We’ve just had the summer solstice, so it must be time for the Glastonbury Festival!
It’s always been seen as ‘the big one’ to go to as far as music festivals are concerned and in 1990, when I was very young and a lot less cynical I went along and had a jolly good time. Actually, it was 1990 so to be precise I was ‘Mad For It’! Everyone was ‘Mad’ for everything in the early 1990s so it was brilliant to see the Happy Mondays headlining the Pyramid Stage, awesome (although to start with we did all wonder if the roadies had been on the glue and taken to the stage – let’s just say they took a while to get going)!
I wish I could remember more about the music, but all that really sticks in my mind is the mud (oh, so much mud), the crowds (70,000 vegan Hawkwind fans can get surprisingly boisterous) and some frankly bizarre human behaviour (who brings a horse to a music festival?). Thinking about it now though, the music was only a small part of it, the Glastonbury Festival is more than the sum of its parts – it never really leaves you once you’ve been.
You can see what it was like on this great website – can’t believe how ancient the photos look!
I was still a teenager in 1990 which was ideal as I was still very much enamoured with anything tie-dyed; awe-struck by seeing famous people, and didn’t mind going without sleep for a whole weekend. Glastonbury opened my suburban eyes to the tribal nature of society – it was a bit like being an Iron Age person for a few days. You get used to the smelliness quite quickly!
Nothing though ever quite prepares you for THE TOILETS FROM HELL. All those vegiburgers, magic mushrooms and rough ciders had to go somewhere – this is where they went. If all the toilets in the world were like this then society’s obesity problem would be solved overnight, as people would (as I did) avoid all food and drink (apart from vodka) to curb any sort of bodily function.
Apparently 1990 was a big turning point for the Glastonbury Festival – it was the last year it was seen as a Traveller’s Festival, the last year of it raising money for CND and of course it was the last year of Thatcherism. There was truly something to rage against in 1990, a reason to come together, something to be ‘Mad for’.
Nowadays the whole thing is televised (thank you BBC), also a bit more business-like and ‘trendy’. It does mean though that I get a sofa, indoor plumbing and the ability to fast-forward through the bits I’m not so keen on. Very convenient, but it’s no 1990.
This is me looking ‘Mad for it’ in 1990 – just look at that hair…!