1pm? It's Tequila time!

Summer weather is something that can never be replied upon - as evidenced by many of the summer festivals from last year that suffered from tempestuous conditions. Glastonbury was struck down with some bad weather, so WOMAD later in late July, but Glade Festival had some of the worse conditions of the summer. Two months rainfall in just a few hours meant that the opening acts had to wait as the stages had power problems. The emergency services were stopping people from coming to the festival as Aldermaston was under four foot of water, and potential festival goers were floating down the road refusing to leave their cars. A year has passed, and fingers were kept crossed for some fine weather for the weekend of July 17-20 - hopefully it would prove to be a return to some of the sunstroke weekends of Glades in the past.

One thing stood on our side though and that was knowing that we would be working inside as we were to be working behind the bar at the Origin Stage for Friday and Saturday afternoon. Amy and I were really looking forward to working for Peppermint Bars and the weather forecast was looking pretty good so all in all I was expecting a great festival. We had forgotten a map to the site but we knew the way, just about, but trying to find out where to sign in was a little more difficult. After going to gate one, we were then directed to gate two. We parked and queued to get our staff wristbands only to be told to go back over to gate one, where, eventually we got our bright red and yellow passes. They had to choose colours that clashed with my hair!

Finally arriving we spent a nice evening having a few beers with some of Amy's old friends, Paul and Slap, meeting new ones and generally getting our heads around the new layout to the site. The festival hadn't sold out, and in order to keep to budget some of the smaller tents had been merged with the larger ones to save money, not a bad idea really and it definitely worked. It was noticeably quieter on the Thursday than in previous years, though I had a feeling that this wouldn't be a bad thing as it would help to make the atmosphere a little more intimate, and I was looking forward to a good few days. We spent a rather sedate evening for a Thursday at Glade just having a few drinks before catching an early night in preparation for our first shift behind the bar the following day.

Although the idea of working at a festival might seem like an easy way to get a free ticket and being able to watch plenty of bands perform, it doesn't always work out so easy. Working for Oxfam can often mean being placed out near a car park a long way from being able to hear any music whatsoever. However, working for Peppermint Bars would bring some welcome comfort to that particular lottery, we knew exactly where we would be working, and that we'd be able to see plenty of Dj's play throughout Friday and Saturday afternoon at the Origin Stage. This is the outdoor psytrance stage with a brilliant sound system provided by Funktion One. They tested the speakers each morning by playing a recording of Formula One cars racing by and it was amusing each day to see people walking by the stage to be suddenly startled by the roar of a race car streaming from one corner of the dance floor to the other. We were going to be fortunate enough to be positioned with a great view looking back over the dance floor towards the Origin Stage enabling us to enjoy watching everyone dancing as soon as the music would begin. The Origin Stage is always packed, every year no matter what the weather from as soon as the music starts at 12pm, until it stops much later in the evening.

Amy and I were both looking forward to work, it's not difficult serving beer at a festival as you don't even have to operate the till; just take the order and the money, tell the cashier what the order was, give the customer the change and their drinks. The Origin Bar isn't one of the busiest bars and this means that you can always have a good bit of a chat with the customers and have a bit of a laugh while you work. Amy was happy because we got to see an artist called Slack Baba, not that she'd ever heard of him, she just found the name amusing! Our shift ran from 1130am to 630pm, but for most of it we were having a dance and a chat with the various drinkers who kept rocking up. Glade operates a no under 18 policy on its ticket holders, which is actually quite nice and makes serving much easier as one of the main issues that I've seen over the course of the summer is the amount of under age drinking. Not so much from alcohol that they've brought with them, but drinks bought at the festival. So not having to worry about IDing people would make things much better and meant we could focus on the music and having a laugh. We had plenty of amusing customers come up to the bar throughout the day, a couple of my favourites were two South African guys who insisted that they had to drink triple Bacardi and Cokes – not cheap at around nine pounds a drink! Amy had her fair share of customers too, and she was wearing her small straw boater which drew comments from pretty much everyone that she served. Her original story was that it had shrunk in the wash, but this later changed into a story involving the Rabbit Hole (the open mike tent), some cookies, and outgrowing the hat. Another welcome addition to our day came when Paul stopped by the bar to give us some presents. Two knitted finger puppets! Amy got a little red riding hood, and got a fox. Paul already had a monkey he had named Malcolm, there was also a Shrek (that Slap thought was Yoda) and a Kermit. The majority of the shift went by pretty quickly, but as with most jobs it was always the last hour that dragged on and we eventually finished up, getting our two free drinks before heading off for our meal that was included with work.

The psytrance had been pretty good for most of the day, it seemed more varied than most psytrance is, but after seven hours we needed something different and we were looking forward to heading out in the evening to listen to some breaks and catch Pendulum headline the Glade Stage. One of the advantages of Glade is that all the tents are pretty close together, yet you never get a crossover of music due to the quality of the sound systems. This means that you can save your energy for dancing instead of having to walk for ages just to get to the next tent, plus with the camping area so close it makes it easy to head back to the tent quickly if you've forgotten something. Most of what we wanted to check out on the Friday was happening in the Breaksday Tent and the Glade, so we wandered down around 830pm towards the Breaksday to watch a bit of the Drummatic Twins, before Noisia came on. Noisia are a Dutch trio whose music is mostly based in the Drum n Bass genre, and they have recently released a mix CD on the well known FabricLive label. Their set started pretty slowly, but they took things up a gear after half an hour and they played some great stuff with some really good samples. It seems that this summer everyone is remixing, or sampling, The Prodigy and we've been hearing a variety of songs all summer. Noisia were no exception and they had the whole place going when they pulled out a remix of No Good (Start the Dance).

By the time they had finished we were wanting more and we walked over to the Glade Stage next door to check out Pendulum. I've seen Pendulum a couple of times before, doing a DJ set as well as live, and I was looking forward to seeing them again. They started off strongly enough, playing a good mix of tracks off their new album, as well as Hold Your Colour, but they peaked far too soon in my opinion when they remixed The Prodigy's (who else!) Voodoo People. This remix is full on, brilliant and savagely strong when performed with a live band, but the problem was it was so good that they never reached those heights again. The rest of the set seemed a little self-indulgent and uninspiring as they just seemed to be lead by a sweaty, overweight man who just wanted the crowd to bow down to him every thirty seconds. I spent most of the second half of the set watching someone who kept doing the devil horns with her hand, but I couldn't work out if she had a really disproportionate little finger, or if she'd had part of it amputated. I'm still not sure.

It was shortly after Pendulum that my night took a turn for the worse when I lost Fantastic Mr Fox off my finger after we sat down for a breather. Amy and I had lost the others so we flitted from tent to tent for a while, drinking our ciders until we walked through the Glade Stage again and I found Mr Fox straight away, two hours after I had lost him. We went to the Pussy Parlue, a 1920s Speigeltent that hosts burlesque dancing and cocktails to celebrate and met up with our friends before eventually calling it a night with the nagging fact that we had to work again the next day.

The Saturday was looking like it was going to be a good sunny day, despite the wind, and I was quite happy to be under cover where the sun couldn't burn me! We were much busier on the Saturday afternoon, we reasoned that maybe everyone had drunk the booze that they had brought in with them so they were having to frequent the bar more often. But after having my breakfast, some amazing sausages from a stall called Sausage Fest, I felt good enough to last the day and deal with the festival going public. I had to laugh at a bunch of young lads who came to the bar at one point clinging onto their empty cans of Stella:

“What can I get you?” I asked.
“Got any Stella?” mumbled one of them,
“Just Red Stripe I'm afraid,”
“Oh, forget it then,” and then they shuffled off again.

The psytrance on the second day was nowhere near as good as on the Friday, it seemed to lack some imagination that the Djs on the previous day had, and by the end of the shift I was pretty glad to be getting my free drinks and my food before concentrating on enjoying the rest of the weekend now that we had nothing else to worry about.

Glade Festival for me isn't just about the music, it has a great atmosphere and the festival goers are some of the best I've ever come across at a festival. It's a festival that is as much about the people as anything else, and there's always someone to chat to or something interesting to watch. We had a selection of Ents this year who were parading around the site, and there were also two dinosaurs – a converted beetle that was a Triceratops, and a Land Rover Stegosaurus. We met plenty of great people on the Friday, and we were to meet many more on the Saturday as we had a full night of music and dancing ahead of us.

We spent most of the early evening in the Breaksday Tent with the Stanton Warriors from Bristol who are some of the most respected breaks acts around today. The got the evening off to a good start playing a great set before we headed into the Overkill tent to watch Autechre who were reasonably good, but to be honest I was expecting something a little better from such a well respected act and I felt that they fell a little flat. After this we spent sometime in the Breaksday and walking around a bit chatting to people. We met two girls who Amy had served earlier on in the day who also had small hats, and we also spoke to another girl who wished we could all hark back to the bygone days of Victorian romance where in order to speak to a suitor you'd have to send a message through seven aunts and a scullery maid. I think I put my foot in it though when I told her that her dress was orange as opposed to red. We bumped into our hat friends again later on but we had to leave as I saw a messed up a guy with the freakiest eye I have ever seen. His was semi-passed out with one eye closed, but the other was half open but rolled back in his head darting from side to side. Not good! With dawn approaching we had a few nice cups of chai down at Chai Wallahs, before sitting in the ID Spiral for a a while until the need for bed came round, and we finally retired for the night at around 5am.

Glade Sundays are usually a relaxed affair as the full throttle antics of the previous few days slowly begin to catch up with everyone. There was only a couple of artists that I wanted to catch on the Sunday, with Red Snapper being the first and seeing as they weren't on until 3pm we could lounge around for a bit down at the Rabbit Hole and back at camp. Red Snapper were excellent down on the Glade Stage, playing some great music with their jazzy, hip hop based tunes. The only downside of the set was the lack of any vocalist for some of the songs that needed it, which was a small downer but ultimately it was a great set. After this we checked out the Breaks Tent with Tayo providing the tunes until we grabbed an enchilada for dinner before going to the Glade stage for the final act of the evening with The Orb. The Orb are a legendary British group in the electronic scene, bringing ambient house music to the masses in the nineties and they would surely be ideal end to a great festival.

Of course they didn't disappoint at all, starting with a Star Trek sample to ease us in, they then played a solid set with some of their classic songs such as Little Fluffy Clouds before leaving the stage to the strains of 'Dream a Little Dream of Me' (I think!). It was a fine way to finish off the music, and we spent much of the rest of the evening having a few drinks in the Pussy Parlure, watching some guys attempt to break dance before heading back to the tent for a final few beers and some games of Badger, Fox, Rabbit (Paper, Scissor, Stone with animals).

The whole weekend had been a great festival, a real bonus compared to last year's mud bath, but attendance figures were still down – the festival didn't sell out – yet everyone had a smile on their faces despite it being a Monday. It was another sunny day, yet we were all content with a weekend well spent and after saying our goodbyes Amy and I set off back towards Bristol. Glade Festival is so different to all the other festivals that I've been to and that is something that for me makes it incredible unique. It is a very hectic festival and you do feel exhausted by the time Monday comes around, but it's a good feeling with plenty of new good memories (the ones you can remember anyway), and I always come away from Glade having met more people than any other festival I go to. However, it always comes to an end, and sometimes that end comes just in time before your mind turns to Angel Delight. I must have been close to that point as I became slightly confused when we drove through Aldermaston on the Monday,

“We should phone Paul and stop at this pub for a Sunday lunch!” I said excitedly,
“James, it's Monday,” replied Amy, laughing at me.


What do Band of Horses sound like?

Arranging work for 2000trees could not have been easier and more relaxed than it was. The laid back attitude of the organisers was top notch, and I have been looking forward to this festival for a while, especially after the previous weekend's entertainment at Cornbury. I needed reminding that good music, and a great atmosphere was happening at festivals all over the country. Driving through the Cotswolds to Upcote farm in the sunshine was a good introduction, the hand written blackboards with direction as we got closer raised my hopes even more, and one look at the site and I was convinced that 2000trees was going to be a unique festival.

We arrived on the Thursday, after originally ditching our plan to turn up a day earlier after we experienced some heavy rain for around 24 hours. The guys on site said it was different on the farm, they had downed tools on the Wednesday and had decamped to the acoustic lounge until the early hours where they were drinking vodka hoping that the rain would soon stop. It hadn't disappeared completely, we still had the occasional shower on the Thursday, but the site was OK despite being a little squidgey underfoot. Immediate impressions of the site was just how small it was, it would probably only take 3-4 minutes to walk from the bottom of the site to the top, and that includes all the camping area. There's two lovely little ponds to the right of the site that a couple of swans seemed quite happy playing around in, and we were camped in the crew and band area just beyond this. The site was pretty quiet on the Thursday, as the gates were only open to those who had bought early tickets, and there wasn't a great deal going on apart from the open mic night later that evening; the winner getting a half hour spot on the acoustic stage on the Friday morning. Amy and I didn't have to start our first of our two four shifts until 11pm that night, so we relaxed in the fantastic Leaf Lounge.

The Leaf Lounge was the acoustic stage for the weekend, and the open mic night kicked off with plenty of decent acts that we stayed around to watch. They ranged from cover songs, to originals, and the performances as a whole were of a fairly decent standard. One of the stand out performances came from a guy called Simon, who sang some amusing song about is ex-girlfriend who was into crystal divination. He was only matched by another guy called Sasha who also sang some very witty songs, but due to the swearing in both of them it was going to be unlikely that either would win the 1230 slot the following day. There were a few other good acts, one guy played around with a loop sampler to recreate a full band sound, his best song actually turned out to be a harmony version of 'In The Jungle'. In the end first place was awarded to a lady called Polly, who had some really songs who sounded like an acoustic Bjork, so she won a chance to take the stage at 1230 the next afternoon, coming on after Frank Turner opened the festival.

Amy and I had to do a four hour shift making sure no one was trying to get into the acoustic tent between 11pm and 3am. Not too difficult, and the to begin with quite amusing, as we were entertained by some musician playing with a guy called Tony Reid who were all from Liverpool. One guy called Simon was particularly amusing as he kept going on about how Muesli sounded like a town that had a violence problem, I think he just had a breakfast cereal fixation. He kept saying, "It's going off in Muesli man!" and then he made the bold statement that we should all "fuck Coco Pops, Wheetabix is where it's at!" They were pretty funny guys and made the first couple of hours go by pretty fast, but the remaining two hours dragged on and we spent most of it sat in the doorway of the leaf lounge chatting to Rob, one of the organiser about the festival and how it got started. They were just a bunch of mates who used to go to Reading Festival every year but got fed up with it and decided that they could do a better job. So they started 2000trees last year and found it attracted a good crowd, and enthusiastic crowd (of around 1000), and so they felt like they were onto a good thing so they made the site larger and it was looking like it was going to be just as successful.

One of the cool things that I liked about the festival was that I hadn't heard of 99 per cent of the band playing, but the organisers had put together a really good program to the music that gave really good reviews of what each band was like, and who they sound like. It certainly helped to work out which bands that you might like, but one guy we had been told we shouldn't miss was Frank Turner, who was going to being opening the festival. He didn't disappoint at all, and the Leaf Lounge was packed as he started playing a collection of his acoustic songs that had the whole tent singing along. He was also booked down to play on the Saturday night as well, and he decided that we should have a private joke for those who were going to come along to his Saturday show. He was going to ask the crowd who we thought Band of Horses sounded like, and we were to reply 'Coldplay!". His set very excellent and it would be worth checking out his myspace page to hear some his tunes. After Frank Turner finished most of the tent vacated, but we fancied hanging around for a few more hours checking out some of the acoustic bands and chilling on one of the straw bale sofas. After Frank we watched a repeat of the evening before's set from Polly who had won the open mic night, so I grabbed us a couple of ciders, brilliantly called Badger's Bottom. A pint of badger was only 3 pound, and 6.5 per cent, a good festival drink! Joe Summers played next with one of his friends who played some electric guitar underneath to add some ambient sounds to his songs. I was really impressed with Joe, his songs were like an English Conor Oberst, and with the electric guitar his tunes had a really good sound.

After Joe Summers we caught a totally original band called The Smerkins play who were like a reggae morris band playing hymns and songs such as Scarborough Fair. They had a couple of guys on djembes, one young dreadlock guy on flute and bass, and a dude playing a melodian. They played some great tracks and gave a really good feel good atmosphere to the tent during their set. They're probably a band that you'll never see, but if on the off chance you do see them on a bill somewhere, check them out! In total contrast after The Smerkins we had Oxygen Thief on stage who played acoustic heavy metal tracks. His voice was really good, but his tunes just didn't work, for me anyway, on the guitar. They would be fine with a band, but although he played the guitar really well, the overall sound just didn't translate well. After this we were feeling the Badger getting to us a bit, so we went back to the tent for some food, knowing that my friends Simon and Wendy would be turning up later. It was a shame they couldn't have made it on the previous day as we both reckoned that Simon would have won the open mic night easily.

After our break we went for a wander around, checked out the main stage for a bit, had a look at the cool tree sculpture and went to the Greenhouse stage area where they had a cool space for people to do some graffiti during the course of the weekend. We watched these guys for a while before heading back down to our favoured Leaf Lounge for some more acoustic acts, most notably looking forward to a guy called James Yuill. The best, and most apt, quote I have read to describe his sound was that he sounds like "Nick Drake, if he were alive, signed to Warp Records." This is pretty accurate and he was one of the best acts I was to see all weekend. His set didn't last too long as he had to set up his laptop and keyboards, and his acoustic guitars and mandolin, but it was worth every minute. He's playing at Latitude, and again at Bloom, so I'm making sure I catch him at that festival.

We stayed around for the next few acts and I was in a dilemma as to whether or not to watch 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster, or Beans on Toast - whom I had been assured was rather excellent. In the end the Badger made my decision and I couldn't be bothered to move down to the main stage so we stuck around in the Leaf Lounge for Mr Beans and we weren't let down in any way whatsoever. His set was full of wit and irony, good tunes and the crowd were energised and excited throughout. At one point a blow up doll appeared from nowhere and ended up crowd surfing around the lounge, then for the last two songs Beans on Toast was joined on stage by Frank Turner, and Mr Beans proceeded to do a mammoth crowd surf around the entire lounge before being returned back to the stage. It was a great set and really lifted the roof off the place, and we left the Leaf Lounge into the night with smiles on faces and cider in our belly's.

After Mr Beans had finished we met up with Simon and Wendy again and went for a few more drinks down by the main stage. It was here that I was accosted by a bloke who started to tell me how much he had enjoyed my set and wanted to know where I was going travelling next. Not wanting to let the chap down I told him I was off to India for the winter after playing at a few more festivals this summer, though I'm not sure he believed me or not! A few more ciders later and I staggered off across the ponds with Amy to go to sleep and wait for another day of quality music.

I wasn't feeling 100 per cent on the Saturday, but at least I didn't have to get up early like Amy to do stewarding shift, so I had a bit of a lie in until the guys from Smerkins, who were camped next to us, started an impromtu jam session just outside our tent. The sun was shining though, so it was quite nice with the tent open just listening to the music, an ideal start to the day. I eventually went down to the Leaf Lounge to meet Si and Wendy, leaving Amy to snooze and catch up on some sleep, and I arrived for the start of Natalie Ross, who was my first disappointment of the festival. She had a pretty good voice, but I found her chat inbetween songs quite irritating, and her guitar play was pretty basic. Wendy stayed in the tent, but Si and myself went outside in the sun for a beer instead, much more relaxing! There were a few acts that we had earmarked for the day, Lazy Habits, The Anomalies, Two Skies and Future of The Left. The sun was also out in fits and starts which made us spend much of the erly afternoon relaxing outside down by the mainstage, which hadn't got too muddy so far despite some of the occasional showers. Amy came and joined us, accompanied with her hula hoop, and we spent much of the afternoon watching bands play on the main stage. Lazy Habits were a really good beats hip hop band who were perfect for the afternoon, with a good brass section that actually elevated them above the norm, and a decent crowd who helped create an upbeat atmosphere despite the burgeoning mud.

We made for pies later in the day at the legendary Pieminister stand and in the background we were listening to the Anomalies play onstage, and they did an excellent piece of freestyling on stage when they did an entire song about things that people were throwing on stage during the song. It was an excellent moment, doubled by the great pies. The sun was hanging around for a while longer so we span some poi, drank some cider until Frank Turner made his second appearence of the festival and we all shouted 'Coldplay!' in response to his question. It was another good set, though I felt without his band his set was much better, and the crowd was smaller than I expected, probably because it had started raining lighly. However, it was good enough and those there sang along loud enough, hanging around until Future of the Left followed him. These guys were a pretty decent rock band, not outstanding, but good drunken rock and I did enjoy listening to them enough to not retire to the Leaf Lounge. However, we did go to the Leaf Lounge to watch Two Skies who have the ability to sound exactly like the new Radiohead album. It was absolutely uncanny! It was almost like someone had put on 'In Raindows' in the Leaf Lounge, but they were great even if they did sound a little too similar to Radiohead to enable them to stand out on their own.

It was around this point that the worse moment of the festival occurred. They ran out of Badgers Bottom. We tried both bars but they were equally dry so we had to revert to Petermans lager, which although a reasonable substitute, didn't quite have the kick you in the face aspect that Badger did. So we ambled back down to the main stage for the final act called Art Brut, who we found a bit underwhelming, even drunk I wasn't that taken and Si and Wendy crashed out during their set and as soon as they finished Amy and I managed to make our way to our tent and call it a night.

The festival was shutting down on the Sunday, and although it was the best weather that we had all weekend, we made the decision to leave around mid morning to get back to Bristol and relax for the rest of the day. Despite the mud, the site still looked fantastic in the sun and it is without a great venue. The guys who run it focus quite hard on recycling and keeping the site as clean as possible and I have to say it was probablt the tidiest site I have ever seen at a festival. The weekend had given us some mixed weather, but the music on the whole had been of a high quality and I felt lucky to have seen so many up and coming bands. I'm sure the vast majority wont make it 'big time' but that's not always so bad, as it means they'll keep earning something of a living from music and playing some fantastic festivals such as 2000trees.

If you get the chance next year, please go to 2000trees, support this cool festival that has the right ideas at its heart and if you can't go, try and tell someone else about it. I have so many good things to say about the festival, chatting away to musicians at every turn, Badgers Bottom, the Leaf Lounge was a good a venue as I've been in for acoustic music, the ponds, the graffiti wall and the people who attended. There was so much that came together to make this a good weekend and I just felt glad that we had somehow found out about this wicked little festival.

And so from the sublime to the insane we head to Glade this weekend to work behind the bar down near the psy-trance stage. It should be a great weekend, it could be a swamp (like last year), or we could get sun stroke. I'll be sure to let you know.

Until next time, stay classy

Don't need a weatherman...

When you visit a new festival for the first time it's hard to have some kind of pre-conceived idea as to what it's going to be like. The small amount of research that I had done for Cornbury revealed to me that it would probably be some kind of cross between a farmers market, and a music festival. The reality was something else, something much stranger, and I can honestly that I have never been to a festival quite like this, and I don't expect to be going to another one soon. For those of you familiar with the Isles of Scilly, a good summary would be to imagine if Tresco Estate organised a music festival and you wouldn't be far off what Cornbury Music Festival is like.

I had only ever heard vaguely of Cornbury Festival until this summer, and this was to be the first festival that we would be working as stewards for Oxfam. I seem to remember back when we were deciding which festivals to do we ended up choosing this one because there wasn't much else going on during this particular weekend, and so it was because of this that we found ourselves at Cornbury Park, near Charlbury Oxfordshire. Cornbury Park originally hosted a country fayre way back in 1796, growing so rapidly in popularity that by 1830 it had to be temporarily suspended, a bit like a Glastonbury of the 19th century. It re-opened between 1845 and 1856, attracting crowds of around 50,000 and eventually these large numbers caused the festival to shut down despite no recorded accidents or crimes reported. In its current incarnation the festival re-opened in 2003 on the same site marketed as a family friendly festival 'with a twist'. It turns out that 'twist' is white picket fences and Pimms.

The drive up to Cornbury took us through some very picturesque villages with a variety of names around the basis of "on-Thames" or "on-Water", and passed a particularly attractive looking pub that was located next to a canal with many narrow boats tied up alongside. However, despite these archetypal village images there were a few interesting sights to be seen; kebab shops and tatooists slowly working their way into middle England, along with highly fashionable tapas restaurants. Tattoos in particular now are no longer the preserve of the working class, and they have been well and truly accepted by all classes across the land, with sporting heroes being common exponents of getting inked. As for kebab shops, well wherever there's a pub, there's a need for a kebaby!

Getting to the park was simple enough, but finding the entrance proved a little more difficult, the sign posts directing traffic the long way around the park in order to get to the entrance. The reason behind this was to divert traffic from Charlbury, but it got us quite confused, and we even turned around at one point unsure if we were heading in the right direction. Eventually, however, we arrived on site into a surrounding of beautiful old trees in the late evening sunshine. When you work for Oxfam you get the advantage of staff camping, along with showers and a great catering van called Nuts Cafe. For each shift that you work you get a free meal ticket, and the quantity was ideal, I didn't want to go hungry! The staff campsite was pretty small, I think I heard that there were around 125 stewards for this festival, and there was wide age range of stewards camping. Although preconceptions might be that stewards is for the younger crowd only, there were plenty of older stewards at Cornbury, many of whom had been doing it for years. One woman we spoke to got into stewarding after her daughter convinced her to do it, though she said that if Glastonbury had been wet again this year she would have happily left the festival, lost her deposit and never worked for Oxfam again! We got to Cornbury on the Wednesday, the day before the gates opened, and all the stewards made themselves comfortable - one group had 'Swan Lake' playing quite loudly!

The first day of gates opening saw us assigned to working in the Campsite Welfare tent for the weekend, and we spent the first three hours sat in the sun while we waited for the tent to be erected. There's some funny guys working for Oxfam, one guy we called the 'Cool Man' who was about 20 and just wouldn't keep going on about "At Glastonbury it was done like this, and, at Glade we all did this" etc etc - Jog On! We also had the Mullet Man who was a supervising steward. We had seen him the previous day helping a young woman put up her tent trying to chat her up with his black, luxurious mullet swinging in the breeze. Fortunately neither of these guys was involved with our shifts, we were working 10am - 1800 on the Thursday, 1800 - 0200 on Saturday, and 0200 - 1000 on the Monday. I think they give everyone one shift for each part of the day, and our work in welfare would mostly be looking after lost property and lost children. We were based right next to the enclosed family camping site, and we spent most of the afternoon watching families make multiple trips to their 4x4s to get the kitchen sink out of the boot. How on earth they even manage to get all the equipment into their cars in the first place was beyond me, but I can honestly say that I've never seen such a large collection of massive tents in one place in my life. The forecast wasn't looking particularly good, and I was beginning to wonder how they would cope if got at all muddy.

The weather on the Friday started off pretty reasonable, but it was one of those days when the weather couldn't make up its mind, one minute it was too warm, so you'd take some clothes off, and then it would get cooler and start spitting with rain. However, one thing I was certain of and that was that it would definitely rain later on in the evening. The campsite and the arena are separate at Cornbury, so entrance to the site was delayed slightly on the Friday but eventually we were let in around 1130 as we queued along with giant child's buggies, chairs, tables and everything else your average family needs for an afternoon at a festival. The walk over to the arena was very serene, taking you down between two large lakes complete with ducks and locals fly fishing, and you pop up the other side of the hill into what can best be described as the front garden of Cornbury Park Estate. First impressions of the main site were just how small it is, probably no bigger than the Garrison on the Isles of Scilly, and you can find that you've covered all there is to see in around fifteen minutes. There's three stages on site, the main stage, the second stage - which on the Saturday is sponsored by Word magazine, and on the Sunday is the Oxford Folk Festival - and the final stage is called the Riverside stage whose dance area is littered with hay bales.

We watched the opening set of the main stage from a performer called Maria Illet who won a competition to appear on the main stage at Cornbury. At the time I wasn't aware of this, and I think I might have been a bit harsh in my judgement, thinking at the time that she had less stage presence than sea bass, but perhaps the occasion just got on top of her a bit. Her singing was pretty weak, and she had a real problem filling the stage with sound, all in all a below par performance that was most likely down to nerves. After a couple of songs we left to go to the Word Stage and watch a reggae band called The Beat, who were pretty decent. They got most of tweed dancing away in what sunshine there was, and they played a bit of an extended set due to the eagerness of the crowd. We chilled out listening to some reggae while I read the Guardian (ooo how middle class!) before heading back over to the main stage for a while where we caught part of set by Imelda May who had a bit of a Celtic twang to her sound, and was accompanied onstage by a guy playing a double bass, always good in my opinion. She a class above Maria Illet in terms of confidence and performance and just about held her own on the main stage. The area in front of the main stage is quite large, and I was confused as to why they had acts on who couldn't fill the space. That's not to say that a solo performer couldn't do it, but these bookings just didn't have the quality to stand up well on the main stage.

I think we were both a bit bored so we went for a another wander and had a look around the fairground which was where all the 'cool kids' were hanging out drinking Strongbow. Cornbury may not have the illicit drug use that many festivals have, but there was a large amount of under age drinking on, and pretty much every kid over 13 had a few cans stuffed away in their back pockets. After the fairground ADHD got to us we checked out the 'hippy' corner of the festival where there was a stall selling chai and also doing free drumming workshops. I had to laugh watching the workshops going on, there were the two teachers teaching a group of chicks in posh frocks all 'slumming' it with the hippies tapping gently away on their djembes carefully in case they broke a nail. Mind you if they had broken a nail they could have always visited the Powder Room. Yep, there was a Powder Room which was a giant trailer where festival goers could visit and get their nails done, have a hair cut, a wash, make up, the works. Unreal.

As this was going on we noticed a few morris dancers walk past, so we followed them over towards the Riverside Stage where we were greeted by two gaggles of dancers. One dressed in the traditional morris attire, the other looking like a home counties version of the American band Kiss. The dances were pretty good, there was even a bloke dancing with a giant cheese hat on, it was surreal to say the least!

Quite confused by the whole thing, we left to go back to the campsite and get some food. Now one of Amy's pet peeves for a while has been Kanye West style sunglasses, for those of you who don't know what I mean, here's picture:

I think the afternoon's bizarreness had got to Amy and she confronted one bloke as he walked past in what can be described as her posh voice:
"Excuse me, but can you see much with those glasses on young man?"
"Umm, not really,"replied the young man,
"Then what's the point?" argued Amy. To this he had no answer, and he shuffled off, possibly slightly embarrassed at being harassed by a girl with dreadlocks about fashion tips.

So it was eventually time to go to work at six, and we were lucky to have a pretty quiet evening. Because our welfare tent was pretty quiet, Amy and I had no supervisor so we spent most of the shift doing crosswords and colouring in books (Aged 3+). It did start raining during our shift, and we both felt pretty lucky that we were working inside unlike the rest of the stewards who might just be sitting in the rain for eight hours. Because of our position in terms of dryness and being in the middle of the campsite, we had plenty of other stewards popping in to say hi and have a cup of tea. One supervisor told us a funny story about Glastonbury the week before when during the early hours of the morning one of the stewards called over the radio that a pregnant cat had turned up near their post and was going into labour and he wanted to know what to do! I did overhear two young girls obviously having a problem with the weather in their drunkenness when one turned to the other and said "Can you work out which way the wind is blowing?". I never did find out if they solved their meteorological conundrum. The rest of the shift was reasonably uneventful until around 1am when a call came over the radio:
"This is the Oxbox(Oxfam HQ), could we get some first aid up here please. Um, I don't know how to put this, but one of our Supervisor has severe chafing in a personal area." Brilliant!

The rest of that shift went easily enough and my only regret of the Saturday was not getting the chance to see Paul Simon, who headlined on the main stage that night. However, after chatting to a few people who saw hi they said it was a bit of a sad performance, that he was clearly past his peak. Though I expect that most of the crowd enjoed him anyway it's always a bit depressing when you see someone who is a legend in decline. I remember seeing Brian Wilson at Glastonbury on his Smile tour, and I think the tour by that time had got to him a little, and although he was really good, I think his excellent band carried him a fair bit that day.

The final day of music, and the weather started ok, and Amy and I had the day off until the early hours when we had to complete our final shift, so we wanted to attempt to enjoy the second day of music. We got down to the arena to watch a guy called Tom Baxter and his band perform on the main stage. My instant impressions were that he seemed like a diet version of Dave Matthews. His band were actually really good with an excellent drummer and a good violinist, but Tom Baxter was totally upstaged by them. He seemed to love his voice a little too much, even for a front man, and I really felt that although the audience was impressed, if he re-worked his vocals the performance could have been much better. On the Sunday the 2nd stage became the the venue for the Oxford Folk Festival, and after starting a little late we went over to watch a latin/ska band called Jaume Toujours who were half decent. They had an accordian playing front mand who had an annoying habit of shouting "SKASKASKASKA!" every twenty seconds. I think he was trying to remind himself what ska music should actually sound like. After they finished an American singer called Tift Merrit came on who had a really good voice but the band's sound was really bassy so it sounded like the badn was too big for her. She came across as trying to sound a bit too much like Sheryl Crow, at least that's what her band were trying to sound like, but she didn't have the voice to match its sound.

And then came the rain.

and the rain.

more rain.

From five o'clock on Sunday it began to absolutely pour down with rain, heavy unrelenting rain. Just in time for 10cc's set which didn't really manage to raise the crowd much. At Glastonbury there's flags everywhere, but at Cornbury it was giant golf umbrellas. The umbrellas certainly kept the rain off those who had them, but for rest of us we had to put up with getting poked in the eye by the corners by them, and having any view of the stage blocked by someone holding one straight in your face. Still I just about managed to catch a few of 10cc's classic tunes, which sounded pretty good, but in the rain they didn't keep me very warm. We were going to hang around for KT Tunstall, but instead sheltered under the Ecover tent and payed there game inside on their computer where you had to hang washing on a line before seagulls crapped on it. I think I got to level 4. The Folk Stage was next to the Ecover tent and there was a really good Irish Folk/Salsa band called Salsa Cetica who were exceptionally good musicians, and probably the best band we saw all weekend. It was just a shame that the weather was so bad, but Amy braved the rain for a bit to go and do a few jigs before showing me some basic salsa moves.

By now we were both pretty wet, it was getting cold and with the 2am shift on our minds we decided to skip on Crowded House and get a few hours sleep before work. I can't say I was paticularly gutted that I was missing the last of the music, in fact I was quite glad to escape the vacuous atmosphere of the arena and get back to some sembalance of reality at the Oxfam camp. Work that night was pretty easy, and boring, and wet for those not inside. It rained non-stop through the night, and I glad that we were lucky enough to be inside, in fact at one point we had nine of the fifteen stewards on duty that night in the welfare tent drinking tea. There was plenty of more crossword attempts and Amy and Hena (who was working in the tent with us) dedicated themselves to colouring in as many pictures as possible in the eight hour shift.

The rain finally subsided around ten in the morning, just as our shift was finishing and we did a quick pack away before driving off site as quick as the polo would take us. I can without a doubt say this was one of the strangest festivals that I've ever experience, and although I went to it knowing a little of what it was like, I never expected it to be quite so upper class. There were missing girls called Tiara, a double decker Pimms bus, and a VIP area (not for artist or anything, just people who wanted to spend more on their ticket and feel important) with a white picket fence and bouncers. I would never go to this festival again, personally it's just not my idea of fun at all. It was exactly like taking the August visitors to Tresco and placing them at a music festival, with middle of the road music and giant umbrellas. Jolly rah rah!

This weekend takes us to 2000trees, a small festival of 2000 people, in the top ten small music festivals of 2007 and despite the current forecast not being great, I can't wait. Until then, stay classy.

That's so funny I don't even know how to laugh!

Usually in the run up to Glastonbury I spend an inordinate amount of time studying weather forecasts, line ups and wondering what flavour of Super Noodles we should be taking. However, the small fact of having to work at this year's Glastonbury made my preparations seem slightly low key. I had none of the usual anticipation that I usually have, and this year I remained remarkably blase about the weather, it always seems to rain at some point, I reasoned, so why worry about it?

Arriving on site this year early was certainly different compared to rocking up on a Wednesday lunchtime with thousands of other people in the heat and queuing for hours at the train station, and then again at Pedestrian Gate A. Tuesday afternoon felt much more civilised, it was still warm but cruising in the Polo listening to the Raconteurs felt like a much more relaxed experience. When you normally turn up on a Wednesday, or whenever, it can be hard to get a grasp of just how much behind the scenes work has gone on. There's around 37,000 workers at Glastonbury, and most have these people have been turning up from the previous Saturday helping build stalls, stages and just preparing for one of the best festivals on the planet.

Amy and I spent much of Tuesday evening wandering around the site, checking out some of the new additions such as the extended area above the tipi village, and the replacement for Lost Vagueness - Shangri-La. On first inspection the Shangri La doesn't appear much different to its previous incarnation, with the themes seemingly quite similar. There's a 50s style diner and dance floor, a tilted disco designed to make you feel a little more unbalanced than is natural plus a SlumberRave - dressing gown optional. It's very unusual walking around the huge site with so few people around, each of the camping grounds seem outrageously big with no tents in them and it's hard to comprehend that within 24 hours all these fields will be full of people all ready for 5 days of hedonism. In the mean time though Amy and I planned an early night, with a romantic dinner consisting of chicken Super Noodles (an old favourite), and a couple of glasses of Sainsbury's Strong Dry Cider. Classy.

Wednesday morning began for both us with some short meetings regarding our work. Amy was going to be working for the Green Police which basically involves educating the Glastonbury public about the effects that pissing in hedges and littering has not just on the environment, but how it can also have an effect on Glastonbury's future. Amy's training brief in the morning consists of learning facts and figures that they can use on patrol to help get their message across. Apparently Glastonbury Festival is closely monitored by the Environment Agency and they check the water supply in the rivers that flow through the site for contamination. Apparently around 5-6 years ago approximately 6000 fish were found dead in one stream and this was a contributing factor to problems with renewing the license for the following year.

My job on the other hand wasn't going to be quite as important, stewarding the Kings Meadow field, otherwise known as the Stone Circle, would certainly be a different kettle of fish. My shifts for the weekend appeared not to be too bad, 2am-8am Thursday morning, 2pm-8pm Saturday afternoon, and 2am to 8am Monday morning. Not too bad, though I wasn't too impressed by that Monday morning shift and if my memory of any previous Glastonbury served me well I would be serverely jaded come the early hours of Monday. But there was plenty of time before then, and once my basic training was over and done with I concenrated on hooking up with one of my Glastonbury friends from last year who works up at the Festival Medical Services, James Gibbons, who even came over to Scilly last year in September.

With thoughts of having to work in the early hours of the next morning I wasn't too sure how to approach to following hours, should I try and stay awake, or should I get some rest for a couple of hours. I left Amy with her Green Police friends, met up with James and his friends before setting up my second tent down at Pennard Hill. Amy's camping ground was up near the farm, which would basically place me at the opposite end of the site to where I would be working. To save on walking time I intended to set up a second tent in the field next to the Stone Circle and leave some warm clothes there for the evening shifts so I didn't have to travel too far. So once all set up and ready for the next few days an obligatory trip to the cider bus was required. The cider bus is literally that, a coverted double decker bus that houses many cider casks, and will dispense some of Burrow Hill's finest cider for a small fee. If you're feeling a bit cold they will even add some brandy to your glass, though the demand for this doesn't seem too great. The cider bus is a great place to watch the world go by, with al sorts gathering for some appley goodness. Myself, James and Layla got accosted by one girl who just wouldn't stop going on about how much she hated the toilets. She was stating the obvious a bit here, and she just would not stop moaning about them, she believed the reason for this was because no toilet paper was being handed out at the gates this year. Quite how this works out I'm not too sure. Eventually, though, she left and was replaced by an absolute great character under the name of Roiston who has been coming to the festival for 20 years and not only was his costume fantastic, his entourage also handed out little bags of haribo to us all!

After a few more swift pints of cider Amy suggested that I might want to get a couple of hours sleep before starting work, probably a good idea really as anyone who knows me would say I can have something of a problem staying awake when I've had a couple to drink. So I decided to make the one sensible decision of the weekend and get a couple of hours sleep before my early morning shift at 2am. Fortunately so far the weather had been pretty good and the only thing I was worrying about was how cold it might be due to the clear skies. I even managed to make myself up a flask of organic espresso coffee that Amy had brought back from Costa Rica. I've got to say, this coffee is rocket fuel and is so tasty it can be easy to drink a lot of it, but it will keep you up for days!

Stewarding up at the Kings Meadow basically involves just making sure everyone up there is safe, and most specifically, not climbing up the 20foot wooden Dragon that dominates the left hand side of the field. You might think something like this would prove a nightmare to look after, but most people seem pretty relaxed about it, and during the whole 6 hours not one person even attempts to scale it. I must say I was quite disappointed! We work in teams of four, and take it in two person teams to look after the Dragon, while the other two keep the fire stoked at the bottom of the field near the entrance. The vast majority of the shift goes pretty easily, with only a few eventful conversations. At one point I was accosted by two eastern european girls who mistook me for a policeman and kept stroking my face and telling me how cute I was. Once I explained to them that I wasn't a policeman they seemed to lose interest and just ran off giggling to one another. Once the sun started to come up, quite early around 5am, we strolled around the field a bit more looking for lost property and chatting to people. We found a few wallets, one guy I met handed in a wallet with £210 pounds in it, a very honest man. I picked up a mobile phone, plus someone else found a wallet which we took back to HQ before stoking up the fire once more because even though it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day we were having a very cold morning. During one of my regular walks out to the Dragon I came across a couple of very interesting Mancunians, one of which was very passionate about his views on the litter on the festival site. Now that it was daylight you could see just how much rubbish people had left behind up at the Stone Circle. There were crushed paper cups everywhere, cans on the floor and dotted around the field were burnt circle where people had made fires to keep warm during the night. My Manc friend took it upon himself to launch himself into an impassioned speech:

"Why do they need all these fires? The firefighters must be pissed off. All these fucking hippies, they're talking shit. Fighting nature, that's what everyone's doing, you can't win. Fucking fires, it's not on. Look at this rubbish too, if I was Michael Eavis I wouldn't stand for it. You see this bottle here, Jakobs Creek in here, seven quid a bottle, proper class. I've had this in my hand all night, and you knwo what? When I done I'll put it in a bin," at this point he turned around and addressed the entire field and shouted " All you cunts! Clean up this fucking rubbish!" and with this he turned around and stormed off out the field.

It's always the case with any job that you do that the last hour or so is always he longest, but with this job I didn't mind because I probably laughed more in the final hour than I did all night. The fire that we had kept going was a gathering point for everyone who was leaving the field, and we had a good collection of characters for the end of our shift. We had a few musicians, one playing guitar and another on a Melodica who were really good at playing some quality tunes. Apart from their gathering of friends we were also joined by a silent chap called Jake, and a young lad with multicoloured microphone hair called Barnabald, or Barnaby for short. After meeting Barnaby he told me how he would like to be an actor, but he couldn't remember lines very well, a bit of a problem I suggested, but he didn't seem to think so. Another favoured topic of his was clothes, and how he felt we should all feel comfortable enough to run around naked, and how he felt we shouldn't feel embarassed as a society to see naked bodies. I also learned that his favourite colour was blue, and his attempts to take people on at a game of mercy only brought more laughter. I can honestly say that I've never met anyone quite like Barnabald, and he only confirmed this by announcing that he was a hopping race champion. He went on to prove this as we arranged a hopping race at the bottom of the field, which, to our amazement, he duly won. Finally though, my shift came to an end, Barnabald and co departed, though I did leave the enigmatic Jake standing by the fire gathering his 'chi' before breaking his silence with the occasional giggle. By this point it was early morning, and I needed some sleep before some of music began later that Thursday.

There's normally something of a Scillonian contingent at Glastonbury - last year we had Eldred Bandfield, Mike and Lou Knappman, Ant and Ade Robson, Dr Vic plus myself and others. This year sees a few less, and some who appeared out of nowhere. Mike and Lou were still going, and I met up them briefly on Thursday, and then when I bumped into them later on in the weekend they said that they'd bumped into Dr Ranulph Hessing(pissed up at 10am) and Erica Hicks (working), Amy saw Natalie Graham, but unusally for me I met nobody from Scilly that I didn't knwo was there. Unimpressed. Still, maybe they saw me at some point running around grinning!

Thursday was an esygoing day, with not much happening, though I did hear a rather crap cover version of Prodigy's Outta Space being played down in the Leftfield. last year we saw Seasick Steve play at the Leftfield on a Thursday afternoon, I even got to shake his hand which was nice (and dirty). This year the Levellers were playing a set at 2300, but from previous experience I felt this would probably be too busy so I knew I was going to miss it. I spent most of the day hanging around with James down at the Park Stage drinking my cider, and watching the cast of Alice in Wonderland play croquet with members of the public. Once Amy finished her Green Policing for the day, she only had to do a couple of hours, we had some music for the evening down on paper. We were going to watch DJ Yoda do an AV set in the Silent World at the Dance Village. The spread of the Silent Disco has now reached other parts of Glastonbury, giving punters the chance to listen to sets on wireless headphones whilst not disturbing any sleeping residents. By early evening though the rain had started, and it was not relenting whatsoever. Before I left I decided to check the forecast at metcheck.com who had informed me that we could expect some rain in the early hours of Friday, and using my Radio Scilly Weatherman knowledge, I suspected that this was the weather arriving early. Of course, once the rain begins to fall it gets muddy very quickly, and then every avaialbe covered arena fills up faster than you can say "portaloo". Our plans to watch DJ Yoda were scuppered by queues, partially due to the rain, and also because all the Silent venues are space limited due to the headsets. However, we did get to see one of my highlights of the festival, Smerins Anti-Social Club. These guys are from Bristol, and we only dropped by because our Bristol friends were going to see them, and they were excellent. Check out their website here. Their blend of live dance music was good enough to get the pacjed crowd going in the Dance Lounge, and although we weren't able to see the band due to the crowd, the music did appear to be emanating from a giant pink ball suspended in the ceiling. The band were excellent, and were even joined onstage by MC Xander, a guy we had seen at Glade last year who is also excellent. It being a Thursday night, we actually made another sensible choice and called it an evening due to the rain. After all, the actual music hadn't even begun yet.

Early Friday morning gave us a few more brief showers, though nothing too serious, and the rest of the day wasn't too bad for weather. Cloudy, with a chilly breeze, though there was only the occasional light shower - nothing as bad as previous years, and the ground wasn't even that muddy really, there were still green patches! Amy got up early to start her Green Police duties, but I had no work to do until the following day, so I decided to catch up on my sleep to try and get my body clock back to normal. I managed to wake up hear a little of Kate Nash singing about lemons, but it nothing special enough to make me want to get up, so I ended up sleeping in for a couple more hours before making any real start to my day. I went for a bit of a wander around, grabbed myself a cider and thought about maybe having a pie for lunch, but instead I thought I'd wait until later and get something from the Green Fields with my free meal ticket. One advantage that I had over Amy was that my meal tickets got me good food, not the school dinners that they were handing out in the Oxfam tent!

I ended up catching up with Amy later on at Alabama 3 who were performing on the Jazz World Stage. I've seen them a few times before and their set was as tight and predictable as ever. They certainly have a distinctive sound, and are always good to see even if you've caught them a few times before. Amy and her mate went off to get changed from their GP gear and I sauntered around until meeting them at the Pyramid Stage to catch some of the Gossip's set. Not a band I particularly like, but Beth Ditto is certainly a brilliant entertainer. She works the crowd really well, and this set is one of the surprise highlights for me, I would recommened them to anyone going to a festival who has a gap in their personal line up for the day. She wasn't enough, however, to make me miss Gideon Conn who was playing at the Bandstand, a small stage about 10 foot across that is located in th middle of the Market area. It's a good place to catch random acts, but after hearing of Gideon Conn through Ben Morton-Clark I really wanted to check these guys out. After a few problems getting the sound sorted (dodgy cable), they started and were brilliant from start to finish. Gideon wore a great Father Ted t shirt which won me over befor he started, and he proceeded to play a great set with his band. Amy turned up after the Gossip and really got into it, and she confessed to me after the festival was all over that she thought that this was her highlight of the weekend! Gideon Conn finished up in the crowd stretched out as far as his microphone would let him, before signing copies of their EP at the front of the stage. Brilliant.

The Fun Lovin' Criminals were up next over at the Jazz World, and they performed a really good set, full of all their hits and generally they were pretty good, though I have to say that by the end I was getting itchy feet to head elsewhere, though where I wanted to go I wasn't sure. It was probably the hunger because after their set we walked to the Buddhafield Cafe where I could get my free dinner and replenish my system before heading down towards the Dance Village. we hadn't made many plans really as to what we wanted to see at the end of the day, with nothing really catching my eye. The choice was between Fatboy Slim, who manages to play every year but I've never seen him, or goto Kings of Leon, who I knew Amy really wanted to see. After spending a bit of time down at the Dance Village, mainly at the G Stage, which is called the Origin Stage at Glade, dancing to some great tunes and then trudging round to the Pyramid Stage for the Kings of Leon, and after squeezing our through the crowds we found ourselves a nice spot half way the hill. I found their set a little unbalanced, the first half an hour was pretty mediocre, never really picking up any pace and I felt like they were a band a little out of their depth. However, they raised their game for the second half of their set and produced a worthwhile performance - 3 out of 5 stars.

The best parts about Glastonbury Festival for me usually happen after all the main stages have shut down and people head for other areas. We opted for Shangri La, and the Disco Diner, where we finally met up with James and our Bristol friends where we danced for a good few hours until aroudn 4am when Amy and I went to watch the sunrise before returning to our tents, with Amy moaning about having to get up for work, and me content with a lie in until 2pm.

In the past I've always found that Saurday's are my favourite days/nights at Glastonbury, you can usually find a good selection of bands that you want to catch right from the start. Howeer, having to work this year made things a little different. I was gutted that I was going to miss Shlomo and Music Through Unconventional Means on the Park Stage, but it wasn't the end of the world, and my shift good all the same. With the sunshine beating down I spent a great afternoon up at the Kings Meadow drinking cider whilst chatting to little kids that the Dragon has to chained down or he'll fly away! It was a great shift, and nice to sit down and relax for an afternoon before enjoying the night ahead. As soon as I finished my shift at 8pm I grabbed some food before heading down towards the Park Stage to catch MGMT. I really like the Park Stage, it's like an ampitheatre and it can create a really intimate setting. Last year's performance from Lou Rhodes was one of my highlights of the festival and I was really looking forward to wathcing psycadelic rockers MGMT. They seemed to have a slight sound level problem to begin with, as the vocal levels were completely screwed, but after the first couple of songs they found a compromise and the rest of the set completely rocked. Har Mar Superstar joined them on stage at once point, and by the time they played Time To Pretend everyone was loving them. It was a cracking set and I expect next year will see them performing on the Other Stage late friday evening. After MGMT I was getting considerably more excited as the one band I had come here to see were up - Massive Attack headlining the Other Stage.

I had even asked for time off especially to see these guys from Bristol, it was the one thing that I didn't want to miss, and I was not disappointed in one bit. THey played some storming tracks, some delicate ones, and just generally played a delectable selection of beats and visuals. There was a great performance of 'Teardrop', and they put in Unfinished Sympathy during the encore as well as geting in a fair political messages along the way. For me this was a brilliant set, definitely one of the best I've seen at Glastonbury ever and even watching it back on the BBC site online I get chills thinking about what it felt like to be in that crowd. Unbelievable.

By the time Massive Attack had finished sometime after midnight I was in a good mood to say the least, and we bimbled down to the Bimble Inn at the Park Stage for some dancing and laughter until the early hours, enjoy ourselves in a classic Glastonbury Saturday night way.

So the final day of the festival crept up inexorably upon us. It always comes around too soon, but it's not always bad as there's always some great music to make the tiring minds and bodies feel a little better. Sunday afternoon on the Pyramid is usually reserved for some 'classic' acts, but this year I headed down to the Jazz World for a Pieminister (the best pies ever) while relaxing in the sun. Probably the main highlight for me of the festival is being able to sit/lie down whenever you feel like it, keeping the pain of 'festival back' somewhat subdued. We spent most of Sunday relaxing, watching a very talented diabolo guy dancing away in the sun and listening to some Eddy Grant. Amy wasn't feeling too great after work and went for a snooze and a lie down whilst I went and watched Goldfrapp on the Pyramid stage. She put on a great set, perfect for early on a Sunday evening with her amazing vocals and fantastic music. She even had some pole dancers on stage at one point, ideal. Once recovered, Amy and I jollyed on down to the John Peel Stage to watch Spiritualized, a band I had last seen with Jeremy around six years ago. It seemed odd to me that I was watching them perform in what is essentially the New Bands Tent, but I guess they have their reasons. Their set was pretty good, Jason Pierce's vocal were excellent, and they are excellent at creating a wall of sound that is so forceful, yet you can still pick out each instrument. Again, it was odd watching them on this stage after seeing them last play on the Other Stage, they may have even headlined it, but I'm sure they'll be back higher up the bill once more.

So to the final big act of the weekend, and Groove Armada was the choice of the evening. They didn't dissappoint, playing a good selection of their greatest hits, all to a intricate laser show. They were great, but the best news came to me just before they started when I found out that Spain had won the Euro 2008 Championships, netting me 60 quid in the Galley sweepstake. This led me to try chant "Fernado! Fernado Torres!" to whoever would listen! Of course this made the Groove Armada set all the more better!

I only had a couple of hours until starting work for the 2am to 8am shift, so we went to the Bimble Inn where we met with some friends again, and I left them to it and went to work - which proved to be something of a blur! Amy and the guys all went to the Silent Disco for a bit, something that I was extremely jealous of, but Amy was good enough to come down to the Stone Circle for a couple of hours until the sun came up. After Amy left I spent the rest of my shift walking around chatting to people until 8am finally came and I could officially goto bed. By now the sun was pounding down and I went back to tent number two and slept among the pile of bodies that belonged to my friends.

Monday, inevitably, brings the hangover. It's been postponed for five days, but ultimately it catches up with you in the end. Amy had caught a cold, everyone looked pretty frazzled, and after saying our goodbyes our friends left for Bristol while Amy and myself relaxed for a bit before making our departure later in the evening. The worse part of my weekend? Getting sunburned eyelids. The best bit? Everything else.

Once again, regardless of weather, line ups, naysayers etc, it turned out to be a fantastic festival. It may be getting more and more corporate, but there is still something special about Glastonbury Festival. This isn't to say that other festivals don't have this, I'm sure they do, but Glastonbury still sets the bar.

I still believe that probably the best way to describe how you feel throughout the festival was summed up by one of my best mates years ago. He said

"The thing with Glastonbury is that you're always on the edge of something, you may never find it, and that makes the search all the more interesting, but every now and then you stumble around the right corner and everything becomes clear."

Until Cornbury, stay Classy