Hello and welcome to the Glasto.biz Glastonbury Festival Experience. No. 5
Wow, 5th year running for myself and yet another completely different experience from other years.
This time our experience starts only 2 months after the festival in 2008.
News comes in during August that tickets might be on sale much earlier than previous years. More details would follow in September.
And yep, September comes and registration opens. The plan, tickets would go on sale Sunday 5th of October (flipping heck, that really is alot earlier!) and priced at £175 (ouch!) but there is more….for the first time you are able to pay a £50 deposit for your ticket, the balance of which (£125) must be paid in 1 transaction by February 1st 2009 23:59pm.
This is fantastic news for lots of people wanting to spread the cost of the festival out.
There are questions about what happens if you don’t pay and answers seem to come very easily for once. Anyone who cancels their ticket or does not pay the balance will get a refund, minus a £10 admin fee.
The additional good news (some won’t see it at that though) is that this money is sat in a bank account earning interest and therefore not pushing the cost of tickets up even further.
People question why the price increase is so much compared with only a £5 increase the year before.
The reasons given, the 2008 festival made a loss, mainly due to fuel prices going up by so much (what wasn’t mentioned was the fact the tickets failed to sell out until the last moment possible, money was not in the bank earning whatever interest it could).
There’s even more news about sales though, you can now book upto 6 tickets in a transaction (either by phone or web) and if you want to buy more, you will not be kicked out of the system, you can just start again (good for phone orders, 6, then another 6, and again…….web…..something never goes quite right, will it work this time?)
Plus even more news, only 100,000 tickets will be available, the rest will be released in April as normal (although this later changes to all tickets will be available).
Ticket day comes and the system seems to open early!
9am was supposed to be the start time, but tickets went on sale at 8am…..(who didn’t check the server clock against BST – LOL!!!).
So, I have my tickets sorted by 8.40 (having had phone calls and emails to wake me up – eek) and start work on helping others get their tickets.
8.50 and the system is on overload, I don’t see another confirmation screen until gone 11am, sales seem to be back to normal (I say normal, look at 2004, 05, 07).
But alas, maybe not, tickets are available late into the evening, and the following day (Eavis claims 70,000 tickets sold on T-day). A week later, tickets still available, and a month, and 2 months, and 3 months………..and then the end of January nears.
Tickets are removed from sale a few days before the February 1st deposit deadline, this is so the payment system is dedicated to balance payment.
12pm February 2nd and all tickets are back on sale, this amount is what was left over before the shutdown and any that have been reclaimed from the deposit scheme, and apparently, 4 hours later, tickets are all sold out.
T-day number 2 comes around Sunday April 5th and the festival apparently sells out again from whatever cancellations they’ve had, only for See’s website to offer tickets on sale again 2 weeks later and well into May as well.
May 8th comes and this is the cut off point for cancellations, a week or so earlier than previously, but then something even more interesting happens.
Tickets start to be dispatched on the Monday after the 8th, this is really early. Some say it’s due to international tickets being posted out, others just see it as good news, either way having tickets arrive earlier is a wonderfull relief to most when in the past they might not of even arrived the day before the festival is due to start in full.
Cor, that was one hell of an intro (mainly cos I started it in October and kept adding bits)….now to the festival itself.
My Wednesday starts on Tuesday night tbh, I pick up my friend from North London (she has the tickets) and come back to my place, transfer both our stuff into another car that I have borrowed for the festival as it is bigger.
Then, I travel to Heathrow to pick up 2 other people from a far off land. Here’s is where the issues start, not with the people from the far off land but what has happened to them in the run up to the festival.
So, it was very true that the early dispatch of tickets was due to the internationals being posted out. This causes a major problem and loads of tickets are not reaching their destination abroad (I do know why, but I won’t go into detail as…anyway) and my friends tickets are one of the ones that don’t arrive.
See have a marvelous plan that for those people that have not got their tickets, they can be collected from a box office at Gate A from 8am on the Weds………that’s wonderful, if coming from the north or south west!! It’s complete crap for those coming from anywhere else where they are directed to the east car parks.
So…having picked up my friends on their 10.10pm flight, get home around midnight and transfer their stuff into other car, swap cars completely and leave mine parked else where, it’s now 1am and for me to drop my friends off at Gate A and get back to the east car parks easily (so I can return my friends to heathrow easily in time for their flight home) we need to leave at 3.45am, so I’m creamed before the festival starts and my friends have a lovely sleep on the way
However plans change, I’m too awake after the drive back from Heathrow, so we leave at 1am and drive 2 thirds of the way. Set off again at 5am and we get to site at 6.30am, dropped off the people from the far off land, we parked up on the road and wait to drive in.
7.15am and we’re apparently in the wrong place, everyone is, but not everyone is told, so we move round to the west car parks (so I wasn’t in the wrong place…anyway) and drive straight into the car park.
Fantastic, in the first car park by gate A, load up the trolleys, through the gates and wrist bands on by 9am (much better than last year). Over to Kidney Mead and 7 tents set up by 10.45. Time for a beer.
Quick trip round the markets, yet another new pair of sunglasses for me, then back to the tent and a sleep (I fell asleep at 6pm in my chair in my tent door way, apparently it looked like I was awake as my head didn’t drop and I had my sun glasses on). 8pm comes, time for some food, new flag and then chilling at the tent before bed.
Thursday starts late after a fantastic sleep.
Wander off for some breakfast and then up to the Stone Circle. I haven’t been up here since 2007 I think (maybe even 2005), it so peaceful and a wonderful view of the site.
Back down to JazzWorld for the Twitterbury meet, 45 min queue at Brothers bar for what was supposed to be 6 pints, but they ran out of cup holders so I got 3 instead (they really need to open up to 4 stall sizes (having gone upto 2 a couple of years back) as it really was rather silly waiting).
It was so packed I couldn’t find anyone from twitterburry.
I wanted to see someone in The Snug instead of Maximo Park, tried to go past Queen’s head, but was sent passed the circus field, security wouldn’t let me down the road saying there was a one way system in place, and wouldn’t listen to reason, if I followed the one way system, I wouldn’t get there due to the amount of people at queen’s head and they’ve blocked the area off. So slightly pissed off, back to the tent for a bit.
Was that the first drops of rain?
Unfortunately it was, but it was a short lived shower, but a short while later a Thunderstorm was spotted over the hills and a sign of what was to come.
Back to JazzWorld for various meets again, and it was lovely, for a time, but the next Thunderstorm hit, and it hit heavy. Completely unprepared due to the heat, I got soaked, but it was a rather good storm.
Back to the tent for a change of top, but this is where I stayed for the rest of the night and chilled out with a fire, I catch up with someone offsite who says there is a HUGE Thunderstorm on the way from France, be prepared for something bigger than 2005 – Eeek.
Checking Twitter…..something huge seems to of gone down in the outside world…is it true?
My boss calls me and tells me the same information (and then I get it on the net too), so it really is.
Michael Jackson has died. Rest of our camp site seem to think I’m taking the piss for a bit, but then realise it’s true and the moment passes after a couple of mins talking about him.
Twitter feeds say that Glastonbury Goers are in shock, but I think it’s more shock that yet again it is raining.
And within hours, t-shirts about it are available too.
Friday starts the same way as Thursday ends, with rain, but it’s light showers, the big Thunderstorm due to hit misses the site and it’s not too bad underfoot, but def wellies required.
Wander off for breakfast and then just wandering and catching bits of bands, The Whip, Regina Spektor, someone on the bandstand and the Hot 8 Brass Band.
More Brothers cider ensues with a far more manageable queue (5 mins tops, but mainly straight in) then off to catch Little Boots on the John Peel Stage.
She is one of the most amazing artists I have ever heard and I am so glad to have been able to hear her tracks as they were intended, the bass throughout most is awsome! Thankyou Little Boots for putting on a fantastic show.
Back to the tent and catch some of The Specials, their not bad, but reports are that the sound is crap.
Some food quickly and then back to Pyramid field for Neil Young.
Unfortunately, not impressed really and head back to tent for night (with lovely wam fire until 2am) after 40 mins.
Listening to the end of his set before encore, he really did milk the end of “Rocking in the free World” a bit too much (was it 5 or 6 times he ended the song).
Smoke covers the site completely (couldn’t see very far at all) as festival goers head back to tents, but the night is young too and music can be heard from a number of venues well into the seriously early hours of the morning
Saturday starts (and ends) very bright. It’s hot and the ground is dry and suncream is needed.
Our entire camp sets off at 12 (after hearing some of VV Brown from out little tent city) towards the JazzWorld to catch Rolf Harris, when we get there, people are spilling into the pathway towards the Stone Circle and back towards The Other Stage and into Bella’s field too as it is so, so packed out, quite how we managed to find a spot for all of us I’m not sure, but we did.
Rolf was fantastic, he’s not a bad rapper either.
After Rolf, I head back to the Pyramid field to check out Spinal Tap (had to be done). I thought they were rather good, Stonehenge was certainly a sight to behold.
Next is a first for me, I go to the Guardian Lounge. It’s a rather cute little venue with a few chairs to slouch in. “Why am I in here?” I think while the band that are currently on stage are playing (they seem like some kind of emo misfits (not quite emo, but not sure what they are)), but I’m not here for them anyway, I’m here for….Little Boots again!! (am I a stalker¿).
She plays wonderfully including a couple of covers, but it’s over way too soon and it’s time to move onto something else.
Head back to the tent to catch up with everyone else, most of my friends head off to Kasabian (and Bruce Springsteen after) while I slip off to watch Pendulum (and then 2manydjs).
Pendulum smash it and fill The Other Stage field (how are Franz Ferdinand going to live upto this) but I have concerns that the bass is lacking (what will happen with The Prodigy tomorrow?).
Wander over towards the Dance Village to catch 2manydjs but the tent is so packed I can’t get near it (I can hear bass (plus the bass from 3 other venues) but nothing more), so I go back to my tent slightly deflated (I was well up for a rave) and listen to The Boss from there with a couple of others from our camp.
I wait for my friend to come back from The Boss as we plan on going to Trash City tonight, however shortly after she gets back, our other friends arrive too saying that they had just been there and couldn’t get in, security were turning people away as over crowded, so we chill out by the fire again and just soak it up.
Is it really Sunday already? Wake up fairly early today and feel rather hungry, so off for brekie.
There’s not alot on today that I really want to see, so it’s a relaxing day, stay at the tent for Tony Christie and then wander down into the Pyramid field during Amadou et Mariam. We’re not here to see them though, we’re here for Tom Jones, who plays all his hit, plus more and gets the crowd going in a great load of sing along stuff.
After Tom, we wander away to get a drink (and some food) before Madness. As we wander back, we have to move further and further up The Pyramid field to find a spot to watch…..keep moving….keep moving. Next thing we know we’re on the path at the top of the field, this is seriously seriously packed. We find a spot in the tent line just above the field and watch from there, fantastic set and I’m glad I stayed for it (had thought about going back to the tent).
We wander off again to get some more food, some more Brothers and then onto The Other Stage for Glasvegas and The Prodigy.
Glasvegas are so depressing!
The Prodigy came on and we’re wedged in, again it’s packed out and that’s before they come on stage.
Once on stage the crowd go wild, but within minutes there are shouts to turn it up, vocals can’t be heard, synths are hard to hear and generally just too quiet.
The Bass volume goes up, which although wonderful, doesn’t really help in the grand scheme of things.
They exit the stage after 40 mins and then come back on for what I thought was gonna be a long encore (nearly an hour).
But after 35 mins they end their set with Out of Space and end it with the crowd singing the words, before saying thankyou and walking off.
The crowd bust into enormous cheers of BOOOO wanting them to come back and play for the extra 15 mins that they can, but nope, the stage crews are on and start pulling everything down – such a shame, they really could of done more, the crowd wanted it (and wanted to hear it properly too. Mind you having said that, it appears the vocals on the BBC recordings are also quiet…so who knows what was going on there.)
So, it’s back to the tent again, not even gonna try Trash City with what appears to be just about everyone heading on that direction, and having been there last year and not being able to move because it was too packed out, I thought, what’s the point?
Our last fire as a camp and it’s wonderful, people start to fall to bed, but I’m ever going on the beer with a couple of others.
Suddenly the wind changes direction and seriously picks up. Rather odd I thought, but this is Glastonbury.
Spots of rain start to fall, but they had a several times of the day (it was very hot so I’m not surprised) and thought nothing of it. However, as it’s so late, I moved under our tarp cover and it’s lucky I did because moments later, huge flash of light, rolling thunder and heavy rain start yet again.
Does the festival really have to end like this?
So, tent packed, wellies on, it’s back to the car. Camp sites are coming down across the site and generally people seem to be clearing up after themselves (although looking at the webcam on the tuesday after, it seems that still loads of rubbish is left everywhere).
It’s hard work getting across site with all the mud and the trolleys, but eventually make it back to the car.
After a 45 min queue, we manage to get out the car park and start making the return journey to Heathrow.
It’s sad to be leaving the site for another year, but we all plan on being back next year for the 40th Anniversary of the festival – it looks set to be a corker!
Finally after 10 hours driving, I make it home, and fall into bed after eating a couple of slices of pizza.
Roll on 2010!!!
Hope you had as much fun as I did.