people are filing in from every corner of the farm to pitch their tents and home for the next five days. I devour smells of bacon frying and witness numerous cafes and bars selling anything from eggy bread to granola topped with organic honey, and natural smoothies containing your choice of fruit. As I walk on stewards smile and a stranger compliments the way I am wearing my skirt. All is well this day. The finishing touches are being added to the circus tent and bars are opening to the early-starters. But alas, this romanticised wandering has to be cut short for a less-than-brief spell at the charging tent. 

"Ten years ago, who would have predicted that people would queue for hours just to charge their phones." – festival-goer

When I hear a man behind me in the queue say that, it strikes a chord with me. I have weakly submitted to joining one of those queues. I find it an absurd notion that I am relying on my phone, but find myself to be a hypocrite by necessity. 

Yes, I may be 'plugged in', but so are 100,000+ of my fellow festival-goers. I feel this year Glastonbury is promoting instant sharing more than ever before through apps and social sharing. Glastonbury is 'the UK's first 4G-powered festival'; The official Glastonbury App is advertised everywhere and we revellers are encouraged to share our up-to-the-minute experiences on GuardianWitness. And, of course, we must tweet, send Snapchats and create Vines with the hashtag #iwasthere.

Whilst I am trying to keep my head in clouds of music and other substances Glastonbury is famed for, I am finding it increasingly trapped in digital and virtual modes of communication. Is the spirit of Glastonbury being eroded, one gigabyte at a time? Is a hedonist a hedonist when they have paused to send a tweet? Surely not.

With more and more artists reacting against the filming of their performances – Alt-J's Guy Unger-Hamilton recently spoke up against it, and conductor Kristian Zimerman paused his own concert to react to somebody filming it on their phone – it seems that some of us are getting tired of this. Yes, I am charging my phone now – that is to actually find the friends I want to share my glastonbury with – and I may have made a Vine or two, but I actually ended up watching my favourite bands (rather than watching my phone shakily filming them). People are forgetting to live an experience. In an effort to 'preserve' a memory, they never actually fully form one – their heads are always elsewhere, concentrating on buttons or which filter to put over their latest Instagram.

Perhaps it is time we put our phones away, leave our photos unshared and just enjoy what is going on in front of us; what is real.

Having mused on this for several minutes, I blink at the sun and carry on chatting away about the bands I am looking forward to seeing the most and about what adventures we will have in Shangri La. Besides, I am no stranger to Instagram and Twitter, and went on to have far too much fun to worry which modes of communication went with my activities.

When my phone has some energy (after a seventy minute stint!) I make an old-fashioned phone call and arrange a meet.

The rain sets in and I find my lovely friend Polly beside the Greenpeace climbing wall. We head with her Mum and Dad over to one of my favourite Glastonbury haunts – The Lost Picture Show. Inside a modest tent, we sip 'the best margaritas at Glastonbury' bathed in a red velvet decor and low light from ornate chandeliers. The perfect atmosphere. Over-head an ancient Spanish movie rattles from a projector. Bliss.


After this there was, of course, the  MUSIC (watch this space for brief reviews of the bands I saw). And enough raving, revelling, and relaxing around the mellow campfires of the stone circle to make it probably my best Glastonbury yet.

Here is what it looked like. (All snaps taken with a Pentax K1000 SLR)

Peace out x

The Green Fields | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Organic | Photo: Rosie Pentreath
The Park | Photo: Rosie Pentreath
In search of the perfect accessory | Photo: Rosie Pentreath 
The Cabaret tent | Photo: Rosie Pentreath
Unfairground | Photo: Rosie Pentreath 
Unfairground | Photo: Rosie Pentreath
Eavis rules | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Vintage | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Kerouac-style larks | Photo: Rosie Pentreath 

Arcadia – invasion | Photo: Rosie Pentreath


The Park | Photo: Rosie Pentreath
Silent Disco at sun rise. Third from left, I wear: t-shirt, Urban outfitters; leggings, Dorothy Perkins; Wellies, Hunter | Photo: Ryan Mahon
Glastonbury flags | Photo: Rosie Pentreath 
The dance fields | Photo: Rosie Pentreath





Daughter, The John Peel Stage | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

The dance fields | Photo: Rosie Pentreath










Laura Mvula, The Pyramid Stage | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Hazy day | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Left, I wear: cardigan, Urban Outfitters | Photo: Ryan Mahon






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