Now this one, on the other hand, I can remember LOADS about. Mainly because it was the only year, so far, that I’ve worked. I was UNISON shop steward at work and they sent round a thing saying they were sending a crew down to work the bar. So I ended up spending a chunk of the weekend with a bunch of student nurses from, I think, Taunton.
We were on the bar to the left of the pyramid, but fortunately on two early shifts. We were meant to do half serving and half pouring, but I ended up serving throughout. It was all mental arithmetic and working out who was next at the bar which are two of my favourite things anyway!
This was also the first time I met up with People Off The Internet at Glastonbury. Various people from the Belle & Sebastian email list met outside the new band tent when Elliot Smith was on. It’s fair to say I wasn’t in the mood for Elliot Smith for reasons, and in fact don’t remember a lot about the meet up for the same reasons, but it definitely happened and I do remember tramping round the Other Stage camping area looking for Alix’s tent as nine inch nails blared away in the background…
Of course 2000 was the year the fence completely failed. There are many estimates of how large the crowd was, I suspect it was close to quarter of a million, certainly the crush coming down from new bands after flaming lips that met the crowd coming from the pyramid going to dance to see fatboy slim was the biggest concentration of people on site I’ve ever seen.
I think 2000 was also the year we got completely pissed off with Stewart Lee doing the Diana/ET/ALF routine for what felt like the THOUSANDTH time (although I realise now we were just playing into his hands…) and also when, after a couple of dud acts, the compare in the cabaret tent had to fill about 40 minutes which culminated in him sat on the stage rolling a joint as we stood by the doors (to make the tent look rammed) cheering wildly for about five minutes just to confuse the heck out of anyone who wondered what was going on.
Also there was Bowie. THERE WAS BOWIE! He was proper amazing. The highlight of the set though was the start of the encore (NB I hate encores) when Reeves, in pitch darkness, played the opening riff to Ziggy and the whole field went absolutely ape-shit.
Looking through the line-up hasn’t really helped. I know we saw yy28s and Billy Bragg (trying to work out if this was my first billy gig?) and the manics headlining. Beyond that and the fact it was sunny, or at least not muddy, 99 is a bit of a gap (this will happen more frequently unfortunately). Good thing I have lots of pics due to having nme and mm from before and after so yay to many more images
So 98 was easy, weather seemed reasonable if not great, pile down to Shepton in the cars on Thursday, dodgy hand stamp from a scouser (look, it happened that all our hand stamps came from people from Liverpool, it’s accurate even if it seems to be stereotypical…), stick the tents up in the NME field, get on with it.
It was dull and mizzily all weekend, the mud built up, but we’d brought wellies so we were fine. What we’d not done was check the tent for blim holes…
Six months earlier Ultrasound play in Cheltenham to c. 30 people and blow us all away. It’s a couple of days before they do their NME awards gig that (for six months at least) seals their reputation as [ahem] The Best New Band In Britain. I’m really proper down the front as they start on the Friday, about the same time as England kick off against Romania. Given that the weather seems to have settled I’ve literally just changed into a whole new set of (dry) clothes. They are AMAZING, but as the set progresses the rain gets heavier and heavier, but it’s ok, I’m in the middle of the crowd and it’s only the top of my head that’s getting wet right? Then the rain gets heavier. Then they finish and the crowd, for want of a better word, flees. I dash back to the tent but still get soaked. I open the tent to find an inch of water on the bottom and it’s the only time I’ve ever want to come home. Fortunately we get our stuff out and into our mate’s tent, and the next day beg a roll of gaffer from someone in one of the theatre tents and cover all the holes. The tent lasts another two Glastonburys…
(Aside: my gran is on her last legs this weekend, I expressly get my mum’s permission to go to Glastonbury. As the Shakespearean storm opens over my head I think “goodbye gran”. I’m 24 hours out)
Three months earlier the lads had been to Amsterdam, co-incidentally the same weekend as “London” Calling at the Paradiso. They’d seen Catatonia, Stereophonics, Bullyrag, but most importantly, Earl Brutus… I have to say, I didn’t get it that afternoon, but they were to become one of my favourite bands of the next few years.