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Diary of a Glastonbury Virgin!

01 July 2005

One of the most thrilling aspects of Glasto is watching wide-eyed folk experience the festival for the first time, helplessly seduced by its charms. That's certainly what happened to this chap!

Please click on a photo to enlarge it...

Before the festival, we were a little concerned that Justin Madgwick, a 35 year old businessman and lover of fine wine, married with child, would not return from his first Glastonbury. We've seen it happen before. In fact, there are entire tribes of folk now living in trees that were formerly in middle management with suburban semis - abducted, if you like, by the irrepressible forces unique to this festival. Thankfully, our man's made of sterner stuff and we have to give him credit - for five days and nights, he gave his heart and soul to Glastonbury and immersed himself with abandon. By his own admission, the experience forever altered his outlook on life, for the better of course. Read his story here...

Two words sum up the whole Glastonbury experience for me, from start to finish – Blown Away. Not a hugely descriptive, beautifully constructed phrase, but it is the only way I can describe how I felt from the moment I glimpsed the marquees, plethora of tents, brightly coloured flags and milling crowds through the hedgerows surrounding the Glastonbury site – and this was just on Wednesday!

On entering the red gate there was a fizzle of energy in the air, complemented by the broad grins on the faces of the mass of Glasto staff guiding us to the car-park and checking our ticket every 50 yards. The trek to the campsite revealed just how large an operation Glasto is – I mean, it’s just huge – vast – endless - and beautiful. Probably helped by the blinding sunshine and warmth on your back...

Tents erected, it was exploring time – my “guides” giving me a whistle-stop tour of some of the more famous parts of the festival, namely bars, food-stalls and a strangely chilled out experience at the Stone Circle. Drinking into the night, watching brightly coloured paper lanterns floating up into the night sky and hearing a round-the-site cacophony of roars and cheers as everyone got into the festival spirit - great way to end the day.

Thursday! Through a mild throb to the temples the mind-blowing got more intense as the site started filling up and the true scale of what the weekend was about struck. I took time out to travel higher up into the fields, past communes that appeared to have been there since the ‘70’s, and looked down on what the Eavis clan have developed their land into over the last 35 years. I stayed there a long-time, it was ethereal.

Jerked back to reality by a bunch of Essex boys on their way to explore the dance village it struck me how this festival truly catered for every single musical taste.

Again, it was blisteringly hot and after a fruitless search for a straw hat cooling off in the shade of the Leftfield whilst catching up with the stage manager made sense. Michael Eavis strolled in, not the first time I would see him exploring his own festival, and then it was time wend back to camp to meet up with friends and take in some of the hospitality tent, cider bars and plan the next day.

Thursday night - Rain, thunder, lightning – all on a scale and duration not experienced outside of an Indian monsoon. 6 hours of it! "Here comes the famous Glasto mud", was all I could think...

- Click here to discuss this on the Festival Forums!
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Article by: Justin Madgwick

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