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Working as security at Glastonbury

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
edited January 2023 in General Chat
Has anyone ever done this? Whats it like?

It gets you in the event doesn't it which isn't bad......
Post edited by JustV on


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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Festival steward

    Not security but... this is an article from our festival special last year about working as a steward:

    Martin Nicholls worked as a festival steward during the famous mud-bath year of Glastonbury. Here's his sorry tale of potatoes and puddles.

    It's 4am, raining steadily, and I'm standing ankle-deep in mud. My socks are disintegrating, my waterproof isn't doing what it said on the tin, and I'm developing the first symptoms of trench-foot. Every hour or so a car comes past, and I raise one sodden arm to wave it on. My companion for the night, an ex-army security guard called Gav who speaks in monosyllables despite a massive speed habit, stomps off 'to find some hippies.' Half a mile away I hear the muffled roar of a few thousand damp souls cheering in front of a stage. A wide-eyed man staggers past, shirtless. Half an hour later he reappears, running, this time without his trousers.

    Welcome, then, to Glastonbury. Well, Glastonbury in 1997, one of the wettest on record. The year of mud, debauchery and missed bands, and the year I decided to work there as an Oxfam steward. Why? Well, because I was skint, and, more through fear than any ethical considerations, didn't fancy hopping over two ten-foot fences patrolled by the likes of Gav. So I got my free ticket, packed a tent, whisky, food and spliff into my rucksack, and found myself on a bus in the Somerset countryside on my way to what I was assured was the greatest festival on earth.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Here's the deal

    The deal was as follows: in exchange for the ticket, daily meals of something brown and vegan, and the dubious pleasure of a hairy man strumming Pink Floyd every night in the Oxfam tent, I had to do three 7-hour shifts in the kitchens, on-site or on the gates. The rest of the week was my own, to be spent squelching around in a daze looking at stalls, shows, sculptures, musicians, and some seriously odd people.

    I had been looking forward to waking up on the first morning and stepping out to see the whole valley stretched out in front of me, a sea of tents and camper vans. Instead, I awoke to something resembling the Somme. Some unlucky volunteers had lost their tents to the storm and were standing looking forlornly at the soggy fabric as it waved at them from a nearby bush. Fortunately, we were working for an organisation used to much worse.

    Mud is good for you

    My first shift was in the Oxfam kitchens, working with a man who, when more than three people wanted to eat at one time, had a habit of saying 'this is too hectic. I'm off for a spliff-break.' I was set to chipping potatoes. Should I wash them first? 'Nah, mud's organic, it's good for you.' Right. However, I was indoors, so at least stayed dry. Not so on the next shift, or on the Friday night, my compulsory late shift. The latter was where I met Gav, and came to the realisation that I was doing this job because I was considerably cheaper to hire than a traffic cone.

    That aside, it wasn't so bad. Good points: the music, the atmosphere, the people, the total amazement that for one weekend a year a couple of fields near Bristol are transformed into a bustling city, complete with electricity, gas, streets, shops, a bank, and more music and sheer fun than you get in a lifetime in Dundee. I'd never seen a hillside full of revellers all dancing in mud to the same band. Mind you, I'd never seen a riot either - and certainly hadn't expected to see one outside a welly shop.

    Would I do it again? Without a doubt. Would I be a steward? Only if it was sunny.
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