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Every year I donate my time to the Children’s World Charity which was founded in 1981 by Arabella Churchill in order to  provide educational, creative and social benefits for all children with particular reference to children with special needs.  Essentially my job involves issuing laminated passes to the backstage and camping areas for crew, stewards, and performers in the Theatre and Circus field.  This means that I get to attend the festival for free, get fed, and have a secure area in which to camp whilst the charity benefits from not having to pay huge amounts in labour fees and importing lots of people who love spending money in the cafe and bar.  Each year when I come back I like to make a note of the best, and worst, bits as an aide memoir in times to come.

The Good

Meeting up again with all the people I only ever see at Pilton – it is like being part of an enormous second (slightly dysfunctional) family of strange and wonderful people.

Meeting new folks this year, and having new people on the team.

The composting loos – toilets become a major part of life when you are onsite at a large festival for 10 days.  The composting ones just don’t smell as bad as portaloos and they are much more green.

Delicious new foodstuffs to try, and for the first time in 6 festivals I visited the Hare Krishna tent, listened to a very long rendition of hare krishna and ate a free lunch of veggie curry, poppadum and rice.  Most delicious.

Best Acts I saw this year:  Briefs!   4 Poofs and a Piano.  And Dolly Parton.  Plus lots of smaller bands, circus acts and so on.

Showers – clean and hot!! What more can one ask for!

The Green Room Bar – put simply the best backstage bar in the land.  Much sought after visitors wristbands are issued to allow people to come backstage and partake of the beverages, bands and random acts of weirdness that prevail here.  I spend a lot of my time here when I am not working 😉

On site vehicle parking.  For which I am endlessly grateful.  I am not sure my back can cope with struggling to and from the car park with tons of gear any more.  Driving on and off site is a real luxury for us middle aged birds.  The drive off was long, hot and hellish, mainly due to a vehicle breakdown.  But it seems better organised each year.

The Bad

People’s toileting routines.  Men should sit if they are too drunk to walk in a straight line to the loo.  Obvious reason here, not pleasant when you have to practically sanitise the whole area before you sit down for a wee.  And people knocking the doors off so basically women are unable to use them.  Not cool.  Also not all of them had roofs, not so fab in the rain.  That said, we did find a couple of secretly stashed crew loos complete with their roof…and potential crisis was averted!

Exhaustion!  By the time the festy kicks off I have had enough of going outside the compound.  Too tired.  Place too crowded.  The best bit is watching the festival build up around you and wandering the near empty site.  After that, I pop out to see a few select acts, get some of the yummy food on offer,  and prop up the backstage bar.

The Ugly

There was absolutely nothing awful about the festival experience this year. The weather was not a real problem, mud was manageable and although we had a couple of really torrential downpours was nowhere near as bad as I have seen it in previous years.

Receiving hate mail about a facebook page that is not even my page.  Eventually I blocked offenders and logged off on the phone.  Sadly this mean I did not take as many pics as usual but it did mean that my daughter could use the phone to keep in touch with friends online and I got to enjoy my one holiday of the year without constantly putting up with other peoples crap!


On balance….bloody marvelous time was had.  Bring it on next year 🙂