Fields of Magic
Glastonbury Festival is the most magical place on this earth. It is full of free spirit, good energy and some serious pinch-me moments
This was my third time at the festival and each time I have been, my experience has been totally different. But one thing that is always the same, is that when I leave, I feel totally liberated and full of life!
I can't explain why it has such a profound impact on people but it steals the hearts of those who attend and life is never the same afterwards.
My experience Volunteering for Shelter
In October 2019, when the tickets went on sale, my usual group of Glasto friends tried to get tickets but sadly we all missed out. As I hadn't been for a couple of years due to having Indie, I really wanted to make sure I could go. I started searching for ways that I could volunteer to get a ticket into the festival.
I just couldn't face being part of the Loo Crew with WaterAid and Stewarding with Oxfam wasn't overly appealing.
When I came across Shelter and realised that they partner with Avalon Bars & Events, I knew it would be the perfect option for me.
Working 3 shifts in a bar, in the thick of the fun in the festival, in exchange for a ticket, hot showers and free meals. It was right up my street! So I applied, and I got a space.
Then lockdown hit us in 2020 and the festival was cancelled, so Shelter promised me that they would allow me to keep my space until the festival took place again.
I have to say, it really was a great way to enter the festival and I will 100% consider doing it again if I don't manage to get a ticket in October.
You have to do 3 shifts in one of their 10 bars around the festival. You work in the same bar, with the same people on your shift. The rest of the time you are free to enjoy yourself. The campsite is at Orchard Gate, situated behind the Theatre & Circus field and the South East Corner. There were hot showers and a catering tent with tea, coffee, meals and cold booze! We got there by coach which took us right around to our campsite, meaning NO lugging our luggage - Woohoo! I paid £300 in February as a 'deposit' and will get this back as I completed all 3 shifts, and will be offered a space again next year.
3 things I learnt whilst at Glastonbury...
1. We rely way too much on technology
My first shift in the bar on Thursday was interesting. With no official training, we opened at 11am and straight away I was serving customers. It was all fun and games until the card machines went down and it kept declining cards. All of the card machines in the festival were powered by the same network, which was really put to the test when everyone arrived. As you can imagine, people weren't very happy about it.
I served a lady, who was quite drunk at this point and she was really upset about it. She said to me that they thought 'it was ridiculous in this day and age, that we can't take card!'
I had a little chuckle to myself and in my head replied, 'I think it's ridiculous how you're so irate about it when 2 weeks before the festival, cows were grazing on the land you're standing on'. We were in the middle of a field, in Somerset...
I have to say that the whole time, EE never let me down! I had signal all week on my phone and only a few times did it take a while for my WhatsApp messages to come through. I definitely needed my phone to be able to meet up with friends, my experience wouldn't have been the same without it! We were lucky enough to be able to charge our phones during our shifts, so I never ran out of battery either.
2. Workers are treated as VIPs (Well...kind of)
There were some really great perks working at the festival. We were given free meal vouchers to use in our mess tent, meaning a hot breakfast every day, along with cheap, cold cans of cider too. We had hot showers and toilets on site which was a serious luxury. Entering the festival at Ped Gate C, they just scanned us in, with no queue whatsoever and they didn't search our bags after the first day.
We could use the toilets behind the bars we ran, meaning no queues and they were the 'luxury' compost toilets (you will class these as luxury in comparison to the long drops!). We managed to wangle free drinks at the bars too, although this wasn't part of the deal of course but it's not what you know, it's who you know...
It was the closest I'd ever felt to a VIP
3. Life has a funny way of bringing people together at the right moment
As soon as I stepped on the coach, I sat next to people also travelling by themselves. We got chatting instantly and then to those sat in the row behind us. When we arrived at the gates at Glastonbury, we had to wait to be escorted by security around to our campsite. This took ages! After about an hour, the driver came back on the coach to say that we all had to get off and move onto the coach next to us because he had to get back to Bristol to bring more volunteers into the festival. It was complete chaos but absolutely hilarious having 2 coach loads of people and luggage thrown together into 1, it was no wonder we found ourselves connecting to even more people on that coach too.
At our campsite, we formed a circle of tents and went on our merry way into the festival, a day before it officially opened, in search for a cold cider at a crew bar.
What I didn't know at the time, was just how much love I would have for these people. We were from all walks of life, with different jobs, different backgrounds and all different age groups. We called ourselves the 'Merry Band of Misfits' and are already planning our reunion later this year.
Fate brought us all together, making memories that will last forever
I couldn't quite believe it but Tom & Dougie from McFly were in my bar, an hour before their set! I was completely starstruck! They were both a lot shorter than I thought they'd be. A couple of friends of mine went to see them at the Field of Avalon on the Sunday afternoon, it was so weird to say that I had been about 3 metres away from them...
So if you're thinking you'd like to go to Glastonbury Festival, I would 100% recommend it. If you fail to get a ticket, then definitely consider volunteering. You never know who you might meet, the experience will change you forever and you will 100% want to go every single year after that!
Lastly I want to share with you, the most euphoric moment of my life.
Bicep @ the West Holts stage on Sunday night.
You can watch my video here;