Charlotte Higgins. The Guardian’s chief culture writer, has never been to the world’s biggest music festival, Glastonbury. Published 26 June 2022.
I go to the Healing Field, which strikes me as as good a place as any to start my exploration. Here, I join in with some Osho meditation, which involves breathing exercises alternated with bouts of cathartic screaming.
It’s a cliche you overhear people saying to their first-timer friends as they enter the site: Glastonbury festival is a city, in which 200,000 people live for just less than a week and which has no purpose other than pleasure. It is, indeed, the sort of impossible city that you can imagine Jorge Luis Borges writing a story about.
But until you have climbed the hill to what they call the Crow’s Nest, by the embers of the giant bonfire lit to mark the festival’s opening, it is difficult to absorb the grandeur and absurdity of the fact that, almost as far as the eye can see, this broad valley is covered in tents and pavilions and stages and waves and eddies of innumerable people. There is a bit in Homer’s Iliad where we are told that the campfires burning in the Greeks’ camp at Troy are as bright and numerous as the stars on a clear night. This came to mind when I gazed down at the Glastonbury festival.
I have never been to Glastonbury before. These are the summer festivals I like: the Proms. Edinburgh – especially the book festival. Glyndebourne. It’s not that I don’t regard Glastonbury as culturally important; it’s more that I dislike crowded places and have an old-fashioned respect for properly built sewers. Still, invited to taste the world’s biggest music festival – a glaring gap in my experience – who am I to refuse? […]
On my first day, I go to the Healing Field, which strikes me as as good a place as any to start my exploration. Here, I join in with some Osho meditation, which involves breathing exercises alternated with bouts of cathartic screaming. I also sign up for the supposedly stress-relieving Alexander technique, find that gong baths are booked out and pass on the holistic palmist, who is sitting in his tiny enclosure with his shirt off, munching on a packet of Walkers crisps.
While enquiring about a cacao ritual (no idea), I meet a woman called Laura Bam Bam who recommends her laughter yoga class. This is not the yoga I know; it feels more like drama-class warmup. One minute, we are doing a “Dr Evil” cackle; the next, roaring like lions, then hooting derisively at an imagined post-Glastonbury credit card bill, which seems a sensible exercise given that tickets are £280. At the end, we lie down in a circle. Whatever comes is OK, we are told – and what comes is little tides of giggles, rising to big breakers of belly laughs. All these workshops are offered for free, or for donations. It is altogether delightful. […]
Read whole article: www.theguardian.com
Photo: Antonio Olmos