|The early part of 1990 had been very difficult, my mum died at Easter and shortly afterwards we found out that Val was pregnant with our first baby and shortly after that she was dashed into hospital with a suspected ectopic pregnancy which, thankfully turned out to be a false alarm.|
|Despite (or perhaps because of) all this we decided to go to Glastonbury. The ticket price had jumped a huge £10 from the previous year to this year's price of £38, which was blamed on the Governments new regulations brought in to clamp down on illegal raves. The festival was also billed as the 20th anniversary festival as the first had taken place in 1970 - there had in fact only been a festival in 13 of those 20 years.The weather wasn't too clever either it was raining but nowhere near as bad as it had been in 1985. We decided to travel down on the Wednesday for the first time to ahem, prolong the experience! My last words to Val before we set off were "Do you want me to put your hiking boots in the car just in case?" She said that she would be all right but by the end of the weekend she said to me "Just ignore me in future if I say don't put my boots in". Since that day they have always gone in the boot!|
|Anyway we arrived on site, parked our car and carried our tent and bags all the way to the Kings Meadow at the top of the site. When we arrived I dropped the tent and set off to the other side of the field to go to the toilet. On the way there I was approached by a shifty looking character "Acid?" he said. I replied "Don't be silly I haven't put the tent up yet!". He then said, "Well it would make it more fun!".|
|It rained on the Thursday - boy did it rain. The sky just seemed to open and a stream of water fell on us. After a whole day of running for shelter every 20 minutes we saw a stall selling tie-dye umbrellas so we bought one. It was strange but as long as we carried it, it didn't rain but the few times we left it in the tent it poured. However most of our clothes were now very wet and Val was miserable, pregnant and miserable! On the Friday morning Val wanted to go home, I explained that we hadn't seen any bands yet but that didn't cut any ice. I suggested that we go and have a shower to make us feel a bit better, reluctantly she agreed.|
|We set off down to the shower block at the bottom of the hill and stood in line for a while. Once we were clean we headed back to the tent, just as we got there the sun came out and suddenly everything seemed better. We put all our wet things over the tent and they dried out nicely.
It was at this time that Michael Eavis was trying to move the festival away from being the standard rock festival and making it more of an all round arts festival. It was for this reason that he stayed away from booking big name acts and even suggested that in future he wouldn't book any major acts so that people would come for the event not the names. It was because of this the name of the festival had changed to "The Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts" and the French theatre group Archaos had been booked to perform in the headline slot on the Pyramid stage on both the Friday and Saturday nights.
|To be honest I can't remember who we saw on the Friday apart from Archaos. Also on the main stage that day were Green on Red, The Neville Brothers, Adamski and The Happy Mondays but I don't remember seeing any of them. We did go down to the stage that evening to see Archaos, the stage had been decked out with platforms and strange contraptions on the roof of the pyramid. We were quite a way back from the front and it was difficult to tell what was going on. The few things I do remember were people racing around in strange costumes waving chain saws and dustbin lids. There was also a woman who appeared to stand at the very apex of the stage completely naked (or at least that's what it looked like at that distance!)|
|The people in the next tent had a small baby and I don't think the baby was enjoying the festival very much, it cried all the time. One day the mum went off and left the dad with the baby to look after, he didn't do a very good job of it and we were glad when she came back. It did make us wonder, though, if we were doing the right thing. We spent some time discussing whether we should bring our baby the following year, as it would only be 6 months old. In the end the festival wasn't on the following year so we didn't have to make that decision!
Another of this years big things were ĉolian harps, which are stringed instruments which are played entirely by the wind. There was a display in the green field, which we kept going back to. Unfortunately most of the times we went there was nothing going on. Eventually we did get to see them and to be honest it was quite disappointing as they were barely audible and needed amplification to hear anything at all!
|On the Saturday we managed to see a few more bands than the Friday. Among the bands we saw that day were Del Amitri who were riding high with their hit "Nothing ever happens". Over in the acoustic tent we saw Katherine Tickell and Alias Ron Kavana before wandering back to the Pyramid stage to see Sinead O'Connor.|
|Headlining that night on the Acoustic Stage was one of my all time heroes Roy Harper. I was really looking forward to seeing him at my favourite festival but when we got to the Acoustic tent we found it was full to overflowing with almost as many people outside as there were inside. We listened for a bit but it wasn't the same and we wandered back to the Kings Meadow. Curiously though we could hear Roy better on the other side of the site than we could sitting outside the tent.|
|Sunday morning and the weather had improved enough for us to jettison our boots and umbrella before setting off for a shower. Standing in the queue it soon became obvious that the guy who ran the showers was in a very bad mood. He spent a lot of time shouting at the people in the queue and would suddenly turn off the water with little or no warning. Val was left naked and covered in soap when the water was suddenly turned off, no amount of shouting "there's a pregnant woman in here still covered in soap" could get him to turn the water back on. She had to wait until he let another group of people in and turned the water back on to finish her shower. (Even then some bloke tried to push her out of the way).|
|Meanwhile it had been raining outside (we'd left the umbrella back at the tent!) and the ground had become very slippy. We slithered our way back to the tent we me having to hang onto Val in order to keep upright --needless to say she didn't think this was a good idea.
That day on the main stage we saw the Hothouse Flowers and Ry Cooder. We wandered down to the front to see Ry Cooder but to be honest I could tell which one he was! Anyway he wasn't playing anything like the sort of music I knew him for so we wandered off after a few minutes. At the entrance to the travellers' field we met someone who told us that Hawkwind had played at dawn that morning but I don't know how true that was.
So Val had survived Glastonbury while being pregnant, the weather hadn't helped but it hadn't been as wet as in 1985. The festival wasn't held the following year because of a riot in the travellers' field after the festival finished. The next time we would wander the fields of Glastonbury would be in 1992 and once again our lives would change significantly before then.
All Photographs İ Kevin Shewan