Part of massaging at Glastonbury is seeing the festival. Here are my impressions of the dystopian fantasy of Arcadia and The South East Corner…
Arcadia And The South East CornerArcadia is so crowded that you can hardly move, surrounded by people captivated as they watch two men bounce lightning off of each other via their suits, which are made to conduct enormous amounts of static electricity. This is followed by acrobats suspended from a huge robotic spider which throws off flames of such magnitude that they nearly singe my eyebrows off.
As I wander along I come across the world’s smallest nightclub: The Miniscule Of Sound. Capacity: 3. Queue: enormous.
This is quickly followed by the Sonic Forest. It consists of 16 pillars, all of which have an individual sound when played by putting your hand over the vent at the bottom of each one. When all are set off at the same time it sounds like a symphony.
I wander through Glasto Latino and come to rest at a comfortable South American Cinema and Bar. I quickly leave after watching a few minutes of a gratuitously violent film.
Next door is the Rum Shack which has every rum imaginable and an Hispanic band playing passionate music.
As I leave this field I find, on the corner, the peaceful retreat of the Iona Community. As I enter there are flags saying “Peace” in various languages. They are a Christian community based on the Island of Iona, but – fear not – the last thing they do is preach at me. Instead, they are welcoming and friendly.
A disused railway track runs through the middle of Glastonbury Festival site. It is useful for getting around, especially when the rest of the site is knee deep in mud (thankfully, this year, we are blessed with hot, dry and sunny weather). I cross over the railway track to enter Shangri-La. It describes itself as Heaven and Hell. Heaven is a nightclub which requires a gold wristband to get into. These are available at the desk of judgement, where the guardian angel requires you to put on face glitter and confess your sins. She lets me in after I pinpoint where she has an area of discomfort in her back. She asks me how I know. I tell her I am a massage therapist with a practice in York.
No shoes are allowed so that the cosy carpets remain so. Once inside heaven you are greeted by an angel wearing nothing but white shorts. He strokes you with a feather…
There are sumptuous sofas to sit on from where you can see a DJ play ambient music. Ribbons come down from the ceiling. There are display cases – look down into them and see the top of clouds. Stained glass and gentle coloured cloths draped on the walls finish off the effect.
The true virtue of Heaven which allows it to describe itself as such are the toilets. Porcelain, Flushing And Shiny Clean!
I leave Heaven and come to The Hell Stage. Bands play to a small but packed arena as flames shoot out over the crowd’s heads.
Before I know it I am in Unfairground. The Acid Lounge has psychedelic pictures and projections on the walls. A giant plastic baby stands by the entrance. The bar is decorated with mannequins, hub caps, candle chandeliers, TV aerials and just about anything else available at an old curiosity shop. The whole effect is, well, rather acid house.
Down The Rabbit Hole is an Alice in Wonderland café, complete with giant playing card, the Queens crown, black & white chequered floor and giant mushroom backdrop.
Finally, I go to Block 9. This is pure hell on earth. A hotel with a car crashed into it. A woman dressed scantily dancing on the balcony. A burnt out block of flats with the rear end of a train carriage ploughed into the middle of it. A post-apocalyptic ruined wall pumps out music with spotlights darting out of it and around the field.