This was my third visit to the Glastonbury Music Festival. But in terms of mud quotient, it was definitely my first!
However, whilst everyone talked about the mud and the inclement weather that flooded the plains, I decided to stop grieving and embrace what Glastonbury is all about – the music, the spirit, the escapism, the colours, the community and the vibes.
Below are some of my highlights from this year’s visit.
Food in Glastonbury is as diverse as the music, with representation from all over the world. Alongside the standard festival fare such as pizzas, hot dogs and burgers, we also got to try some freshly cooked, delicious and (almost) authentic Caribbean, Indian, Vegan and Spanish food!
A new entrant for 2016, The Wood is situated opposite to the John Peel stage (third most significant stage after Pyramid and Other). Every night, this place had a bonfire where we would retreat after a full day’s worth of walking and gig-crawling. It was dark, mysterious, warm and cosy. People chatted and bonded for hours over lovely boxed red wine! We were tired but not quite ready to hit our tents for the night so this felt like a real retreat.
Husband called it the giant flaming spider! For 30 whole minutes, we were mesmerised by a spectacular display of sound, light, acrobatics , installation and theatre with huge flames thrown in for dramatic effect. Check out their YouTube videos here.
As a woman in a festival, perhaps one of the most challenging things were the daily and numerous visits to the toilets. I barred myself from drinking too much beer for the fear of having to use the loos. Thanks to WaterAid, the Shepee was a life saver. The only criticism I had was that I only found two in the entire festival site – one near the Pyramid Stage and the other near the Healing Fields. We need to construct more of these, Sir Michael Eavis!
A lot of our time was spent in the Healing Fields: getting massages, playing drums, yoga and Tai Chi sessions. The spiritual vibe in this area is like no other. Even if one does not want to attend any of the healing workshops, a couple of minutes spent in their beautifully curated gardens will relax and rejuvenate you.
We were quite intrigued by the Hare Krishna tent. They served the tastiest free lunches in the entire festival (convenient), but it was the devotional songs (Kirtan) in the background that added to the divine atmosphere.
The most unfortunate thing to happen while we were at Glastonbury. While the world outside got more divisive, the festival goers and the artists came together in solidarity, pledging for greater unity to overcome the negative impact of it all.
When I heard she was one of the headline acts for Glastonbury 2016, it was the best news ever. Adele played to a packed and emotional audience and the moment she sang ‘Rolling in the Deep’ will be forever etched in my mind.
Coldplay with Bee Gees and Sir Michael Eavis
Okay, so it’s three acts rolled into one. But as much as I loved watching Chris Martin croon Paradise, it was the Bee Gees and a live rendition of ‘Staying Alive’ with Barry Gibb that got me jumping up with joy! Sir Michael Eavis singing ‘My Way’ brought a tear to my eye and it was the perfect finale to a glorious festival.
I can’t wrap this up without mentioning the M-word. It was definitely omnipresent and a huge challenge, adding extra time negotiating between stages and general festival existence. Even on the days we could muster up enough strength and willpower to get from one point to another, it was sucking our wellies down! Guardian described it as the muddiest Glastonbury ever. Perhaps this was a strong reminder of the very ‘real’ impact of climate change.