The first day at Glastonbury has been beautifully warm and sunny, with the good weather putting everyone in an even better mood than usual.
My day began with the trip to Victoria coach station. I was very concious when I travelling by Tube that I was carrying a huge rucksack in the middle of rush hour. The train was very crowded, but hopefully I didn’t get in the way too much and managed to get through it without getting on people’s nerves too much.
When I got to the coach station, there was an incredibly long queue. Despite the tickets being sold for a specific journey time, they were simply getting everyone to queue up, loading everyone up on coaches and sending them off as quickly as possible. The queue extended out of the station and into a nearby street, where an enterprising fish and chip shop owner was handing out pens and notepads emblazoned with his eatery’s logo. All morning I had the thought in the back of my mind that I needed a pen, so was quite disappointed to be given a notepad. But, of course, you can’t really complain when it’s for free. Just behind me in the queue was a sweet, enthusiastic Japanese man. After around 20 minutes or so, he asked the group of lads behind if they were going to stay in a hotel. They told him, with slight bemusement, that they were camping. He then asked where they were going and, even more bewildered, they said Glastonbury. He replied that he was going to visit a castle. Fortunately they directed him to the information desk. I think he managed to get the right coach.
We soon got on the coach and I passed the time by reading Richard Herring’s new book, which I really enjoyed. The familiar vision of the festival site soon appeared in the distance, and in no time we arrived on the site. Everyone gathered around the coach to collect their belongings and eventually all the bags were taken. But mine wasn’t there. Panic! After about a minute (though it felt like hours) of contemplating the disappearance of my tent and my clothes, the driver appeared and opened up a small additional compartment, where my bag was hiding.
After getting my wristband put on and picking up my programme and guide, I headed towards the Park area to find the area where my friends are camping. I was told to look for a particular flag but couldn’t find it anywhere, endlessly walking around in the hot early-afternoon sun with the heavy bag on my back. Eventually I had to call for help, and was led to our camp, where I found a tiny spot to pitch my tent. I was surprised at how full the site was by 3 o’clock on the Wednesday, with good spots to camp already scarce and anyone arriving tomorrow will have a hard time finding a place to camp.
I suppose the reason the site got so full so quickly was because of the football, which I missed because of my search for our camp. I managed to keep up with events, mainly through the cheers which rippled their way across the site. I’ve heard from people who went to watch the match that it was an amazing scene in front of the Pyramid stage and I’m looking forward to England v Germany on Sunday. I have good memories of watching an England match here in 1998, hopefully this weekend’s match will be just as good.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the site, going from one group of friends to another. Two of them had puppets of Sooty and Soo and were showing the to children (who were confused) and adults (who were delighted). I had my first strawberry pear cider of the week and decided to go for the Square Pie for dinner, not being able to be as adventurous as a friend who had a crocodile burger.
Glastonbury is so much nicer when it’s sunny, with grass on the ground instead of mud. I think this, perhaps coupled with the England victory, has contributed to the great mood around the festival today.
Tonight, we all sat around the campfire for a bit, some of the group going to the Stone Circle while the rest of us stayed here. This is the first time since I was 17 that I’ve gone to a festival by myself and, although I’m camping with friends and will spend time with them, I can see and do what I want without having to consult anyone else. I do already really miss having someone close to share the festival with, but I intend to embrace my independance and make the most of this opportunity to go where I want without having to worry about anyone else.
Tomorrow, Thursday, for me is always associated with drinking tremendous amounts of cider in front of the Jazzword stage (which has been renamed West Holts), but hopefully I’ll be able to blog again tomorrow.