“I never really sought Glastonbury, Glastonbury found me – due to fortunate circumstance, as I was getting ready to settle into early middle age and my own festival memories were sinking into the dim and distant past. I limped into work at Stitch exhibition fabrics having not long discarded my crutches after a particularly nasty broken leg, to be informed by my boss (and brother in law) Grant that I would be spending a few weeks on a farm in Somerset in June, I wasn’t very thrilled to be honest but it had to be myself, Chris and Martin (no not that one!) as everyone else would be on a big tennis tournament for all of June.
Anyway, there was a big pile of fabric of many hues sat on the cutting table, the instructions were to cut them into strips 23 metres long 33 cms wide double fold and hem the long edges and Velcro one end.
The conversation went something like this:
me: “Jesus that sounds tedious, how many?”,
me: “32? FML don’t think I can zone out that long”
Grant: “32 of each colour”
me: “how many colours?”
I then was trying to do the sums in my head now, I gave up that train of thought as too depressing to compute and tried the what is it for tack, to which G replied: “Misty and Reg (who we do a few other jobs for) are building a tower in the middle of a farm for Emily Eavis!” At this point, I think my jaw hit the floor before the penny did! Just to hear Grant go on to say: “oh and we have a circus tent to drape called the Stonebridge Bar”.
Fast forward to early June still not too sure I really want to spend the next 3 weeks in a tent we’re finally there in the car park doing the H&S thing looking out at the gobsmacking scale of the site, we met up with the wonderful Park Crew (already a fortnight into it) my misgivings about the job were fading as we eased into it, it wasn’t the wettest build we’ve done there but I really don’t remember being dry! (We’ve run the full gamut of soaked to the skin to the whole team lining the Stonebridge in our underpants, not a pretty sight!) anyway, we did it with a day to spare, so we set off home for a shower and clean wardrobe. I picked up my nephew Mat for his first festival experience and returned to the site for standby duty.
As we arrived back on site the guys were setting up the backstage crew bar so Mat and I strolled up for a couple of beers while the others returned probably 9:30 pm the first pint of an epic sesh went down just lovely, 12:30 I’m on the phone to the others they were just leaving London “give em an hour and a half!”. 3am the guys running the bar go off home, “help yourself just leave the money under the till!” 4:30 the guys turn up, there had been a fire on a nearby farm and it had taken them 21/2 hours to do the last 6 miles a couple more pints with the stitch crew saw us emerging blinking into a cracking new dawn.
I only managed to get out of the Park once during festivities (to see Leonard Cohen) as by the time the build was done I was back on crutches due to all the walking during the build! (There’s always next year!)
I didn’t get up my tower that year, or the next, or the one after that, I finally did it in 2019! Every year as I leave the site I have tears welling up in case it’s my last. (Good stuff like this doesn’t happen to me!)
I just hope we’re still involved in it next year once my industry has recovered and I can meet up with the wonderful Park crew family.”
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