Glastonbury fence-jumpers: ‘It was girls underneath, boys over the top!’

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For a lot of the Glastonbury festival’s 50-year-long record, spending for a ticket wasn’t the only way to get in – if you have been prepared to take a few dangers, get a bit soiled and run quick in the darkish. Adam Bloodworth talks to four gatecrashers about their spectacular ordeals with the perimeter fence.

You possibly go up and in excess of or down and below.

On the other aspect of the fence you reach no-man’s-land, or additional particularly a huge, uncovered ring highway patrolled by protection guards 24/7. Make it across that and you can find an additional fence – furthermore it truly is liable to be thick with mud and bucketing with rain.

It truly is marginally distinctive now, but traditionally, for legions of Glastonbury attendees, having into the pageant with no spending was a rite of passage, an essential section of the Glastonbury knowledge.

In the nineteen nineties, when the festival’s recognition was fast increasing, split-ins have been specifically rife. In 1995 it truly is believed that eighty,000 acquired tickets – and as lots of again gatecrashed.

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Weak fences, corrupt protection teams and the sheer range of revellers arriving at the web page resulted in one thing close to anarchy, and perhaps incredibly, Michael Eavis, the festival’s founder, actively encouraged it. Just one year the farm proprietor woke up in the evening and forklifted a fence to enable 2,000 revellers to get in. A devout Methodist, Eavis’s religion teaches tolerance and acceptance, which may perhaps reveal it.

But next an unbelievably tumultuous year for split-ins in 2000, which saw Eavis fined for breaching licensing conditions, his staff developed a “tremendous fence” when the pageant returned in 2002, putting an close to mass split-ins.

“The fence we experienced again then [in 2000] was a Mickey Mouse affair,” Eavis wrote in his guide Glastonbury 50: The Official Story of Glastonbury Competition, published past year. “Along with the very good weather conditions we relished that year, huge crowds of people today turned up and just walked in.”

He’d begun coming up with a new “tremendous-duper fence” by the Monday after the pageant, and failed to give up on it even when the selling price rose from £300,000 to £1m.

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“I realized I experienced to create it,” Eavis wrote. “In truth, I would hardly ever minded irrespective of whether people today paid out to get in or not, as long as we sold adequate tickets to keep heading. But it was obvious we experienced to be in a position to control the numbers and keep it harmless.”

That isn’t really to say punters no more time consider to split in. I stewarded for Oxfam on a car or truck entrance gate to the pageant in 2011, and chancers would run earlier us the moment or 2 times for each change. We have been often delirious after standing soaked and frozen by the evening – and sometimes, the runners made it.

A further time, a protection guard threw a Maglite torch at a runner’s toes. After a few additional paces, he was slowed down by the mud and fell as protection caught up with him.

Technological know-how has also helped to prevent interlopers. Gatecrashing now necessitates faking wristbands or photographic ID – or borrowing a friend’s and pretending to be them.

I spoke to some of the people today who managed to get by, below or in excess of the fence in the past 3 decades.

Julie, 1993: ‘It was ladies beneath, boys in excess of the leading!’

I initial bunked in excess of the fence in 1992, but my memories are a bit hazy.

In 1993 we went down in car convoys. God only appreciates in which we parked up. We walked by some fields close to the Stone Circle late at evening, and by some dense trees and arrived out at a clearing close to the initial fence.

There would be a protection patrol passing every single fifteen minutes. People today would shout that they have been coming and we experienced to hold out below treetop deal with with perhaps an additional forty people today, all trying to split in.

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Julie

It was extremely very well organised. For a single matter, it was obvious who to spend the £10 “entry charge” to: a youthful person in a substantial-vis jacket. He was doing the job with a corrupt protection guard who experienced cut a gap in the initial, outer fence.

I was a bit nervous, but we could see there have been other people today heading by. I thought, “This is wonderful.”

You could see searchlights up in the air, substantial up on poles. You experienced to queue to go by the gap in the initial fence. There have been 30, possibly forty people today in a queue as you could only go by a single at a time.

At the 2nd, more substantial fence, I don’t forget thinking, “How am I heading to get in excess of that?” Anyone explained: “Women go beneath, by a gap, and the boys in excess of the leading.” It ought to have been about 12ft substantial.

It was chaotic and there was a bit of anxiety. But I thought, “This is what everyone’s performing so it’s going to be wonderful.”

My buddy Susie was a bit more substantial, so she resolved to go in excess of the leading with the boys, and she twisted her ankle when she arrived down the other aspect. I normally don’t forget that – she put in the full weekend hobbling.

I bought by and it was a sensation of elation. Everybody was enthusiastic, and whooping: “Yay, we did it! We are in! We are in!”

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Julie

Most people realized you could split in again then. Late at evening, you’d converse to other people today that experienced occur in excess of the fence. You would talk to in which they’d carried out it and how a lot they’d paid out.

There utilized to be so lots of additional people today, the bathrooms have been a ton even worse, since so lots of people today just jumped in excess of the fence.

It truly is true the pageant lost its edge after the 90s. It was additional edgy then, but it truly is a a lot far better pageant for everyone now. Basic safety is important and now you can find the appropriate range of people today. Everybody seems to be out for every other, the foodstuff is amazing, and it does a ton for charity.

Martin, 1998: ‘Imagine a 12ft fence resting on your gut’

Me and my most effective buddies Otto and Baz (a good Essex boy) have been on the smash on a caravan getaway in Newquay. At the close of the week it was Glastonbury, so we chucked a tent in, in situation we fancied stopping on the way again.

We resolved to go for it. On the Friday afternoon we headed towards the pageant in Baz’s Astra, registration plate BAZ 132Y. I don’t forget it was Environment Cup ninety eight, England v Colombia that afternoon. We arrived at the pageant about eight o’clock at evening and begun to wander to the main gates.

We satisfied people today who have been also breaking in who steered us to the still left towards some trees.

We saw protection guards on foot and in Land Rovers about the perimeter of the fence, and a ton of dodgy on the lookout people today kicking about.

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Martin

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Martin (far appropriate) and buddies

We thought, “Bloody hell, we’re heading to get mugged.” In these days you just experienced the funds in your pockets. Again then we failed to have a ton of funds – if we might lost that we might have lost every thing.

When you stand upcoming to the fence you realise how substantial it truly is. And this was prior to the tremendous fence that was erected for 2002. It ought to have been at minimum 12ft substantial.

We observed a hole. It was a gap beneath the fence. There have been other people today nearby and this person close to us bought out a ground sheet and pushed it by the gap, and the initial person went on his again, head down backwards and his mates pushed his legs by.

I was up upcoming. Think about lying on the flooring on a ground sheet, the mud coming in excess of the edges so you are generally lying in mud. It was awful, horrendous. And unquestionably chucking it down.

I lay on my again, as if you have been on a slide but heading down backwards and head initial. Think about you can find a wall guiding you: you’ve got bought to set your head beneath that wall.

As it bought to my hips it was limited. You happen to be on the lookout up at this fence specifically previously mentioned you. You have bought 12 foot of fence correctly on your intestine. But I bought by and the many others threw the luggage in excess of.

Otto bought to his hips and bought trapped. And he begun to worry. It truly is 11 o’clock at evening. I advised him to quit, and to start out respiratory deeply since he was panicking. But all I could hear from the other aspect of the fence was Baz laughing. All he could see was Otto’s legs wiggling about in the mud. Neither of us could quit laughing.

We sooner or later pulled Otto while, Baz followed and we might made it into the pageant.

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Martin

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Martin (far still left) and buddies

Ruth, 2000: ‘I broke in, but my punishment was camping by the 24-hour techno tent’

I have jumped the fence a few times, which I sense quite guilty about, so I’m spending it again now by serving to the recycling staff there every single year. It can be really hard function but I truly adore it.

In 2000 it was a choice of heading up a actually wobbly ladder and spending some scousers or heading by a gap in the “substantial protection fence” and spending some Brixton boys. Both possibilities have been organised by gangs who looked extremely scary and organised. I selected the gap since the ladder looked extremely dangerous. I believe I paid out £20.

When by the gap, you experienced to cross a no-man’s-land which experienced protection Land Rovers and protection on horseback roaming about. But the good thing is for me the protection have been also in on the action. They clearly saw me crossing no-man’s land in their headlights and the Brixton boys have been shouting “Run, run!”… but no person chased me.

I hopped in excess of the inner fence and made it in. I continue to sense awful that when I was trying to wander by the camp web page, it was so crowded I trod on someone’s head in their tent.

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Ruth

I would like to apologise for that.

My punishment was that the pageant was so overcrowded that year that the only place to camp was outdoors a 24-hour techno tent.

I’m not happy of jumping the fence but I’m happy to have that memory of me performing one thing exciting and naughty when actually I hardly ever did anything like that normally. I’ve hardly ever even stolen a sweet out of a decide n’ mix!

Freeloading ought to run in the family members, as several years beforehand, my mum went to the initial Glastonbury and failed to spend – but evidently she really should have paid out £1, which involved free milk from the farm.

Tamzin, 2019: ‘I like breaking principles – I’m a bit of an anarchist’

Breaking in is notoriously really hard these days. It truly is not like it utilized to be: you unquestionably are not able to depend on it. But it truly is a obstacle.

And spending for anyone to drive you in is not the similar as breaking in, that’s like dishonest. You may perhaps as very well have acquired a ticket. The thrill of breaking in is that it truly is free.

My father utilized to go when he was younger and resents what it truly is come to be: how a lot funds it expenses, how a lot more challenging it is to get in, it truly is completely distinctive. A ton additional center course people today go now, and good hippies are not able to go since it truly is far too highly-priced. A ton of people today believe it truly is far too large now: you are not able to possibly see every thing or do every thing. It truly is actually exhausting and it truly is far too intense, it truly is actually overwhelming.

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Tamzin

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Tamzin, after producing it in

My father suggests that several years back there have been underground tunnels close to the Stone Circle, and even a stream in which people today crawled along to get in. The Stone Circle utilized to be an uncomplicated location, since protection failed to count on a lot difficulties about there.

I take after my father since I like breaking the principles. I’m a bit of an anarchist. So me and my ex-boyfriend gave breaking in a consider. We definitely failed to count on to get in, so when it worked we were not specifically prepared.

My ex arrived to the Uk from East Africa as a refugee when he was sixteen and experienced hardly ever been to a pageant in this place, but was also extremely up for trying.

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Tamzin

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Tamzin and her buddy marking the summer season solstice, a few days prior to Glastonbury 2019

After strolling the perimeter of the fence for a even though, we satisfied a team of scousers on the lookout shifty in the car park. They have been waiting for the coast to be obvious so they could set up the telescopic ladder they experienced hidden in a rucksack. At a single issue they did get it up on the fence. Anyone explained: “Go go go!” But when we all scrambled up it – about 10 of us completely – the person at the leading explained, “No no no! Go again!” as he realised there was a protection guard appropriate on the other aspect.

You are not able to see by the fence so you really don’t know what is on the other aspect til you are up there. They experienced bought the incorrect location.

We resolved to have on by ourselves. Not long after that, we satisfied an additional person who explained he would get us in for a selling price.

He experienced a ladder hidden in a ditch appropriate upcoming to the fence and stored observe even though we propped it up and slipped in excess of, straight into a campsite. My ex explained he would spend him as shortly as I was in excess of, but by the time I was at the leading of the ladder, we might been noticed and additional protection have been on their way in excess of, so we experienced to just make a run (or alternatively, soar) for it.

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In the early days (in this situation, 1971) entry was inexpensive and there was no shortage of tickets

There have been these sort of supports keeping the tremendous fence up on the other aspect, which I utilized to slide down like a banister. Then the 2nd fence was a lot lesser, perhaps 7ft or 8ft, which I bought in excess of with a push from my boyfriend (he jumped and vaulted it like a good athlete).

It truly is a huge adrenaline hurry. And when you sense adrenaline you really don’t actually sense discomfort: it truly is like fight and flight.

I scraped my knees on the main fence and I gouged my hand on the lesser fence a huge piece of skin was taken out of my hand as I scaled the two fences, but I failed to even sense it.

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