About now I would be returning home from an amazing week at Glastonbury Festival. I spend a week volunteering. My job is in the Lockups. They are a safe place for people to check-in their valuables, so they don’t have to leave them in a tent or worry about misplacing them.
Glastonbury is like nothing else I have experienced. It is it’s own little world for the week. Some of the usual culturally accepted ways of doing things on the outside don’t apply.
People are friendly.
Anyone will help anyone at Glastonbury. There is a real sense of community and kindness. If you are a bit lost, just ask. If you want a recommendation, just strike up a conversation with a stranger.
It is liberating
You can wander where you want to see what you want. My soul relishes the creativity and freedom. If you like something you can stay, if you don’t you can head off to find something else. This makes the Glastonbury crowd very discerning. If they don’t like it, they will just leave. There are too many other good things to see and do.
You are a life-long learner
There is so much to visit and learn. Information is interesting and challenging. It is presented through many different forms of art – theatre, spoken word, talks, clever graffiti art in huge installations, exhibitions, VR, music and more. You can learn so much trying out new experiences about yourself. Your views of the world and how it “should be” are challenged.
You can learn new skills in Green Crafts area. There is an opportunity to have a go at making a stone or wood carving, stain-glass, willow weaving, blacksmiths, sewing, leather workshops and many many more. I made a bone ring inspired by Viking archaeological finds. By doing the workshop, I was stepping closer to the experiences of my ancestors and their lives.
The earth is revered
The festival raises money for charities that stand up for the rights of the earth. There are no single use plastic bottles, no plastic cutlery or plates. All the food waste is collected, sorted and composted. The wasted is sorted to make sure all the recycling is taken out. Beautifully painted colourful bins all around the site are labelled so people can take responsibility and sort their waste.
There’s lots of information about the state of the planet and what people can do to make a difference. We can always make a difference by our individual actions. With information we can hold decision-makers to account and be clear that we want change. We want to look after our home, our planet for us and future generations.
Diversity is celebrated
No one will have the same experience at the festival. You just can’t get round the whole site in a weekend. The site has a rich diversity of food, music and experiences. The international cuisine is incredible. I miss my dinner to the best fresh falafels I will eat all year. The huge diversity of music all over the festival. There are huge stages and little intimate gigs, all with something different.
The circus and theater areas are filled with entertaining street artists walking around. Block 9 is the gay scene, and everyone is welcome. The Unfair Ground is the shadow-side of the festival. Shangri La is a huge art installation, it’s like walking round a film set. Every year it has a thought-provoking message – such as Corporate-Hell. I love the challenge, the wake up. We do just become complacent, not challenging the ideas our society is built on. This work brings those challenging perspectives to many thousands.
We are all there to enjoy the experiences of the festival. Music, dancing, creativity, learning, making new friends and may be going for a healing session in the healing area. People dress colourfully, you will see some great fancy dress costumes. One year I saw a Top gun squadron out for the night in their cardboard fighter jets – genius! We are all there to connect and enjoy.
You will see all ages from little babies to the elders. There is no age limit on enjoying yourself!
Being in nature
For a whole week we eat, wash and sleep in nature. Camping, noticing the weather and adjusting to the situation day to day. We camp near an old oak tree that often has a kestrel nesting in it. We hear the blackbirds dawn chorus. Walking for miles across the site every day and dancing. Our bodies are happy.
Every week can be Glastonbury!
Listen to your heart and do what makes you feel good and free. Don’t waste your life, thinking I’ll do it tomorrow. Do it or do something better. Live your life!
I weave these elements in my life because it makes me happy. I try to be helpful and will give a lost looking tourist a bit of help. Kindness makes a better world. We are part of one race – the human race. Let’s build our community and support each other to build a better world. Let’s celebrate our rich diversity, it what makes us unique, it is not a threat.
Being in nature is good for us. There are plenty of scientific studies to show this. I love being out in nature and I am distressed that I am picking up so much litter after my fellow humans. We need to look after our planet and act responsible. This isn’t just about our hedonistic life, this planet needs to support future generations. We will need to modify our lives if we want humanity to continue. There are lots of things we can do and learning is the first step. Become aware of how your actions affect the earth and others through what you consume and choose to do.
We all make a difference. Each one of us is a logo piece. We can come together and create a beautiful giant structure or we can choose to isolate ourselves. At home we can volunteer in our communities, bringing our skills, passion and expertise to create a better world. Covid has shown us he creativity and resourcefulness of people. We need to continue to be creative and resourceful as we build a better world so we don’t slip in to old toxic ways. I believe we have been reminded of our own agency to be kind and build a better world. I believe we can do this if we want to.
Have you been to Glastonbury?
What are your take-a-ways?