Posted by: seasonaire | November 17, 2013

Summer Summary Part 1

Half way through November and I am only just getting around to writing something about last summer. Perhaps a sign of my talents as a procrastinator. It all seems rather remote now I am sat in a snowy Alpine village deciding whether to take the skis or snowboard for a spin. This past year, with several festivals under my belt, it looks like I have finally hit the jackpot in terms of summer to winter seasonal existence, long may it continue.

In the world of festivals, as in many other realms, what you know counts for far less than who you know. The skills come later. If you are happy to exist on the bottom rung as an unpaid or barely paid steward, taking your chances on shift patterns and subjecting yourself to potentially draconian rules, then be my guest. You will have little or no responsibility, and you may chance upon getting time off just when your favourite act is playing. For winter season reference, this is the festival equivalent of being on the bottom rung for a large tour op who crams you into a tiny bunk room and gives you 60 quid a week in return for 40 hours of work. Yes you get to have a good time, meet great people and enjoy your environment, but when you have a few years of real work under your belt, being treated like an idiot minion loses its shine. This year’s Glastonbury was a case in point. I was doing paid work, but it was so appalling that it deserves a whole other post just to describe the sheer horror of nine back-to-back 12 hour nightshifts in freezing temperatures. A post which, no doubt, I will write at some point, but don’t hold your breath.

Once bitten, twice shy, the terrible time I had at Glastonbury made me pull out of all the other work I had signed up for with this particular stewarding company, who shall remain nameless, but only because the UK has some of the harshest libel laws in the world.

Secret Garden Party was next on the list, and after a shaky start with jobs being changed, I was back in my old position as tabard-wearing chieftain. Everything the light touched was my kingdom, sort of, and I had my very own gate minions, who I provided with chairs and sometimes even coffee (I am nice like that, and understand the pain of being stuck on a boring gate for 8 hours). The best thing about SGP, or any festival for that matter, is the crew. We were all together, one huge happy family with a big camp fire, several luxury gazebos and power hook ups for all the vans (OK the material comforts helped too).

The perhaps surprising thing about festival crews is, that these people are really good at what they do. Most people outside of the fold seem to think we are all just a bunch of stoners in a field. I am not going to deny, that most people working in an industry specifically geared to showing their consumers a good time, get involved with the hedonism to a certain extent, but with the authorities on your back, looking for any excuse to shut your festival down, the crew have to run a pretty tight ship. This being my first proper year, I have been consistently impressed by the standard of field stoners I have come across, truly a  different breed compared to the self-important imbeciles who seem to get away with managing most conventional companies.

It was thanks to some serendipitous meetings, usually around the campfire, that I managed to secure my next jobs, but this post is getting a little long, and the mountain is calling, so I will leave that one for next time.

The Shambala Pirate Ship

The Shambala Pirate Ship

 

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