|BARAC team at Glastonbury with left to right Parisce Francis, author of this article, Felicia OluTease, Barbara Ntumy (Team leader) and Aaliyah Oke|
Sunday, 7 August 2016
Representing BARAC UK at Glastonbury 2016; a report by Parisce Francis
Team member for this year's BARAC team for Workers Beer at Glastonbury writes on her experience.
If you are interested in volunteering next year get in touch or watch out for updates. BARAC.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had told myself that 2016 was going to be the year that I finally go to Glastonbury, but I didn’t get
tickets. They sold out in a stupidly small amount of time and I missed out even though my mum, my
friends and I all tried. Needless to say when I saw the BARAC request for volunteers on Facebook I
was beyond happy.
I have been to a few festivals before in the UK and around Europe but I have never worked one
before. Let me tell you I will never be buying a ticket again! Volunteering is the way to festival!
Honestly, my first impressions were not great but that was completely outside the control of BARAC
and Workers Beer Company (WBC). What should have been a 4 hour journey (according to Google
maps) ended up as a 16 hour trip and the majority of that was spent in a traffic jam within 5 miles of
the festival site.
The coach from Manchester arrived in the WBC campsite, known as the village, just as breakfast was
beginning to be served, so my disappointments fell away as my belly filled. During breakfast I met
Aaliyah, a member of my BARAC team. As a group, we had chatted a bit over Whatsapp but not met
in person. Aaliyah showed me about; the showers, portaloos, posh toilets, where to set up my tent
and introduced me to the rest of the team; Barbara and Felicia.
The village is definitely one of the reasons why I’d volunteer again. It is located pretty centrally;
there are hot showers, toilets that flush and somewhere to charge your phone. We were also given
2 meals a day and 2 drinks vouchers after each shift. Within the food/beer tent there was a laid
back, community feel which meant that even if you started off sitting alone charging your phone,
within a few minutes you’d be swapping stories about the crazy people you’d served the night
before. Similarly it was nice to walk around the festival site and see familiar faces.
If I had any hesitations about working at the festival before going, it was about working behind the
bar. I have been at festival bars where the queues are 30 men deep and have seen people get angry
with thirst. But that was nothing to worry about; it was really easy and fun. We had a quick brief
before our first shift and were then put to work. We got a pretty good deal; 2 shifts starting 11am till
5pm and 2 starting at 10pm till 3am. Behind the bar you could still feel the party vibes. Our first shift
was in an old school garage tent and when the DJ dropped little man looking at us you would’ve
thought we were on the dance floor.
My time at Glastonbury differed greatly from my previous experiences at festivals, not only because
I was there as a volunteer, but because of the company I was in. Usually I’d go with my friends from
Uni but as the girls I was with this time are political activists my experience differed due to the topics
of the conversations we had. As 4 black women we discussed everything from the transgressions of
white men wearing afro wigs as fancy dress to vintage clothes shopping, to gender identity of/ in
children. Other people in the WBC village were volunteering for a range of social or environmental
causes/groups so conversation was never dull with other teams too. Being around such politically
active and aware people when the result for the referendum was announced was pretty special.
Now I’m home (and mud free) I think Glastonbury definitely lived up to the hype, it was huge! 2016
was not about headliners (no offence Adele) it was all about grime, seeing Novelist get the crowd to
chant ‘f**k David Cameron’ isn’t something I’ll forget. But even if music isn’t your thing there are
so many other things going on like the cinema, comedy stages, even a healing circle. I definitely
recommend volunteering and if you are there next year I’ll see you there!