Meeting the Extremely Turned Up Dads of Glastonbury

"I'm completely clive'd!" said Andy, 52.
June 24, 2016, 12:13pm

Dads, eh? They’re a weird specimen. If the steady stream of Father’s Day Instagrams taught us anything, it’s that before you arrived in a pile of sweat, mucus and blood, your dad was the shit. Then things like responsibility, poop, and all the other overwhelming distresses of caring for a newborn baby came along, and his hair follicles resigned, once fashionable closets were traded in for Fatface, and respite was sought in the clandestine and large arena of B&Q. But what’s the reason for this collective shift? Is it the fault of children? Is it the increasing weariness of life? Please, don’t tell me all young men are statistically doomed to wear three-quarter length shorts when they turn thirty six.

If there’s one place where the dad can exist outside of the comforting realm of his existence, it’s in a field at Glastonbury, surrounded by gurning post-graduates and festival stalls that blare drum and bass until six in the morning. These aren’t the cool parents of Pitchfork Music Festival who implant their offspring with Caribou records and beatless ambient music, though. These are the thin haired party dads, who love a bit of Coldplay and some chicken flavoured crisps.

Since this is one of the only times I’m going to be fucked in a field with a load of dads, I thought I’d approach some of them to ask: why are you here? And what can you tell me about this game called life?

PAUL, 67

All photos by Jake Lewis

Hey dad - you’ve got face paint all over you already, what’s going on?
Twisty poo.

Twisty poo?
Twisty poo.

What’s that?
The world famous thursday piss-up. It’s a group of people – are you on Glastochat? On Facebook? – who meet at a tree at the far end of the Pyramid stage and they bring their own concoction of drink. So I brought sloe vodka. My daughter is on chili vodka and Werthers toffee vodka. You bring the bottle, loads of shot glasses, and you share it. Everyone has to turn up wearing something pink and I brought a pink wig.

Did you come with your family then?
Yes. It’s my grandaughter’s first Glastonbury who is sixteen. And it’s my sister’s first Glastonbury, who is eighty.

That’s amazing. Is she camping?
Yeah, she is. She lost her husband last year and she’s making up for lost time.

Is that what life is about? Do you reach a certain age and want to make up for lost time?
Yeah. And at Glastonbury there’s something for everyone. Last year I wanted to see Donovan, but I went to Arcadia instead to watch some drum’n’bass. It was mad. Such a spectacle.

PETER, 70

Are you going to be going on a mad one this weekend?
I’m going to be going absolutely nuts.

Did you come with people of a similar age to yourself?
Anybody older than me is dead.

That’s sobering. Who did you come here with?
A group of friends as part of Michael Eavis’ family.

You know the top dog?
I’m friends with the family, yeah. I’ve been coming here over the last eight or nine years. I’m not interested in any other festivals. There is no other festival.

Why are so many people here old?
They reckon quite a lot of people here are over 40. God, I’m going to be 70 in July. All the bands I used to like are dead.

Do you feel like there’s an increasing sense of your own mortality?
Everyday is a bonus. So you might as well have as much fun as you can, as long as you don’t hurt people or piss them off. If you get the chance – marry someone twenty years younger than you because it’s cheaper than getting a nurse.

What’s your advice to us as young people?
Limit yourself on the amount of drugs you take and the different types.

THE VAN DADS, AGE NOT SPECIFIED

You lot are smashing it. Why are you sat on top of a van?
We play in a group called the Three Daft Monkeys. We make dance and folk music.

Can you still get fucked if the kids are here? How does that work?
Yep. You just have to deal with it the next day. Or with social services.

ADRIAN, 53

Would you ever take your kids to a festival?
I wouldn’t have thought about it. I never fancied festivals when I was younger.

How did everything switch? Why Glastonbury?
I wanted to see what it was all about it.

Do you get on a level when you come here?
Yeah, we'll have some drinks. But to be fair, alcohol isn’t really that tasty is it.

True. What about drugs?
Last year we did a little bit of something... I’ve never done it before. Weed, is it?

GLENN, 48 (RIGHT)

Alright lads. Looks like you’ve got a bit of a dad crew going on here. Why did you all come down together?
I’ve been going for years... the last twelve.

Is going to Glastonbury a different experience now that you’re older and wiser. Surely you don’t get as fucked up now?
Well… that’s what we’re here for. I love Shangri La. Is Block 9 still here? I love Block 9.

At what age do Dads start dressing differently and why?
Is that why you think I’m a dad?

Yeah, pretty much.
I’m getting slaughtered here! I don’t think I dress like a dad. The only thing I have is a bit of tie around my glasses, to keep them round my head.

Why does your hair fall out when you’re older?
Fuck knows. If I knew the answer to that I’d be a rich man.

ANDY, 52

Hello there mate. Are you a dad?
Am I what?

A dad!
I am, actually. I have two kids – they’re fifteen and twelve. I wouldn’t bring them to the festival though.

Why not? Is this your chance to escape from the droning of modern life?
Correct. It’s not fair to bring them here. At what point do you think it’s all about me, or all about them.

Are you going on a mad one?
I’m already completely clive’d.

Does life get any easier when you get older?
I think so, yeah, if you can make some money. Don’t be poor.

Amazing advice, from the man camped in hospitality.

PAUL, 53

Why have you come together with your family?
It’s the third time we’ve been as a family. We first came ten years ago.

How old would you have been then?
Ten years younger than I am now!

Why do old people love Glastonbury?
I’ve always been into music. I’ve been to T in the Park and Leeds and that sort of thing, but if I’d have come here when I was younger I would have been in a mess. I would have been doing absolutely everything.

So you waited until you were old enough to calm down and enjoy it.
Yeah.

Why does life calm down when you get older?
It doesn’t.

What’s your life advice for young people?
Vote leave.

Sorry - what?
I hope you’re voting out.

I am terminating this interview and any other conversations going forward. Cya later, Glastonbury dads.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter.