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Gabby Young's Festival Diary: Glastonbury

As there are a lot of 'real workers' in my band- the earliest we could all go to Glastonbury was Thursday; but as I am currently a 'non- real worker' for the summer, I started preparing for this festival about 2 weeks ago; so for once in my life I was prepared!! (Well at least I THOUGHT I was- more on this later!!)
So a proper rock and roll tour van pulled up outside our house on Thursday morning and we nearly filled the whole thing with tents, clothes, food, drink, more clothes and useless things that we thought would be useful- like Wellies!!
We could hardly believe that the day to travel to Glasto was has arrived- our band was booked for this in February and we have basically been over excited about it ever since- so you can imagine how hyper we all were- even after carrying our band equipment and instruments down 3 flights of stairs from our rehearsal studio!
When we got to the site expecting traffic for hours we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the artists entrance was a breeze and we were actually ushered to our campsite.

Last time I went to Glastonbury I camped pressed in between another tent and a path with no room for our guide ropes let alone our wet clothes but THIS TIME we had practically a whole field to ourselves in Avalon artists camping and the weather was amazing –all weekend – in fact the most used phrase of the whole time was “man, it’s hot”! So I dressed up in a black and white maxi dress and a beautiful silk scarf I had just been given by the lovely Kundalini Arts, inspired by my song ‘Ladies Of The Lake’ and my new ebay purchase – a neon bright bumbag!

We all spent the first night looking around the arty areas- Shangri La, Block 9 and Arcadia which was full of it’s usual wacky art- like a hole in the wall with hand puppets of U2 aptly named “Even Better Than The Real Thing” and a beautiful glass rotating thing…I had to be boring and go to bed early as the next day was a big day for me- my biggest gig to date needed some beauty sleep!

Up early for Hair and Makeup with my lovely artist Jennifer Nash. I felt strangely relaxed for the gig at 2.20pm but little did I know that our stand- in Trombone player for the gig (Yusuf, our real animal was doing an A-Level that day!) had just arrived on site. When he got to us and said the words ‘so where’s my trombone?’ my heart dropped, and then started beating stupidly fast… I had forgotten to bring his instrument!! Nooooo…!!!! Needless to say I panicked and threw a bit of a dramatic ‘it’s ruined and it’s all my fault moment’whilst the band and the rest of our team ran off to find a bone and I had to sit still whilst Jen added layer upon layer of hair extensions– which sounds like I got out of it but believe me I felt useless and awful. It was all saved by my manager, Brett who found Dizzee Rascal’s trombone player who was a lovely guy and happy to lend his! PHEW… this was now about 30mins before stage time so you can imagine the tense atmosphere. After touch ups (makeup!), pep talks and line checks we were on stage… The Avalon Stage to be exact- the 8th biggest venue of Glastonbury festival at 1200 capacity! I couldn’t believe how full it was! The gig was a usual blur of nerves and prancing around but we all had a lot of fun! My favourite part was where I got a little slice of ‘fame’ by having to sign men’s chests and hats and little girls' paper cups as well as a bunch of my albums- the only thing is I must come over as a little ‘slow’ because I always have to ask how to spell every name and still write them wrong – it’s a kind of excited, nervous thing- I can’t write straight after gigs!! Anyway I loved meeting a new lot of fans and seeing some really old friends there too! For this gig I wore an incredible dress made by my good friend and amazing up and coming designer Amelia Mullins and my favourite Irregular Choice ‘Parrot Talk’’ boots. (I travelled to the stage in style too- in none other than my Pyjamas – I couldn’t help but feel very Rock n Roll!!)

After all that excitement we had to rush over to a secret gig in an igloo with just Stephen, Charlie (on clarinet) and I playing to my mum and a handful of others which was a stark contracts to the full 8piece band to 800+ audience in the previous show ,but I loved it; even though an igloo is not a great place for sound- I could hear 10 different echoes of me throughout –but I kind of think that added to it in a nice, off the cuff way!

Then we were free for the night… in true Glasto style I got persuaded to see Mumford and Sons because that's where the whole band wanted to go even though I had been so excited about Vampire Weekend – I gave in too easily. Don’t get me wrong, I like M&Sons and they were great but there is a tendency to stick to a formula that, after a few songs, made me start to wish I had stuck to my guns and gone to dance with the cool indie kids!!! Instead I checked my tweets and discovered that on the Park Stage, which was basically as far away as possible from the John Peel tent (where we were) was RADIOHEAD as a surprise guest… umm HARD CHOICE! We ran so fast as we could and arrived to hear the words; ‘Thom Yorke solo set’. I hate to admit I was disappointed because I love Thom’s album- ‘The Eraser’ but I was still in the mood to dance and scream along to some hits and sadly Thom just didn’t cut it. We left just before most people’s ‘Highlight Of The Weekend’ when Johnny Greenwood joined him for some Radiohead classics- typical!!
Next up was Gorillaz – again I should have gone with my instinct and avoided them!! I’m sorry but it was dull… the best part was when the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble joined them… we had fun anyway!!

I’m afraid I still hadn’t finished my gigs for the weekend so another early night ensued- I know, lame.

Today was all about waiting for Al Stewart to arrive on site so we could practise some songs together and join him on the Acoustic Stage. He was late but then again when you are a legend who played at the very first Glasto – you will be forgiven for being late! The saddest part for me was that we only got to see a few songs of Imogen Heap’s set before moving on – I LOVED what I saw and was gutted I couldn’t stay- I will definitely make sure I see her at Womad!
Anyway… Al Stewart is an amazing man who has supported me and kind of been a mentor since he saw me play in L.A 5 years ago so I was so happy to see him and honoured to join him on stage for his song – Night Train To Munich. Stephen and I sang a verse together and harmonies on the chorus. The ‘Other Animals’ had been practising the song as well so we hid them in front of the audience of over 3000 so the brass and percussion joined in half way through… it was AMAZING! Definitely my highlight of the festival! I wore a vintage striped playsuit from Beyond Retro and my new boots from Topshop.
Now we had done all the singing I was free to go to see Muse and scream my lungs out – they were jawdroppingly awesome – the best gig I have ever seen! I was lucky enough to have a strong boyfriend’s shoulders to ride on and from up there the crowd of 90,000 is immense – the band got quite emotional about it!!!

Today I put on a little dress from Ad Hoc which is a fantastic boutique on the Kings Road, my Urban Outfitters blue straw hat and vintage white sunglasses to see Paloma Faith and a couple of HUGE balloons – she certainly knows how to put on a show!!!

Then we had a mission…After the Al Stewart gig we were approached by Worthy FM (Glastonbury Radio) to do a live session for them so we plotted a plan to march along playing our instruments throughout the festival grounds. The radio people loved this idea and decided to record us parading after the World Cup match was over. They even presumed things would go our way and asked the brass to learn the tune to ‘The Great Escape’ to rouse the crowds to follow us to the radio station.
Now this WAS a great plan except a few minor hitches…
1)The football viewing field on site was full and by the time we had marched there (playing as we went, with a hefty crowd behind us), it was closed off and we had to find another way…
2)The other way that we found was the wrong way and when our Trombone player asked someone in the still following crowd if they knew where they were going there was a chorus of ‘We’re following you’!!!
3)After our incessant followers gave up on us we decided to watch England LOSE on a tiny TV backstage at the Avalon –nowhere near Worthy FM HQ!
4)All our phones died and we had no way of contacting the radio men to tell them all of the above….
Ah… typical Glastonbury!

It all turned out OK and we ended up playing live on air somewhere around the food court even though I had lost my voice by then, mainly due to singing along at the top of my lungs to Muse!! Oopsadaisy!

Then it was time to pack up tents and load the van just in time to see STEVIE WONDER… who was incredible. He ended his set with Happy Birthday, sang to and WITH Michael Eavis – classic!! Then that was it – the end of Glastonbury 2010… it was epic, a bit like our drive home till 6am… only to discover we were locked out of our flat and had to carry on sleeping in the garden until the locksmith came!! Ah... good times!!

You can still catch Gabby Young and Other Animals at a number of festivals this summer, including Nozstock,Womad, Latitude, Bestival, Secret Garden Party and Standon Calling,for all dates check here: ... Check back here for her diary entries from the rest of the festival season!