So, in 2014, 12 years into this adventure, Sparklemotion finally made it to Worthy Farm. There are certain gigs in a performers’ career that really mean something, and Glastonbury has to be one of them. It’s a biggie, and, as ever, I feel mega-anxiety for us. In fact, until the tickets arrive, I refuse to believe it’s actually happening. Festivals are fragile things. In our time, we’ve done lots, with varying degrees of success. Many random factors can occur to scupper an insignificant dance troupe at a huge festival.
It’s always such a big deal for us…we take time off work and rehearse like crazy. We load up a car full of costumes and tents and bin liners and drive for hours….only to be told ‘dancers, what dancers?’ And let’s not forget dear old rain. Ah yes, my festival nemesis. We’ve battled sunken PA’s and collapsed stages; done our make-up in storms; dragged suitcases across miles of swampland and danced in our wellies. Oh! And top tip, don’t be up against The Kings of Leon…cause that’s the other worry….making all the effort and dancing to one man and his dog-on-a-string.
Such are the thoughts whirring through my mind as we set off. You see, I just want it to be GREAT.
We sail onto the site (seriously, where is everyone?) and are informed that someone will come and collect us. Say whaaat??? Yes, it’s true, a man comes in a transit van and drives us right to our stage. He also shows us our campsite, right next to our stage. So far, so way too good to be true. The other sparkles have never been to this festival of festivals so it feels even more of an event as we wander around taking in the sights, sounds and smells (!) of this crazy place (surely the only three people on site not clutching a delicious pint. Poor Sparklemotion!).
Today is Thursday, so the music hasn’t started yet….apart from, so it transpires, ‘secret’ shows by two top pop acts on OUR stage, right before our Guilty Pleasures night kicks off. Whoo-hoo. Literally THOUSANDS of delirious peeps cram into the tent (and beyond…it’s an endless sea of faces) to witness the music, and guess what, they hang around after to enjoy some pop fun.
The stage is square, dry and big (these things matter!), the crowd is like, gulp, huge and we dance with wild abandon and really enjoy it all. Side of stage, dressed as Rasputin, a drunk reveller asks me if I’m Justin Timberlake. Lols.
And you do feel the weight of the place and its’ history and what it all stands for. The day after we dance, standing in the John Peel tent with thunder, lightning and torrential rain crashing in around us I feel so lucky to be part of it all. And it’s interesting, ‘cause it is a bit of a fight. The masses look worn out as they tramp through the mud, nursing hangovers and queueing endlessly for the roofless eco loos – this ain’t no boutique camping experience…it’s tough! – and yet no-one leaves or lets it beat them.
It’s like us humans need the odd reminder of how easy our luxury lives are and how good it feels to lose the modern world for a weekend and just be one great big grubby community, having a party in a field.