Five Reasons Glastonbury Blew My Socks Off


A month ago I had no idea I’d even be in the UK, let alone recovering from a week at Glastonbury. Now I’m sat in an English country garden, twitching softly and reminiscing my epic 7 day stint. I’ve come to a pretty solid conclusion: Australia – where I now reside – may have AAAALLL the sunshine but Britain certainly knows how to throw a festival. And as Arcadia’s final flames flicker deep in my retina’s, and the sound of 800 knives and forks rattle in my memory banks, I smile with sweet satisfaction. Thank you Glastonbury for reminding me just how great Ol’ Blighty can be. Here are five of my personal highlights.

Arcadia: This year the festival behemoth increased a piece, commandeering an entire field aptly named ‘The Mechanical Playground’. New for 2014 the stage proudly welcomed the ominous Hand Of Man. This 26 foot long mechanical hand crushed actual factual cars with the care free ease of a child crushing a beetle, and all for our viewing pleasure…intense badassery. The Spider was back with a vengence, unleashing all kinds of glorious fiery carnage plus one epic mother trucking line up. Back to light up the skies with 4000 volts of pugilistic rage were Arcadia regulars –  Lords Of lightning. If you’ve never seen two grown men hurling lightning bolts at each other from gladiator esk rods, well, you haven’t fucking lived. It’s is a SERIOUS sight to behold, in fact, after witnessing such immensity life will never be the same again. If I had a dating account it would stipulate  “Must be able to shoot lightning from fingertips”.

Arcadia warming up on the Thursday night

The Cave: Tucked away behind a neon waterfall in the perpetually swampy Common area, this magical cavern of bass BLEW MY FRICKING MIND. Like a moth to a lantern we were continually magnetized to its rocky doorway. What awaited inside was a space equal in dark and filty’ beats, as it was dark and filthy corners. This was a depraved rave cave through and through. Pumping hard until daylight for the entire weekend, the mini stage featured a sound system and line-up so powerful it caused grown men to burst into tears and planets to collide. One of my favoritest most bestest memories was a set from Glasgow born Reggae Roast, followed by  Mungo’s Hi Fi ; an enraptured skanking session winding up  at around 4.30am…myself and workmates were due at work at approximately 5.30am. So with Cider clasped firmly in hand, MDMA coursing through our veins and grins a plenty, it’s safe to say that not a single fuck was given that morning…(The Common area also featured a mass UV paint fight AND a tomato throwing battle. Boomshakalaka.)


Working (with the festival sold out my only option was wangling a job of some description. This job turned out to be catering for the entire backbone of Glasto): LET ME TELL YOU…working from 5.30am till 2.30pm during the peak of Glastonbury doesn’t leave much time for shut eye. No time at all. Discussing this it was decided that sleep was most definitely for geeks, you know the drill…work, eat, rave, repeat!  So following the aforementioned Cave Rave and zero sleeps, serving 800 tired crew members a sludgy selection of gelatinous fry-up components was pretty damn funny and mega damn surreal. Them: delirious after a 12 hour shift and Us: shitfaced and chatting utter breeze. The outcome? Massive confusion and AAAALL the laughs.


Shangri La: Heaven or Hell? I could never quite tell. Lost in the disorientating and ‘nausea permeating‘ complex and at times inside my own tiny mind, the incredible Shangri – Team this year created a dystopian world where Hell (evil corporations) and Heaven (permaculture wielding environmental hero’s) were waging war. Hell seemed to be winning. Imprisoned in the red walled maze and holding hands in a wobbly string of five, we grappled our way through glue-thick mud, staring up wild eyed as nightmare inducing sculptures loomed omminously above. An incredible sense of impending doom and confusion swept over me as I flitted between loving it and eye popping insanity, no trips necessary. Seriously, between the K, the fleshless horse heads, the giant red eyes babies and the dark ‘live theatre’…Marbles. Lost.

PaulHolmes-ShangriLaGlastonbury2013Hell (Large)

The Humans: from the AMAZING team with whom I toiled at Ivy Mead Crew Catering, to the marching kazzoo band who gifted us instruments to join their cochaphony of mayhem. From the body popping dance-off-ers in The Cave, to incredible new home-town friends. From the beautiful dreaded lady on the tea stall who gave me ‘personal Dahl’ when I was cold and hungry, to the boy who skinned up for us when we were rendered incapable; to AAAALL the colorful, incredible, magical human beings who attended Glastonbury this year…you inspired me, delighted me and rekindled my love for mankind. You reminded me just how brilliant people can be. MASSIVE love. MASSIVE vibes.


SO GLASTO…turns out it’s not even about the music; just the people, the madness, the grot, the adventures, the ‘personal Dahl’, the talks on a better world, the tomato fights, the hedonism, the escapism, the filthism, the cataclysm and living the utopian dream. Bring on 2015.