Maddie: “Preparing (at 54) for my first Glasto with my son”

Woooo!!! – Preparing for my first Glasto aka Glastonbury Festival with my son at 54 – My son has been saying for some years, ‘Get registered Mum, and I’ll put you in our syndicate’. I was quietly vey vey chuffed, my dear beloved son, who was ‘God knows where’ most of his teen years,  inviting me to such a sacred place. Course I was. But did not take action. Couldn’t quite believe it probably. Camping up close with all his friends, the most ‘barrassin, ‘nnoyin person ON THIS EARTH. His two worlds colliding. But his lady-love Poppy informed me he said , ‘Mum would love it here.’ last Glasto. I guess that tipped it.

There is a deadline for registering and he kept reminding me. He wrote detailed How-Tos to make sure I got a return coach. The security is clearly a big priority, it must be a something like a middle-class ASBO, to snuck into Glasto without paying? And they are securing hedges, after all,  which are notoriously porous. They needed a scan of my photo ID, like I was applying for a visa to China.

Tickets are handed over in person once on the coach

Tickets are handed over in person once on the coach

Next the drama of getting tickets. He sent the syndicate spreadsheet, and I saw I was on the top table, in his group , which meant someone had been booted off. I’m crying as I write this. He had collated all the names, reg numbers and postcodes of everyone. There was a very specific window to reserve the tickets and we were primed repeatedly to be ready with a dozen screens open. My husband is the IT expert and he took over. We were told to have the details of our group all easily copiable because when a screen let us in, we had to move very fast. The screen could freeze with the overload and delay and you’d be back in the ‘queue’.

Sunday 9am came. My husband rarely gets up then, but we were all caffeinated and hyped, with the ‘waiting’ rings all circling. After 10 minutes – beginner’s luck I swear – we were in and our group registered and paid up in a flash. Tadashi was hyperventilating. That’s how big this is. He was the toast of the town. Some made it in in the first wave, some didn’t, luck of the draw. They’d be back for another stab.

Friends advised against camping; I’d get no sleep… And sleep for me is everything. I thought about yurts and B&Bing, but I would be out of the huddle and that would be a real shame. The one thing I absolutely HATE about camping is trudging to the loo in the middle of the night, because by the time you get back you’re all perky and can’t get back to sleep. I researched toilet tents and porta-potties, which the group could share. Over lunch one day I reported back and he shot me an old ‘barrassin’ look. ‘It’s alright for you, you just piss up against someone else’s tent’. I dropped the tent idea and thought about in-house. Tadashi always keeps in his knicker drawer for some mysterious reason, a ‘pocket toilet’ bag, for relieving yourself when hiking. He never hikes. He  calculated pissifically how many I would need over 4 nights, so I’m taking two of these bags, with a plastic bowl to stand it up in and squat on. To accommodate this mod-con comfortably, I’ve bought a tent with two rooms, one of which I can stand up in, my ‘chamber’ – as in pot. Mischief managed.

With a month to go, Nicholas made a kit list and came over to discuss it. It’s brilliant having the insights from a veteran. You bring the alcohol, but buy the mixers there, so bring a light-weight mixing flask. Meals are bought there, but bring snacks. Amongst all the toothpaste and underwear, he’s written beautiful things like ‘All your glamorous outfits’ and ‘Gin (as much as you need for 4 days)’. He’s asked about what drugs I would like to try. (Christ!?) I said none, in case I have a bad reaction, but he wasn’t having it. ‘Shrooms mebbe?’


Snacks and a plastic decanter for my gin, no glass allowed


Snacks and a plastic decanter for my gin, no glass allowed


I hauled my daughter’s big DofE backpack down from the attic and scavenged some good kit. It’s like prepping for the Amazon and the North Pole all at once, you never know what the heavens will throw at you. I’m flooding my tailor with alterations on non-negotiable deadlines ‘or I go elsewhere’.



Caption: Already busting and only half packed…


The latest plan was to print out all the lineups on all the stages, but when I looked at the first sheet to appear on the printer tray, it was p99/99, so thet was the end of thet. I’m working from the top down instead. I’ll have a handful of printouts for the big stages in case I have no reception, with notes about each band. Then I started creating a Spotify playlist (at madsoffputney) of the top 10 most popular songs  for each band for each stage for each day so theoretically I can listen to all the offerings before I go and cherry pick on the day. Now I realise that I have ab-so-lutely NO CONCEPT of how big this is. The quantity of air-time  available simultaneously in one Glasto will fill a whole year of back-to-back listening, so my virgo-thoroughness has been scaled down again. I’m scanning for rock.

I also hear two primary school friends in my daughter’s old crew are playing in The Rabbit Hole at 5pm on Friday. And their mums are going to be there, so knees up Mothers!

Sooo exciting!


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