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Octopuses abound at Glastonbury

June 30, 2017

Octopuses abound at Glastonbury

For Lucy Windsor, Product Manager at Labs, attending Glastonbury was a rite of passage. Like many of her friends, she began volunteering as a teenager doing arts and crafts with children and making costumes for the Sunday parade. Nostalgia for those early years keeps drawing Lucy back, along with the opportunity to see exciting new performances. “The variety and quality of music being played is incredible,” said Lucy. “No other festival quite lives up to it.”

Now in its 48th year, having held 36 festivals, Glastonbury is far from being an arts festival startup. It is the largest greenfield festival in the world, attended by some 175,000 punters. Yet, despite its huge success, it manages to maintain a feeling of community, cooperation and silliness. “Almost 50% of people were dressed up in some kind of bizarre clothing,” said Joe Jones, Communications Executive at Labs (he himself dressing as a can of SPAM for the event). “You’d look out of place in shorts and a t-shirt.”

Karyna Silina, Project Manager at Labs, had her doubts about Glastonbury: “I was very sceptical and only went out of camaraderie.” But the festival turned out to be a transformative experience for Karyna. “I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and got rewarded with a new inspiration, new memories, new friends and broadened music interests.”

Glastonbury is often depicted as a raucous party, but there is a very serious side. Most of the profits go to charities. And, with the exception of technical and security staff, the festival is mostly run by volunteers. Charities that benefit from the festival are numerous, too, and include Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid.

Then there are the logistics of creating an event this massive. 4,000 toilets. 2,000,000 litres of supplied water. Medical facilities. 250 bio-diesel generators. 24 km of festoon lighting. Some 400 food stalls. A recycling network dealing with 300 tonnes of waste and compost. And over 2,000 volunteers.

“This event seems to be flooded by volunteers,” observed Karyna. Volunteerism, Karyna believes, is at the heart of Glastonbury. “It’s the magic ingredient — like-minded people who care about what they create rather than what they put in their pockets.” Karyna plans to volunteer next time, perhaps utilizing her experience building theatre sets. “I know how to use my drill,” she adds.