Glastonbury 2015? It isn’t only the cows that are milked at Worthy Farm…

by Pseud O'Nym

But at least the dairy cows have good reason to be milked. If they aren’t, they will eventually stop producing milk. Makes sense to me. What makes less sense to me is the cash cows that, much like the dairy cows, obligingly herd themselves into Worthy Farm, and for the duration of the festival delude themselves that they’re doing something that means something. Unfortunately, what it means is that in the famous phrase attributed to Lenin, they are being a ‘useful idiot.’

Some explanation might be useful at this juncture. In the political sense a ‘useful idiot’ is someone who acts a propagandist for a cause, but is not wholly aware of what the cause is or what it’s ramifications are, and therefore their lack of understanding is cynically exploited by the leaders of the cause for their own ends. In a cultural sense, this charge could be reasonably levelled at anyone who repeatedly goes to Glastonbury. Not however at someone who goes once or twice and thinks better of it. Youth is when you’re meant to make your mistakes and learn from them, not continually repeat them. For one thing, it’s an expensive mistake.

This year a ticket to the Glastonbury Festival costs £220. Then add to that the cost of getting there and back. Oh, and the camping gear. Essential that. Except that I’d wager that a significant proportion of people who go to Glastonbury have never been camping before (and won’t be in a hurry to repeat the experience!) More expense. And unless you go by car, you travel by train – a journey down which puts one in mind of soldiers going off to the First World War, all cheerful enthusiasm but the return journey is one of subdued silence, a sleep deprived, haunted by what they’ve seen and done, look. One that doesn’t invite questions. Or by bus, which I imagine is the same; only the agony is massively prolonged. And that’s before you get there!

Now getting there at the right time is crucial, and given that the festival site opens at 9 a.m. on the Wednesday, getting there early and pitching your tent on as high a ground as you can will pay off if – when – it rains on the Thursday. Even a light shower will, when over 100,00 people have trampled all over it, turn a lush green farm into a muddy nightmare. Heavy rain on the Thursday is even worse. Even if the sun shines for the rest of the festival the dye has been cast, or more accurately not cast. Because cast implies solidity, which the ground won’t be. Which brings me on to the mud.

As anyone who’s been to Glastonbury when it’s rained a lot will attest, there isn’t only the one type of mud to be found there. One might almost think that the mud was one of nature’s revenges against having the festival at all. So nature’s opening gambit is to first add a drizzle of rain onto the grass in order to make it as slippery as possible.

With the addition of so many festival-goers trampling all over the site it soon resembles a nightmarish version of ‘It’s a knockout.’ The BBC, instead of providing live streams of the performances should instead provide coverage of the campers trying to set up their tents while trying not to sustain serious injury. They could put it to music. This music turns everything into comedy gold. Once the assembled hoards have found somewhere to pitch their tents and have nicely churned up the grass then it is time for it to rain again and for part two of nature’s plan to come into effect. This is the mud that when you tread on squashes out of the sides of your by now ruined footwear in the same way as cream will do if you squeeze on a chocolate éclair. If enough people trample on this, this will turn into porridge like mud. This is whereby the campers’ turn what was navigable mud into porridge like mud of indeterminate depth, which you’ll have seen on countless news reports. Normally featuring some drug addled loons swimming or sliding in it, not realizing that the showers are a long way away. And the final type of mud is the suction mud. This is mud that is nature’s ace in the hole. Helpfully, this type of mud, is normally found on steep inclines or near to toilets and payment for traversing this mud is normally in the form of footwear. The only good thing about mud at Glastonbury is that it means that there aren’t any jugglers! But it also means that one’s ability to prepare and consume drugs is severely limited.

Anyway, anyone who says “You don’t need drugs to enjoy a festival” has clearly never properly enjoyed a festival. I went to Glastonbury twice when it rained and it was sh*t. The one year that it didn’t rain and was all wonderful sunshine I got totally and gloriously sh*tfaced. All I’m saying is mushrooms. Anyway the point is that a festival without drugs isn’t half as much fun as a festival on drugs. However a festival isn’t the place to try drugs for the first time. There are far too many people about – the fear, the fear! – not to mention the worry that if you’re taking some drugs for the first time you might forget who or what you are.

Or indeed who ‘The Who’ are! Consider for a moment that the last time the trout lake owner and the researcher last bothered the Nation’s ears was in 2012 with yet another re-issue of ‘My Generation.’ Which is ironic really, as the generation going to Glastonbury will only know who they are by asking their parents. Or, if they’re really young, their grandparents. This year the Glastonbury Festival sold out in minutes, months before the line up was revealed. The useful idiots conclusively proving that there is indeed something magical about Glastonbury, not least in persuading 177,000 people to pay £220 for a ticket. Is it only me that finds a delicious irony in the fact that while the festival is held at Worthy Farm, when one buys the ticket one doesn’t know if it’ll be worth it?

The useful idiots really prove themselves useful again when buying things. Glastonbury has become a bazaar for those who imagine themselves to be bizarre, people so edgy that they’re practically wall huggers. But only for three days. Until then they are flogged remorselessly – captive consumers, sold everything – but overpriced for the smallest portion. Food and drink especially – but dishonourable mentions go to toiletries / cigarettes, especially king size Rizla papers and when it rains, any item of waterproof clothing. The age-old capitalist saying is reversed inasmuch as ‘you pay too much money and you have no choice. Glastonbury isn’t cheap – once you’ve added up the ticket cost, getting there and back, camping equipment, food and drink and drugs, it can easily top £400. This guy reckons that you can eat and drink at Glastonbury for £27 a day. I’d like to know what drugs he was on because they certainly work! Because this site offers holidays over Glastonbury weekend for less than the cost of the ticket, but sadly without the bad weather, overpriced food, dire accommodation, questionable sanitation.

Glastonbury offers privation without privacy. So it will come as no surprise to you to learn that I am hoping for rain in Somerset this Wednesday because I’m that kind of person. In my case the milk of human kindness has gone sour.

Next time….”If you wear that you’ll look like a girl.”