I know the saying is “30 days makes a habit” — but I’m feeling like seven days of consistent blogging is a habit in and of itself. Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So, without further ado…
Day 7: Celebrate
Joining in a local festival, holiday or special event is a great way to learn more about a local culture. Share the story of a celebration that meant something to you on your travels.
Being an aforementioned reformed music junkie I don’t know if it would surprise anyone to learn that a music festival is the celebratory event that meant the world to me. I was 18, living in London for the summer and working retail job. The freedom of being more than 5,000 miles away from my parents, living close to my boyfriend who lived in Oxford (my very first love) and experiencing pubs (consuming more snakebites than any girl should) made me feel like anything in this world was possible.
While my days were spent folding t-shirts at Jeffrey Rogers, my nights were spent listening to music in my flat or at my local. I would pore over Select or Mojo magazines, imagining what it would be like to attend Glastonbury. Every band I was infatuated with would be there, from Supergrass and Oasis to PJ Harvey and Pulp. The only problem was that tickets had been sold out for months, long before London was a glimmer in my eye.
Stopping by the BUNAC offices one day to deal with some paperwork I quickly scanned the corkboard on my way out when I saw a small note about Glastonbury. Her name was Tracy, a fellow American and Anglophile – she had a friend of a friend of a flatmate who was attending the concert with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. That’s right! For a few hours each day, our “pay” would be in the form of tickets. And where would we be working? Why, the information booth of course. Yes, an American girl who had never been to Glastonbury or the Somerset countryside would be telling local Englishmen and women where their favorite bands would be taking the stage.
So with a quick call to the London CND team, we secured our badges and within one week’s time I was on a train Somerset-bound. True I had no camping gear and was between paychecks, meaning I had about £20 to my name, but off I went with my day pack that held my toothbrush, some sunscreen and a toothbrush.
Nothing could have prepare me for the concert/stage sprawl, tent cities and caravans that bring Glasto to life. And while Tracy and I did meet prior to leaving, once onsite I didn’t know a single soul among the mass of 80,000 music lovers. This would constitute my first time traveling alone, going to a concert solo and traveling on a shoestring budget (thank goodness for the free church tents that gave you a free place to rest your head).
What made the entire festival so magical was the sheer joy and bliss of everyone there. People from all walks of life congregating in a field in the middle of England to take part of something truly spectacular. When these bands get together at this one point in time to play a song that will never be heard the same way again unless you were there.
Unless of course Pulp makes it a b-side, and every time you hear it takes you back to that moment of anticipation…