Wednesday, 29 June 2011

GLASTONBURY 2011 review

Worthy Farm was the setting yet again for the UK's (if not Europe's) largest summer gathering. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts was again a massive mix of contemporary music, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts spread over many fields with different themes. Stages, large and small, spread across the valley supplied something for everyone of the 135,000 guests.

Stall holders generally arrive to Worthy Farm on the Sunday or Monday prior to the festival. This means a whole week of wondering what weather the next day will bring. It is fair to say that the weather for the most part was fairly wet and miserable followed by a Sunday of beautiful sunshine.

This year Sorazora had the great pleasure of joining the Green Fields and being surrounded by beautiful people with a great interest in the environment and also traditional crafts.
Starting in the 1970's, Glastonbury was heavily influenced by hippie ethics and the free festival movement. Michael Eavis (pictured above) has retained these early roots with the Green Fields area which now includes Green Futures, Green Crafts and the Healing Field.

I did see one tent thrown to the side of a muddy track near a large stage. I guess someone didn't notice the signs all around the festival's stage areas.

An added delight for me was the opportunity to join a free green woodworking workshop. Unseasoned wood is soft and easy to work with, all I had to master was a draw knife and shaving horse. The workshop was brought to the Green Crafts area by Guy Mallinson who is the director of woodland workshops in West Dorset. The coracle pictured above is just one of the many craft courses available at Higher Holditch Farm. View their website for full details of all their courses. The cooking spatula from my Glastonbury workshop is already being put to good use.

Block 9 and Avalon where areas that impressed me greatly. The effort that went into the decor of the bars and clubs was something you would expect to find on the set of a science fiction or disaster movie. I did not get to see these areas at night, but chose to have a wander through the mud at a far less busy time of day.

I guess with a larger attendance than any other festival to my knowledge, there is bound to be an element of clearing up after the event. With Glastonbury's own motto of "Love The Farm. Leave No Trace" it is quite clear that environmental issues are far from the forefront of most festies' minds!

The festival will not be held in 2012, giving the fields (and organisers) a fallow year. Michael Eavis cited the shortage and likely cost of portable toilets, due to the 2012 Summer Olympics, as being amongst the reasons. Also Avon and Somerset police usually deploy around 600 officers at Glastonbury, but they will be instead used to beef up security in London.

We would like to thank all those involved in the festival and we are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to join the Green Fields this year. We look forward to 2013.