Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greenbelt Phlegm Vol 1: Greenbelt Day the FIrst

I have just returned from a fantastic weekend at the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham this weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with Greenbelt, it is a music and arts festival that takes place once a year at Cheltenham racecourse. I've been attending for a while, but the last two years I've been working at the festival radio station. So many exciting things happened that I am going to beg your indulgence and present you a blog post for each day of the festival.

Greenbelt is really like nothing else I've ever experienced, the closest I can imagine would be a smaller, more Christian Glastonbury type thing. Click on the link above to find out more. Each year the festival has a theme, this year's being Heaven in Ordinary. This last 6 days, especially with the glorious weather we had, has been the closest to Heaven I have experienced in a long time.

I won't talk about the Thursday when I arrived on site much, except to say that it involved setting up many many tents in the wonderful sunshine, then an evening in the Organic Beer Tent (a recurring event you will find over the next few posts).

Possibly due to the combination of lots of sun and a moderate amount of strong organic beer; myself, Eyan and Anna from the Greenbelt FM team woke on Friday morning with horrific hangovers (like "Urrrrrggggghhhh, I think I'm actually dead" type hangovers). I emerged out of my tent like a George Romero zombie groaning and stumbling around in my search for liquid replenishment (and a banana).

However, on with the show as it were. I had no presenterly duties, so I was dispatched round the festival site on various errands to help prepare for the afternoon's shows. I also did my bit for GB FM publicity by lending my meagre erection skills (oo-errr) to the placement of banners.
I think this picture really does bring out my best features. The 2 inches slightly below my knees. They can be admired on the left of this picture purloined from the official Greenbelt section on Flickr.

I was assigned to help out on Eyan's Live Lunch Show, which went very well. He interviewed some excellent guests including a particularly striking young lady called Alicia from Christian Aid. She was promptly booked to come back in for the remaining Live Lunch shows. This went down very well with the straight male members of the Greenbelt FM team (oo-errrrr. OK time to stop now....)

The rest of the day flashed by in a flurry of activity, including some frenetic planning with my excellent team for my show Greenbelt Today (the first of which I will blog about in the next post).

In the evening I met up with a friend and went to mainstage to see Billy Bragg, which was amazing. The man may not have a great voice, but his songs are as powerful and passionate as ever and he can work a crowd brilliantly. My favourite line from Billy that night was a throwaway comment about how that as he has aged, his music has been upgraded from punk to folk. It had me chuckling quietly under my breath like a lunatic for 5 minutes.

We also tried in vain to go and see something young and trendy in The Gentlemen, who are a very exciting young Sheffield band who Eyan and I cruelly labelled as the Christian Busted on Refresh FM at Easter. They are much better than that and deserve to do exceedingly well. Sadly about 7 million people had the same idea as us and we couldn't squeeze ourselves into the venue to see them.

Finally, the evening started as the day had begun, in the beer tent. I met up with various Manchester people who all commented on the belisha beacon sunburn look I had assiduously cultivated during the day. Thanks go particularly to Stephen Devine who managed to mock my excessively red face despite it being near pitch dark in the beer garden.

In the next thrilling installment of Greenbelt Phlegm:
More beer! I actually get unleashed on a microphone! I interview some Minstrels (not chocolate ones)! I hold real gold in my hand! We inflate chairs! I eat a jacket potato! I buy a hat!


Sarah said...

Didn't you get a press pass to enable you to get in to see things? I had assumed you would...

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

You'd think that wouldn't you. But to be honest I didn't really think to use it to blag my way in!

In hindsight, I probably should have....

Sarah said...

Isn't that why they give you it?