This year’s Glastonbury was a very different experience from my past three years of going, for many reasons, not just the mud. I usually work for a site sevices company, working outside the main site, and leave my work exactly where it is, as soon as I finish. I have never been part of a project in the centre of Glastonbury, and seen the evolution of it over the course of months, from my home in Brighton, and never had a vested interest in the smooth running of the festival, apart from to have fun.
Since I started vounteering with the BMA in November last year, Glastonbury has been on my mind: planning, organising, creating and exploring ideas for our area and recruiting our 80-strong litterpicking team. This has made me realise exactly how much effort goes into creating a fun and relaxed, exciting and crazy, creative and LOUD festival for people to enjoy. All this, just for a few days.
This year was strange to me because I had a role that I couldn’t just leave behind when I finished my shift, because I actually cared about the outcome: I cared thatour scupltures would look beautiful when they were eventually finished, I cared that our litterpickers knew about Bhopal and finished their shifts (because GF would then make a donation to our charity) and I care about Bhopal: the ongoing fight for justice.
Arriving at Glasto on the Sunday before the festival started, I felt exhausted by…Monday, after putting up about a million tents and lugging box after box of stuff from the car park toour campsite, but I kept getting these little energising boosts throughout the week that kept me going.
It was awesome to ride in the back of a van to collect stuff, it felt a bit like being in India actually, bumpy journeys, chaos all around, people shouting and generally getting in your way and us getting in theirs. But I liked it, I got a sense of being rather important for some reason, dunno why, I was just in the back of a van.
I liked chatting to people who’d never heard of Bhopal before, and showing people how to make the parts for the sculptures. I liked getting to know our Bhopal team better, and drinking elderflower champagne at the end of the day. I love that Lee Scratch Perry is the proud owner of a Bhopal t-shirt, perhaps unwittingly, he accepted the gift with an almost regal shake of the hand, and I love that our area looked the best place to be at the end. I didn’t like the wind or the rain or especially the mud (I lost count of how many times I fell over).
Overall though, the energy we created in our sculpture garden and the time we put in paid off – I had a wicked time and I think that our efforts did something to create more awareness about Bhopal, which I am proud of. I’m looking forward to 2013 – and to an even better Glastonbury – with much less mud!