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Little Fluffy Clouds

After the 1990 festival we had wondered if we should take our baby the following year but as it turned out the festival wasn't on in 1991. So by the time the festival took place in 1992 our daughter Bethany was nearly 18 months old. There had been one or two other changes in our life. We had moved out of London and now lived in Rochester in Kent. We had moved into a rented house in December the previous year only to find out Val was pregnant again three days later. We moved again 6 weeks before the festival and by the time we set off to the site Val was 7 months.

We had a few concerns about going - we wondered what would happen if Val went into labour at the festival. I searched all the info that we had been sent but couldn't find any number to call that wasn't a recorded message. In desperation I called the number that was in the info leaflet for traders hoping they'd be able to point me in the right direction. The phone rang a few times before it was answered "Worthy Farm". I apologised and explained the situation, the girl who answered said she would put Mrs. Eavis on. Once again I explained our dilemma and she listened before saying that in her opinion Val would be better off having her baby at the festival than in many of the local hospitals!

1992 ticket We only had one more hurdle to get over and that was an antenatal appointment on the Wednesday morning. We packed everything into the car and set off for the hospital. Luckily Val was given a clean bill of health and off the three of us set to Glastonbury. We stopped on the way, at the red phone box you pass on the right as you drive through Castle Cary, to phone Val's mum to let her know but she wasn't in!

We arrived on site and parked the car in the west car park, we grabbed our tent (well the big one we had borrowed from my dad - along with an airbed) and set off to the Kings Meadow. Once through the gate Val found a purse that someone had dropped. She took it back to the gate and handed it over to the security people there. Almost as soon as we set off again a girl came chasing after us, it was her purse, it was her first Glastonbury, the purse had all her money in it, she couldn't thank us enough, could she give us some money. We said it was all right and set off to find our camping space.

On the way we stopped and bought a programme, which seemed to say that there was no camping in the Kings Meadow. Sure enough when we got there we saw a sign saying No Camping. We sat for a while wondering what we should do until I remembered that I'd seen a sign saying Green camping back along the road so we headed back there and put up the tent. It took several journeys to get all of our stuff onto the site and then I had the embarrassment of having to blow up the airbed. (Back in those days the festival was attended by real hippies who shunned such luxuries - but as Val pointed out they weren't seven months pregnant.

Pregnant Val interlude

Val and Beth shelter from the sun Val with the lump that was to become Rhianna  Val didn't let being pregnant stop her from shopping

The weather was very hot much to Val's disgust as she found it most uncomfortable. It meant that we had to retreat to the shelter of the tent a great deal to protect both Val and Bethany from the sun. When she wasn't hiding from the sun Bethany travelled the site in either her pushchair or in a backpack carried by her Dad.

Not all the best shows are on the main stgaes On the Thursday morning we had arranged to meet some friends by either the milk stand which had, in previous years been at the top of the hill or by the cider bus at 12 noon. Unfortunately both of them had been moved in a major reorganisation of the site to a layout, which now forms the basis of the festival. However we did manage to find them eventually.
We agreed to meet them again that evening and set off to wander around.That evening we met up again and spent the evening drinking by the cider bus until quite late. When we set off back to the tent I was really glad to have the pushchair to lean on to keep me upright. I also discovered that the crowds just parted to let us through or at least that's how it seemed. Open air boogie

There had been some changes to the festival since the last one. One major change was a move away from the idea of not booking major acts and the addition of another two stages - the NME stage and the Jazz stage. Friday morning and we saw our first band of the weekend, Kirsty McColl who was on the Pyramid stage. Later that day I left Val and Bethany in the tent as I set off to see my first band on the new stage, The Orb. My memory of the NME stage that year was that it was plonked in the corner of a field. I seem to remember that the Orb had two big silver orbs on the stage and they were behind them. They were great but the sound simply wasn't loud enough although Val would disagree. Back in the so-called Green camping field noise pollution from the NME stage kept her and Bethany awake.

Another major change was that CND were no longer the major benefactor - Michael Eavis had decided that with the thawing of relations between East and West the arms race was coming to an end. Mr. Eavis decided that at this time of the century the most pressing concerns were that of the Environment and the third world - so Greenpeace and Oxfam became the major beneficiaries. Campsite shrouded in mist

Bethany Interlude

More!! This isn't very nice Dad can I have some cider? ....that's better!!

After the Orb I wandered down to the Pyramid stage to see Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Either side of the stage were video walls which the techies had spent all day setting up - and they still weren't working! This amused me greatly as I work in the presentations industry. Curiously I would later employ the person responsible for this cock up!!!!

After watching the band for a while I headed off back to the tent and my family. It was one night as I got back into the tent that Bethany woke up. Val snuggled into her and as she did she noted that Bethany had "Doggy breath". "Woof woof" Bethany replied and we both collapsed in hysterics. It was also this year that Val heard a commotion during the night and when we woke up we discovered that someone had had a poo outside our tent!!

Saturday saw the arrival of the band every one wanted to see - The Levellers. First up though we saw a great Irish band called the Saw Doctors who were excellent. The Levellers themselves were on late afternoon. Such was there popularity that everyone wondered why they weren't headlining. We put Bethany in the backpack and headed off to see them. The band was in top form but blotted their copybook with the festival organisers by criticising them for the decision not to let the travellers onto the site. (although Michael Eavis sought them out afterwards and explained his reasons and they kissed and made up!) Bethany sat in the backpack throughout the set until they band played One way at which point she recognised the song and danced away in the best seat in the house. At the end of the song the band went off and Bethany joined in with the calls for more. Festival Poster

By this time Val was feeling really tired so we set off back to the tent. I queued for some water before setting off again to head for the Pyramid stage to see Lou Reed. He was already on stage and playing "Walk on the wild side" when I got there. He played a good set but it seemed to be mostly new stuff. Afterwards Shakespears Sister headlined (remember them?) and I caught Nik Turners Fantastic Allstars in a tent on the way back to ours.

Sunday afternoon had a space in the schedule for the main stage, which was, designated "Special Guest". In the past this had meant that at the time of going to press they hadn't booked anyone. After seeing Richard Thompson in the morning we went to the Information tent to find out who was on. The sign said Tom Jones…..the only Tom Jones I could think of was the "My, my, my, Delilah dobedobedo" Tom Jones. It couldn't be that one….could it?

Yes it is that Tom Jones!!!! When the time came we wandered down to the Pyramid stage and sure enough there was the gravel-voiced Welshman working his way through his back catalogue. He was fantastic and almost everyone who arrived in front of the Pyramid stage that afternoon said the same thing "It is that Tom Jones" And so the Sunday afternoon "Old Duffers" spot was invented. Filling the spot in the following years would be acts like Page and Plant, Jackson Browne, Tony Bennett and Bob Dylan.

And it didn't do Tom Jones' career any harm either!!

Later this evening we headed over to the Avalon Stage to see ex-Gong frontman Daevid Allen. The Avalon stage was in a small tent up in the Green field and at that time was in its infancy.

When we arrived we thought it was Gong on the stage as we could hear a Gilli Smyth sound alike singing. It turned out to be a band called Kangermoon who I hadn't heard of them before. They overran a lot and in the end we left before Daevid Allen came on.

The next morning we packed up and headed back to the car. As we were walking from the site Val confessed that she was disappointed that she hadn't actually had the baby at the festival. She was also approached by another girl who said that she was pregnant and was glad she wasn't the only person mad enough to come to the festival in that state.

The pyramid stage

The previous year we had gone back to the car and driven straight off the site and headed for breakfast in Glastonbury. This year we planned to do the same. Unfortunately when we got to the car it was obvious that we were going very far. We sat in the car for an hour and didn't move so we headed back onto the site to get some breakfast. When we returned to the car the traffic still hadn't moved. We had the bright idea to walk down to Glastonbury.

We put Bethany in the pushchair and followed the static queue of cars down the track to the exit. Once on the main road we headed off in the direction of the town. Unfortunately we soon discovered it was a lot further than we thought it was - seven miles in fact. We did try hitching but unfortunately nobody wanted to pick up two people, one of whom was obviously pregnant and pushing a pushchair!

In the end we gave up and headed back to the car. We couldn't believe it but the car that had been at the end of the queue 4 hours ago still hadn't moved. We were very angry because if we had left a dog in a car on such a hot day we would have been criticised or even arrested for cruelty, but here we were with a young child in the same situation. Anyway I suddenly saw something that might just work - a section of the fence had been taken down and it was lying over the ditch surrounding the site. I saw some cars driving over it so I thought I'd give it a try.

Bethany and her first psycadellic moment Stages everywhere

It felt a bit dodgy but with my heart in my mouth we made it over the section of fence. Once on the site I was amazed at the ease with which I was able to drive around the site. Eventually I arrived at the Farmhouse gate. I expected to be turned back but amazingly I was waved through and we drove through the farm into the village and out onto the road at Pilton.

Our second daughter arrived about two months later after a scare a mere two weeks after the festival when Val went into labour 6 weeks early. Once in hospital the contractions were down to 2 minutes apart and preparations were being made for the birth. We were taken to the premature baby unit to be shown round and after that the contractions suddenly stopped. Rhianna was eventually born on 22nd August, almost on the day she was due.

As she was only 8 months old when the 1993 festival came around we decided to leave her with her Grandparents and just take Bethany.

Hey Baby take a walk on the Wild side

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All Photographs © Kevin Shewan except Tom Jones picture photographer possibly Ann Cook - photo "borrowed" from Glastonbury - The first 25 years and tarted up by Kevin Shewan!