I’ve told you a little of some of the festivals the cats went to, so I thought I would tell you about some of the other festivals and how it all reached a zenith before crashing resulting in a whole new period in my life.
Before the cats were born, I had really got into the festival scene, more so than I had in the old days of free festivals. I was turning up at various venues offering my services, thereby working my way around the circuit. The most I did in one season was 26!; literally half a year’s worth. That was mad, but fun. It’s difficult to remember a lot about the many festivals I attended, but some stand out.
Generally, I would work helping to set up the festival, have my own time during the party itself, then help tack down. Depending on the size of the gig, I would then move on to the next, usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday, arrive, blag and start again.
It didn’t always work out like that. I turned up at a Bearded Theory gig one time. It was well into it’s set up. I arrived offering my services as usual. I was asked for my mobile ‘phone number and told where to park. I never heard from anyone all weekend.
Another, Green Man, I think it was, I had wanted to go to as Patti Smith was a late addition to the line-up. I had loved her music and poetry since first seeing her on a ‘70s BBC music magazine programme called the Old Grey Whistle Test that I used to watch religiously in my teens. I had never had the chance before this to see her in concert. I arrived, but was told that there was no work. I managed to park in a safe spot by the entrance. Security wanted me gone, but I managed to buy a bit of time to see if there was a way in. A security guard was sympathetic and gave me half an hour to sort a way in. I had been offered work by some people I knew, Sue and Dan, who had been involved with Sunrise Festival, but hadn’t heard from them leading up to the gig. I had even tried ‘phoning them, but had never got an answer. I rang again, one last time. I got through! I asked if the offer was still valid. “Yes” came the answer. “How long will it take (me) to get here?”
“I’m at the gate now.” I said.
“Some-one will be with you shortly to sort out a crew wristband for entry.”
I couldn’t believe it. It was meant to happen, after all. The security guard was astounded and really pleased for me.
Amazingly, there was another spare ticket for some-one willing to do some shifts in the cafè. I called my friend, Becky, who I had an inkling was reasonably nearby.
Patti Smith was great. She sung a wonderful tribute in memory of Amy Winehouse. There were loads of good acts, including Roy Harper, who I had not seen since Stonehenge ’84.
One time, I turned up in a field somewhere in Wiltshire on a Tuesday morning. In the field was a single live-in vehicle. When I reached it, a man appeared and introduced himself as Chris and confirmed that the field was the site of the festival. He looked over my shoulder and said, “Is that a Land Rover?”, speaking the obvious and continuing by saying, “There’s work here for that.” Everything was quickly agreed and I pitched the caravan. Soon, we were setting up the perimeters and moving things and crew about with a trailer that had been supplied. The build progressed quickly and more of the organisers appeared. Then deliveries started to turn up. Everyone looked at me. One of the organisers, Steve, said, “Your job. You’re in charge of vehicle movements.”
“Am I? How come?” I asked.
“You have the Land Rover and therefore in charge of vehicle movements on site.”
Waveform was a great little festival. Very psychedelic. A lot of good things that impacted on my life came out of that festival. I met a contact for some extremely good psychedelic drugs and had one of my most favourite trips there. It was at Waveform that I really got to know my brilliant friends, Zetan Spore (www.zetanspore.co.uk) and that amazing artist and good friend, Robbie (www.psychedelic-art.com).
Before the party started, there was a huge downpour. Getting vehicles on and off site became a challenge. Then there was the most beautiful rainbow, then two, very clear, then a third. The rainbows formed directly over the site. I knew then that this was going to be a good party.
It wasn’t until the Saturday night that I first discovered the amazing experience that is Robbie’s art. As you can imagine, I was by this point tripping heavily. I found myself inside a small marquee which had only UV for lighting. The UV enhanced the most amazing art. Sizeable wall hangings painted using UV paint swayed in the gentle breeze causing them to come alive. I had to go back and find that marquee again on the Sunday, just to make sure that it wasn’t just me imagining something! Sure enough, it was there. I soon got to know Robbie and his amazing wife, who is a genuine bona fide rocket scientist. Since then, I have been involved with his set-up, putting the show together and being part of it’s growth. We’ve had some wonderful times. (I will mention some as we go along.) That Waveform gig was also the same gig that Robbie met Matt, who also became a great friend and part of the gallery set-up.