Thursday, 10 July 2014

Glastonbury post #3: Everything else

This is my third and final blog post about Glastonbury Festival 2014. You can read about my musical experiences here and the Theatre, Circus and Kidz Field areas here

I wanted to finish this blog post trio of words and photos about Glastonbury by showing you a little a snippet of 'everything else' that goes on in this festival utopia. One of the first things we did after pitching our tent, was to take a walk up the big hill, to sit in Flagtopia [near the giant Hollywood style Glastonbury sign]. My girlfriend Emily and I thought the site looked big, but not as enormous as everyone makes it out to be. We soon discovered that once you're actually wandering around in the thick of it, there are so many hidden things to see and do and certainly more stuff going on then you could possibly squeeze into your time at the festival! Below you can see the view from Flagtopia by day and by night.

 Glastonbury by day [view from Flagtopia]

 Glastonbury by night [view from Flagtopia]

Arcadia Spectacular is a popular feature at Glastonbury. I first saw this at Bestival a few years ago, although I'm told that it all started out at Glastonbury. Arcadia is an immersive experience, with a robotic spider as the centre piece. The spider has a DJ booth in the middle, which has hosted many huge names. Huge flames blaze from the top of the spider in time to music and you'll often see trapeze style artists doing performances, suspended from the legs of the spider. Around this centre piece you'll see lots of other amazing performances going on, including people 'playing' with static electricity [see my grainy photo below] and a giant robotic hand that picks up real scrap cars! This probably all sounds totally bonkers and doesn't make sense if you haven't experienced it for yourself, so perhaps you might want to check out the official 2014 Arcadia after-movie below for it to make a little more sense!

[A rather grainy photo of] a Lord of Lightning at Arcadia Spectacular

Everywhere you turn as you walk around the festival there are little quirky things to make you smile. We thought this lovely hammock chilling area was a really nice idea. There were a few people actually snoozing in them when we walked past! Some of the things you see are especially made for Glastonbury and others are things that tour around. I assumed that the hammocks were a Glastonbury exclusive feature, but I noticed recently that they've since been at Blissfields Festival [and lots of other places too, I'm sure]. 

 Hammock napping near the Circus Area

Along with all the stuff that's going on simply for the sake of being weird and wonderful, there's lots of people advertising and/or selling stuff too. The selection of traders was particularly good at Glastonbury and it was refreshing to see that lots of the stalls weren't just pedalling the same old festival crap that gets sold at most festivals! There was a huge variety of food traders too and we tried to eat as much of a variety as we could over the five days we were there. We really loved a little stall selling olives that we discovered, which we thought was a great idea, although the piri piri olives really did blow our heads off! Having a bakery on site was lovely too. 

The Opposuits guys were selling their peculiar brand of suits and we entered their photo competition to win one of their whacky styles! It was a great way to engage with festival-goers, although I'm not sure I'll be rushing out to buy one. 

 Opposuits, selling funky suits for not-so-serious occasions

Shangri-la is an infamous part of Glastonbury and I wasn't really sure what to expect before I experienced it for myself. I'd heard snippets of information from friends who have been to it and read about it online, but I really couldn't picture how it works and what it's like. This whole area is very well done and so much fun to wander through, especially at night. It wasn't what I imagined at all, with the whole area being much larger and more open than I thought it would be, although it needs to be due to the huge volume of people wanting to go there, especially after the main music programming finishes at the weekend and through the night. There's a decent sized Shangri-hell stage in the middle of this area, which is really popular. I've taken a few photos which you can check out below, but I'd find it too hard to describe this wonderland of crazy stuff and the photos don't really do it justice! 

So many Unicorns, much to Emily's delight!

 Skeletal Fairground Horses in the Unfairground in Shangri-la

 Inspirational quotes in Shangri-la

Having a giraffe

Entertaining venn diagram in Shangri-la

Our friend Jemma works for the Roundhouse in London, who were running an interactive feature in Block9. The Block9 area is like a movie-set, with the main feature this year being a tube-train derailed and smashed through the wall of a block of flats. Behind this facade, you'll find a huge hidden club, with more lasers than I've ever seen in one room before! 

We took part in the interactive feature, which involves walking through a series of rooms, each with an actor in, whose role is effectively to creep you out as much as possible! I can't really explain it in any way that will make any kind of sense, but it was super creepy and absolutely awesome at the same time. I really hope you get to take part in something like this at Glastonbury in the future. It's supposed to be a secret, with people pulled out of the main queue for the club and told they can go through a quicker route, then sent through this interactive feature, which I imagine makes it even weirder when you're not expecting it! Despite the fact it's suppose to be hush hush, word soon spread an huge queues were forming to take part throughout the festival

There was so much more to see and do at the festival than I've written about in these three blog posts. I really hope I get to go to Glastonbury again next year to see more of the stuff I didn't manage to experience this year. I'm already dreading the ticket scrum that takes place in October and that tense morning spent refreshing my browser and redialling for tickets!

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