Some of you might have noticed that there has been no Glastonbury this year: a casualty of the Olympics. For me it is a real loss – as a family we go every year, not just for the bands but because we love the atmosphere. People are kind, friendly, open, sharing. Things are fun. People are witty. There is a very British spirit of enduring whatever the weather throws at you. Mud adds to the fun and rain is essential.
Over the years I have tried to incorporate the spirit of Glastonbury into the Welfare to Work Projects I develop and here are the lessons I would pass on.
1. Don’t make me – motivate me.
If Chris Grayling insisted that I spent four days living in a small tent with my whole family, in a sodden, muddy field with basic sanitation and the constant sound of a thumping base – I would not be a very happy bunny. But, as the picture to my left attests, people who choose to do this are smiling. Motivation and choice are powerful feelings – use them.
2. Kindness is infectious
A single act of kindness can spread and create tidal wave of positivity. Picture us. Its 7am, were a groggy couple with our two daughters – five and nine – we have just driven three hours. It’s our first time ever at a festival. Carrying far too much. Five year old crying. Twenty minutes into a 90 minute walk from the car park to the site and it starts to rain like we should forget the festival and start building an Ark. When a group of teenagers came along and just pick up our bags and say “Come on – it’s great!” Now we were part of a happy group, kids being entertained by hippy-chicks and likely-lads who pick them up too. We get to the site and they say “Enjoy” and waltz off. After such a great example how could we be anything else but generous too. Start your own positive wave.
3. If the rules make sense people will follow them.
For a festival that prides itself on its easy-going atmosphere there is real solid under-pinning of rules and advice. Fire rules, Recycling rules, Lost kids rules Water use rules. But no one minds. Because every rule makes sense – people choose to obey them.
4. People will find their own way back to their tent.
On the Saturday night – the height of the event – there are more than 150,000 people wandering around the site and they all have to get back to their tent. Try to organise this centrally and it would be impossible. Allow people to choose where to pitch their tents, what time they want to go home, and with whom, and the system works perfectly. The Glastonbury equivalent of the Black Box approach.