I expected to return from Glastonbury with eye bags down to my cervix, bits of Billy Bragg in my hair, trench foot and a massive smile.
I didn’t expect to return with a new man who handily had the surname ‘Glass’, which made a pleasingly smug pun for the Glass-tonbury Festival themed wedding we had, five years later.
At the time, I wrote a newspaper column and my annual highlight was not the Oscars or Cannes, it was being sent to Worthy Farm, even if it meant deliriously bashing copy on a muddy keyboard after three minutes sleep.
Matt, who worked on a different section of the paper, was heading to his first Glasto 14 years ago and, after hearing I was going too, offered to give me and my friend a lift.
And I don’t know what Michael Eavis puts in the mud, but that night, I’d given up the lovely Podpad I was sharing with my friend to stay in a rancid tent with Matt and his friend – who was less thrilled with the admittedly, awkward scenario. So it must have been love.
We left sleep and personal hygiene back in the real world (Picture: Charli Morgan)
It remains one of the best weekends I’ve ever survived, fuelled by homemade, beige Skittles vodka, strained through the gusset of my (unworn) tights.
There is nowhere like it in the world and I loved seeing Matt’s (increasingly bloodshot) eyes light up as he experienced it with me for the first time – that kiddie, Christmas morning awe everybody gets on their first Glasto, when a mind-boggling, pagan city of 200,000 people explodes for one weekend, before returning to cow pastures for another year.
As accidental first dates go, it’s intense – we left sleep and personal hygiene back in the real world and skidded relentlessly through the mud for four days, befriending nudists, being sent by the paper to open the Glade Stage looking like a demented Abba, dancing, singing, discovering deliciously weird pockets of fun and slipping wristbands between us to slink into the less chilling, VIP loos.
I don’t know what Michael Eavis puts in that mud (Picture: Charli Morgan)
We’d leap from fire breathing spiders to futuristic worlds made from junk and then talk nonsense to strangers until the sun rose again, wearing four layers of mud-caked knitwear and looking out across the twinkling candles studding the Stone Circle, at that extraordinary, temporary world.
Amy Winehouse belted out Rehab in blue sequins on the Pyramid stage, the sheets of rain stopped and a rainbow fired across the sky as Elbow launched into One Day Like This and we left CSS, Battles and MGMT’s set with glowsticks coming out of every orifice.
We’d skipped the polite, first date chat and had jumped, welly first, down a rabbit hole filled with so many brilliant and bizarre experiences, that by the time we left, it felt like we’d known each other forever.
We had a Glass-tonbury themed wedding (Pictures: Supplied)
The following year, I quit my job a few days before Glastonbury and we enjoyed it for the first time without boss-eyed, keyboard bashing – Michael Jackson died just after we arrived (I have an alibi) and I watched the other journalists race back to file copy as we settled down to a cold cider.
We continued to make our annual pilgrimage to the fields of flapping, Technicolor flags and strobe-lit skies, cut with sherbet flares. It was endlessly brilliant. But nothing touched that first time together, until we made our own little Glastonbury when we got married.
Luckily, Matt’s friend got over the PTSD of sharing a small tent with us and agreed to be best man.
Our Pyramid Stage cake was supported by edible wellies (Picture: Supplied)
I arrived at the Eden Project in a camper van, our ridiculously talented friend made table piece replicas of everything from the Pyramid Stage and Shangri-La to the Stone Circle and Trash City.
Guests had festival lanyards, our Pyramid Stage cake was supported by edible wellies, sleep played a very small cameo and my white dress ended its life covered in so much mud, I looked like a pint of Guinness.
We haven’t been back since having children, who provide all the sleepless nights, horrific toilet discoveries and nonsensical chat we need.
But we’ll be watching it on the TV this weekend, clean and warm, but wishing we were there, shouting over the drums and covered in dirt.
There’s magic in that Worthy Farm mud.
So, How Did It Go?
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