Mlambe at Glastonbury

The trip to Glastonbury started with the usual stresses one could expect – the van wasn’t ready for a while after the time we’d booked it for, a delivery of stuff for the stall had been delivered to my neighbour who then wasn’t in (turning up minutes before we set off) and we only just managed to fit the marquee, stock, dressing table, piles of glitter and everyone’s camping gear in the van- by throwing the last items in and quickly closing the door. Did I mention it was also over 30 degrees whilst we were doing this?

We then hot-footed it down to Somerset, keenly watching the traffic alerts to ensure we made it into the gates before the 10pm deadline. We had only a bottle of water and some cold leftover pizza; refusing to allow ourselves a tea stop until we were well away from the M25 of doom.

By some magic, we managed to make it in four hours and we were finally in the site with ten minutes to spare. Whilst we were giving ourselves celebratory high fives, little did we know the driving difficulties I was about to encounter.

Let it be known that prior to this experience, I thought that reversing a small car onto a ferry whilst island hopping in Greece was the worst driving experience I had encountered. Glastonbury top-trumped that experience, sprinkling difficulties around the van like Salt-Bae. Driving a transit van to our spot with millimetres of space between fences and posts was an experience to say the least– some spaces were so tight that the posts were removed so we could manoeuvre in such a small space!

Eventually, we reached our spot and with no time to pat ourselves (me) on the back for our driving expertise, we started to unload and assemble our lovely purple marquee in the Green Fields. In the dark. Because in our rush, we’d brought just one head torch between us.

 Needless to say, it didn’t take the five minutes to put up that we were promised and we obviously looked pretty ridiculous – so much so that our kind neighbours came and helped us to get the last bits done. Following this was a bit more DIY putting up a clothes rail and organising as much of the marquee as we could, before we gave up, put our tent up, were thankful we didn’t have to move the van, and went to bed.

Wednesday started with all the fiddly little jobs and decorating the marquee. After a full days work (did I mention it was over 30 degrees?!) we shut up ready for the big day tomorrow, wondering how we’d got sunburnt faces being under the marquee all day. Our glitter station was ready, our mini golf was good to go, our chill out area was assembled and looked a rather inviting little spot to rest and admire our bright purple tent.

Thursday was an early start and had most of the volunteers working the stall for most of the day – we discovered that Saalim had set a trend for glitter beards as a queue of people started forming. Three straight hours of glittering later, we started to wonder how we were ever going to remove the glitter from our hands. Washing, rubbing, and more washing hadn’t worked. It turns out that parcel tape works a treat and managed to remove most of the remaining glitter. Although, a week later somehow my desk at work has traces of glitter still…

The trend for glitter beards continued throughout the weekend with ombre styles and UV beards added in for good measure, with the added trend for glitter hair to go with the copious glitter faces. Jamie tested our artistic abilities with a Bowie-esque glitter lightning bolt, decorated tastefully with surrounding glitter stars in a true Ziggy Stardust fashion. The best thing about our glitter station was that it wasn’t reserved to the young or the female of the species – we glittered everyone from young children to those in their senior years, men and women. Turns out very few people can resist the lure of a bit of glitter.

In addition to the glitter station, our mini golf was going down a storm – which it continued to do unless the rain meant we had to cover it up, quickly, (with the vintage clothes we had for sale) like some rubbish game show where you fail to win anything despite completing the task as fast as you can.

Green Fields had a lovely vibe and was filled with many happy, friendly and caring people. Although we were on a quiet stretch, we had a fun pitch and we were able to speak to many interesting people who were interested in the charity. The festival went incredibly fast and we were able to speak to many people about the charity, informing them about what the Mlambe Project stands for and what it does, not to mention raising imperative funds to allow this work to continue.

An amazing time was had by all volunteers and we’re now dealing with the Glastonbury blues by counting down the 720 days until the next one. We’ll see you in the queue for the glitter beards…