Thursday, 21 April 2022

GLASTONBURY CND FESTIVAL - WEP




WRITE EDIT PUBLISH

The music theme continues this month April 2022 giving us 

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall 
Bob Dylan 




Glastonbury CND Festival

 It wasn’t the summer of love per se.  It was summer and I was in love. 

Glastonbury!

A music festival. 

A four-day weekend – travel on Friday, return on Monday. Work on Tuesday. 

Such a long journey straight across England, it seemed to take all day although the men said it would be four hours, they didn’t count on breaks, traffic jams and kids needing breaks.


                              Image taken from Google images

I didn’t really follow protests, demonstrations, politics etc but in my limited knowledge CND, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, was a pretty frightening aspect of life in the early 1980’s. 

We didn’t have much money but with another couple (and their two young kids, one a babe-in-arms) we hired a camper van and drove to Glastonbury in Somerset.  The two men took turns in driving and us girls and the kids were in the back on hard bench seats, no seat belts, thrown from side to side, especially when the friend took over the driving.  I’d never realised before that some people weren’t very good drivers – my chap was an excellent driver but Paul, well that was another story. 

As we approached the farm, stopped by police checks, my heart was in my throat as I knew there were illegal substances aboard – not for me – honest, well maybe I would indulge being away from home but I didn’t really like it.  Luckily, I think having the kids with us helped us get through that bit and we followed the directions.

We parked on the slope of a hill.  A good vantage point we thought, we could see the stage with its CND banner and logo over it and congratulated ourselves we had parked in a pretty good spot. 

So naïve. 

As the campground filled up, colourful tents were pitched, painted vans of all sorts and sizes parked haphazardly in front of us, to the side of us and behind us.  It was just a sea of chaos and cacophony.  Places were marked around your site with flags and banners and anything else you didn’t mind if it was ‘borrowed’ while you were out of the van/tent or just asleep. 

 

                                Image taken from Google images

It was certainly an experience and quite eye-opening for an innocent 26-year-old, sheltered girl originally from a small village who moved to a small town.

Facilities were basic (toilets – we won’t go there and I only went when desperate, very desperate).  Water was available from various standpipes; you could buy firewood and make your camp fire.  Luckily the van had cooking facilities but we often found we ate at the vendors selling all sorts of foods.  You could get burgers, hot dogs or more lifestyle foods, vegetarian foods, lentils, vegetable curries etc. - vegans hadn’t quite found the market they have these days.

We were very lucky and the weather was hot in the day, a tad chillier in the evening and night time.

The music was LOUD. 

The bands were good and CND were out in full force. 

It seemed to me that a lot of people, although probably agreeing with the cause, were mainly there to enjoy the music and to get drunk or stoned and have a thoroughly good time.

The smells were different, ranging from weed, hashish, alcohol and certainly some stuff I wasn’t sure about.  Having a wander around, people were enjoying bongs, hookahs and various other substances. 

Wood smoke from people’s fires wreathed through the still air, the stars were out and everybody was calm and mellow.

Wandering down towards the pyramid stage, the musky smell of incense and unwashed bodies, as you tried to shoulder past to get nearer the music, luckily my chap was tall and grabbing my hand powered through until we got prime position – well he did but little ol’ me, a foot shorter, struggled to see.  He offered to put me on his shoulders but I didn’t think that would be very comfortable for either of us. 

Returning to the van as the sun began to set, seeing the Tor in the distance, wondering about days of yore, watching my footsteps careful not to tread on prone bodies, flowing skirts or various other items littering the ground, my inaudible sigh of relief as we found our temporary home gave me some comfort.

To be totally honest, I couldn’t wait to be home again and in my own bed!  Such a lack of adventure, a creature who loved her home comforts and although I enjoyed my time away there are certain basic amenities, I found I really didn’t want to do without! 

Looking back on those days life was free and easy even though there were protests and demonstrations and people with the courage of their convictions trying to ban attacks.

Now I go to bed at night, sorry for the plight of war-torn people, displaced people, brave people fighting back against an oppressor. 

I wonder if my grandsons and granddaughters actually think about it at all.

Several of them of are of an age that - should the worst happen - they would be asked or forced to make sure we keep our freedom by freeing others whose freedom is being taken away. 

It is frightening times we live in.

Pandemic over – possibly…….

War – who knows ………..

Nuclear attack – who knows ….

Forty odd years later, people are still protesting, people are still fighting for their lives, people are still scared of the thought of war or even a nuclear attack.

Tag line:

Throwback but nothing changes – hard rain is still falling 40+ years later.

 

 

 

 

Word count: 909

 









 

16 comments:

  1. Hi Sally - I couldn't brook the thought of going to Glastonbury and I feel you've described it perfectly as it was back then. We don't know what 'hard rain' is along our journey - I just hope the world can have peace - thanks, cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm a total homebody and would have been glad to get home, too!
    Humanity really had to do better!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I never liked camping, protest or no protest, and your story just confirmed it for me. Camping is definitely not for me. Give me flushing toilet any day, and I'll be almost happy. I don't feel that whatever I do will make a difference in the decision-making of the tyrants anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We went camping often when I was a child. As an adult I have never gone. And don't miss it.
    And yes, sadly the hard rains continue to fall. Heavier and harder than ever.

    ReplyDelete
  5. AS the saying goes, the more time passes the more everything stays the same. Us humans never learned a thing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, the hard rains haven't stopped and show no signs of stopping.

    I have only ever camped out in the Sahara, but no crowds, no protests just a peace of a different quality altogether.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's an awesome adventure. We had Woodstock here in the US., but I was in High School and way far away in Colorado at the time. I love the Native American tent in the picture. I recently learned that when the grandkids reach 18, they will both have to register for the draft. I don't know when that changed. Both grandson and granddaughter are 15. They are cousins. I fear that Putin's war will become a world war. Dictator's and their lust for power! Thank God Trump isn't in office.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Sally. A great read/virtual experience as always. I can't imagine camping out in Glastonbury, but you were young. The young can endure a lot of discomfort. And history keeps repeating itself, doesn't it? Hard rain just keeps falling on the just and unjust.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Loved camping when young, but now, give me a soft mattress and a warm shower, now. I once camped out during a hurricane that came up the east coast to PA, where I lived. Flooding all around, but I was young and we'd camped on a hill so the water didn't reach us. The tent was nice and big, and the community shower had lots of warm water. It was a great adventure that I wouldn't repeat now. :) Loved your story!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You did a wonderful job with your descriptions. It was as if you actually transported me there. Years later, we still face so many of the same threats and concerns.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So true. Things are about the same, despite all the change we could have. It's such a fragile balance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good work on this, Sally. My one nuclear disarmament protest involved walking to the now-closed Rocky Flats nuclear power plant outside Boulder, Colorado. The protestors held hands to surround the plant, which also manufactured nuclear weapon triggers. It was very peaceful and I don't think anything harder than cigarettes were smoked. I doubt we accomplished anything but there was no harm. I certainly could walk a long way in those days! Now I have trouble walking more than a quarter of a mile without my upright walker because of the problems with my lower back.
    I never went to a festival on par with Glastonbury where I had to camp out or anything. I'm the sort of person for whom "camping" means in a cabin with running water and electricity. I did drag my then 13-year-old son with me to a festival in Winter Park in 2003. It was far less fun than I hoped it would be. The bus transporting us from the lodge to the stage area was full of drunk idiots (of course). I wasn't doing well either. My well-meaning but ignorant doctor kept trying different antidepressants on me. I learned the hard way that those drugs do absolutely nothing for my depression or anxiety, but they do make me psychotic. I wasn't violent, but it was frightening for my son to see me so off kilter. Thankfully, those days are behind me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. //they would be asked or forced to make sure we keep our freedom by freeing others whose freedom is being taken away//. This! You made me pause and think. We never learn, do we?
    -Sonia

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a lovely memory, despite the discomfort. I loved the line 'a sea of chaos and cacophony'. You're right, a hard rain is still falling over 40 years later.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me now, but there was a time I might have enjoyed it. At least elements of it. I camped into my twenties, then realized I liked sleeping in a comfortable bed, and that was it for me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I tried to comment on this last week but blogger was acting up. Loved your post! I always wanted to go to Glastonbury when i was younger, but it was too difficult to get to, all the way from Canada. It's really a shame that some bigger issues never seem to change for the better.

    ReplyDelete