Bitesize Episode 63 - Glastonbury Unveiled: Charlie's Adventure Amid Music and Culture

Aug 10 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

Join Charlie as he takes you on a vibrant journey through the famous Glastonbury Music Festival. From battling for tickets to discovering hidden musical gems, this episode offers a personal glimpse into the excitement, challenges, and community spirit that make the festival a unique cultural experience. Whether you're a festival veteran or a curious newcomer, Charlie's story is sure to resonate.
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Transcript of Bitesize EP 063- Transcript

Speaker1:
Hello and welcome to another episode of the British English podcast, the show that focuses on British culture and at the same time helps you improve your British English. I am your host, Charlie Baxter, and today I've got a bit of brain fog, actually. I've had a strong coffee, sat down at the computer, excited to tell you about a recent experience of mine. But yeah, it's undeniable. Today I do not feel like the sharpest tool in the box. In fact, my friend from the States just texted me and Stacy saying, Anyone else feel like they've been hit by a truck today? Us Brits would probably say lorry instead of truck. Or maybe a bus. Yeah, maybe hit by a bus. But the meaning is the same. She feels terrible and is wondering if we do too. And yeah, she's not alone. Both of us are struggling to get back into the swing of things today. Actually, I think as I record this, Stacy has taken herself upstairs for a midday nap. So why. Why do we feel so dishevelled? Well, about a year ago, when we were living in Sydney, our friend Katie asked us to wake up at three in the morning to attempt to get tickets to something rather spectacular. Tickets started selling at midday in the UK and typically they sell out within two minutes. But if you are outside of the UK, you are more likely to be able to obtain a ticket because of the wonders of how the internet works. I won't bore you with the details of this supposed theory, but yes, this thing sells out within two minutes. And let me check just how many people go to this thing. Oh my God. Yeah. So 250,000 people attend this event, and the tickets sell out in under two minutes. And due to the high amount of traffic to the site, your device is likely to crash. So at 3 a.m., we had two phones, two laptops and two iPads, all being refreshed as quick as possible to get into this website. And lo and behold, we got through on one of the iPads. We booked tickets, jumped for joy, went back to bed. And for the most part of a whole year, we forgot about the adventure that we were going to embark upon. Fast forward to June 21st, 2023, and I'm packing walkie talkies, wet wipes and a variety of bold items of clothing that I wouldn't really think about putting on if it weren't for the fact that we were off to Glastonbury Music Festival. According to Google, the biggest music festival in the entire world, the population, as I said earlier, 250,000 people tend to go each year. And so you could say that's the population of an average city squashed into well onto one farm because it all happens on one farm, admittedly a rather large farm, but still one farm. There are 3000 acts performing over a three to four day period, from singer-songwriters to comedy performers to hippies doing talks to circus performers to cabaret. Glastonbury, aka Glasto, has it all. I don't think I ever said. Just to be clear, this is in the UK. I think I did say that, yes, Glastonbury is in Somerset, which is in England and we were lucky enough to get tickets. Although having not been to a festival for over ten years, I was a little bit nervous. I mean, I had to swap my duck down pillow for a blow up one with a hoodie wrapped around it. I had to toilet in a long drop in a random field that, might I add, wasn't such a long drop by the end of the festival, if you get what I mean. Sorry, just reminiscing. Huh? What else did I have to do? I had to shower at two in the morning to avoid 90 minute queues. We did over 30,000 steps every single day to reach the stages that we wanted. And although I'm thankful that it didn't rain, the sun was rather relentless, especially given that we were unable to seek shelter or find any shade all day, every day for the whole festival. But with all of those modern day struggles behind me, I can honestly say it was a wonderful experience and I'd like to tell you about it because it is a significant part of British culture. Everyone knows about it. Nearly everyone wants to go to it at least once in their lifetime, and many people call it the best week of their lives. I'm not sure if I'd go that far, but let me explain how it went down, and you can judge whether or not it would tickle your fancy, assuming, of course, you haven't been. If you have, then, my friend, we are united. We have gone through the same unique experience that is Glastonbury Music Festival. Oh goodness me how empty those words were for me before this experience. So imagine if you will, my partner, our friend and I get into the car full of excitement and a boot full of backpacks and random camping accessories because we didn't really know what we were doing. We then got on our designated coach after waiting for it for two hours because it was late. Then the coach squeezed its way through little farm lanes, winding roads and mud tracks, and voila! We were welcomed to a monstrous queue for the shuttle bus to take us back the way we came, and then round the entire festival to our campsite. This was followed by another queue and another one to begin the best week of many people's lives. And we get our wristbands punched on us like, um, like camp cattle, I guess. And out we go on to the farmland to find our tent that we had paid £250 extra each to get erected for us. I was told we were glamping, but I was told wrong. We were camping in a quote unquote four man tent. Really it looked like it could sleep two, but apparently it was a four man tent. We stayed in a campsite called Worthy View, which did have a worthwhile view of the festival. We were overlooking the people that didn't pay for pre tent erection like, you know, like lords over peasants, smug as fuck that we had showers at our disposal, cafes on every corner or field corner, corner of the fields, no corner field corner, field corner and and bogs on, well also every field corner. Yes that's right. The cafes were propped up next to the plopping zones, making for a delightful aroma of, um, you know, fresh coffee bean and pooey latrine. It was yes, it was great. So we were, you know, smug, smug as can be until we realise that the walk to the action made the view potentially not so worthy after all. Still, though, we had arrived. We dumped our bags in our £750 fabric home and positively skipped down the hill to witness the one and only Glastonbury Music Festival. 15 minutes later and we were in and amongst it all and half of my face already looked like it had been up to no good that day, but unfortunately I was still stone cold sober. The reason for one side of my face looking slightly worse for wear was, well, um. I don't know. What about. Let's give you a riddle. Yes, I'll make a riddle up and see if you can work it out. Work out what I am. As in I am telling you this riddle in first person, as if I'm the thing. You understand me, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right. Here's the riddle. Um. I am beneath your feet and above your head. I'm in the farmer's field and in your bed. I am unseen yet I'm in sight. I dance in the day and I hide in the night. I'm felt in a gust. Seen in a beam. Everywhere and nowhere. A whisper in a dream. What am I? Mhm. I like that riddle. Not going to pretend that was me. I started thinking of it. I started the first line or two, and then I thought, ChatGPT can do this quicker and better. So half of that was them. All right, so let's just do that one more time, see if you can get it. So I'm trying to help you figure out what made my eye look sore. Okay, so I'm. I was saying that half of my face looked like it was drugged, so it was my eye that was very sore. Okay. Why was it sore? Here's the riddle. I am beneath your feet and above your head in the farmer's field and in your bed. I am unseen. Yet I'm in sight. I dance in the day and I hide in the night. I'm felt in a gust seen in a beam. I think that's the easiest line. That's the most obvious one. I'm felt in a gust seen in a beam everywhere and nowhere. A whisper in a dream. So what am I? Well, I am the single most common reason that people visited the on-site medical team in Glastonbury this year. Any ideas? No. Think. Think. Underwhelming beyond belief. I am... Dust. That's right. Dust. I wasted your time and mine on explaining dust. But I tell you, those small yet mighty little particles, they got me good and proper. The paths that everyone was trampling on meant that hundreds of people were getting grit and dust kicked in their faces every second they dared to transfer from stage to stage. But, you know, as you know, I'm made of stronger stuff. So I decided to, you know, be brave. Put on my size seven big boy boots and face the music. Although, to be honest, that night we didn't really get too involved. Our excuses were that we'd had a long day of travelling. A musician that we all liked was playing pretty early the next day and we still hadn't had a single drink of alcohol. I'd like to add here that while my fellow festival goers I was sharing this experience with weren't so desperate to get to the bar each day, I have a fairly strong association with music and being out and about and drinking alcohol and I'd say I'm well below average in the amount of alcohol I consume in comparison to the average British person. I know many addicts would say something similar to this, but I can assure you that I think that I'm not one of them. Either way, I'd say of the 250,000 people attending, the majority of them were under the influence in some way, shape or form. I'd guess and I have no data on this at all, only my observations. But I'd go with 50% of festival goers in the UK have at least 3 to 5 drinks throughout the day and get a bit tipsy. Yeah, 50% get a bit tipsy. 15% are probably on something else. Wink, wink. Um, that was 15 one five. So 50% tipsy 15% on some naughty stuff at 10% probably just get absolutely rat-arsed. I'll explain that in the vocabulary. If you want to be a premium or academy member, go right ahead. And so that leaves, I think, 25% that would be sober or near enough sober. They might have had one or two drinks, but yeah, near enough sober. So 50% tipsy, 25% sober and 25% really drunk or something else. Oh, and of all of the above, I'd say close to like 40% were vaping, maybe 30%. But yes, so many people were vaping at Glastonbury this year. It was quite shocking. And then maybe 5% were smoking. All in all, a rather intoxicated bunch of people on one farm. And so being sober that first night we decided to call it a night after having attempted to get our bearings and failing because this festival really is as big as a city. I mean, it took us one hour to get back to our tent, and that was sober. Sober decision making. Took us one hour to get back to our tent from one of the main stages. And and very surprisingly, we managed to get a decent night's sleep. Now, during these memorable days at the festival, I discovered that what I enjoyed most resonated a little bit with my personality. Let me paint you a picture. I'm the kind of person who savours an open weekend with zero plans. I mean zero plans. The freedom to follow my instincts in the moment. I think there's something exhilarating about it. Appreciating the now, living in the moment and all that. And that being said, planning social events isn't my forte. And this sometimes collides with reality, where we we do need some degree of planning in our social lives. But at the festival I was imagining this sort of go with the flow mentality would be entirely possible. But it was it was different to what I had perhaps unknowingly hoped. And I'd say the majority of people were buzzing about which artists they couldn't wait to see. But honestly, that anticipation, it just it doesn't appeal to me. Um, not even for big names like Elton John and Arctic Monkeys. Instead, what truly lit up my experience were the unexpected moments, the surprises waiting around each corner, discovering new, incredible acts in intimate venues, feeling a real connection to the performers. Those experiences, those ones outshone the headline acts for me. It may have also been that my unease whilst watching these headline acts came from having to hold it for a solid four hours when drinking beer, all while packed like a sardine in a crowd. But still, if you're anything like me, how I just described my personality a little bit and you love the thrill of something new and unexpected, you might want to keep that in mind if you haven't been to a festival yet and you're planning on going to one. So yes, I really did see that the real joys came not from meticulous planning, but from the spontaneous moments that took me by surprise. Another thing I learnt, or at least experienced first-hand was how festivals in the UK are a treasure trove for non-native speakers wanting to make friends and practice speaking with native speakers. And I think it's quite unique because most of the time, when you get a large crowd, it's something that ends up being rather touristy and thus the locals are nowhere to be seen. But as I suggested at the beginning of this episode, music festivals are well and truly part of our culture and have been since the 50s and 60s when apparently the Beaulieu Jazz Festival, I think I'm pronouncing that right. The Beaulieu Jazz Festival, one of the UK's first music festivals that started in 1956. The Reading Festival and Cambridge Folk Festival were also born in this era, and then the Isle of Wight Festival began in 1968 and by 1970, apparently, this is insane. It dwarfs Glastonbury this year. It attracted 600,000 people, leading to legislation limiting the size of gatherings on the island. Imagine that, 600,000 people and then Glastonbury that started in 1970. Apparently the day after Jimi Hendrix died and then Glastonbury became the UK's most famous music festival. I also want to say the pronunciation is how I've been saying it: Glastonbury, Glastonbury. I heard a few of the North American singers saying Glastonbury, so yeah, don't say that. Say Glastonbury. Glastonbury. Um, if you want. If you want. It's entirely up to you. Don't shoot me. Don't cancel me. Um, where was I? Yeah, the 90s. So from the 90s onwards, the dance music scene exploded with festivals like Creamfields and Global Gathering. And today, the UK hosts hundred of festivals each year from massive events like Glastonbury to smaller genre-specific festivals. So Brits love music festivals. And not only do we love going, but we also seem to have this different mindset that encourages us to be insanely nice to one another and to open up and start making friends, which is weird because in the cities, especially in the southern areas, we generally keep ourselves to ourselves. And when we go on holiday, typically abroad, we really don't want to meet other Brits abroad. I mean, that might not be everyone's opinion, of course, but I really did feel this unnatural cultural phenomenon that allowed us all to rid ourselves of the norms in society and just, you know, get to know your neighbour. I mean, we actually made friends at the very first moment when waiting for a bus to the festival and I also witnessed a guy who was stood near us whilst we watched Arctic Monkeys play, who introduced himself to everyone he could see. Like I think I saw him shake hands with 20 people in under an hour when we were stood still like sardines, just, you know, stuck. Was he doing drugs? That's not important. The point is that the point that I'm trying to make is that, well, okay, he was absolutely off his tits. But still, if you fancy meeting some Brits and making some new friends, then you have hundreds of opportunities every single year, particularly between the months of May and September. So check out the likes of Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, the Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival spelled with a B, Bestival. That's the one I went to ten years ago and loved it. There's also Wireless Festival, Latitude Festival and if you like your rock and heavy metal, then maybe check out Download Festival. Now, there's another element of my festival experience that I find quite profound, and it concerns self-expression in the UK festival scene. So my festival companions nudged me ever so slightly to step out of my fashion comfort zone a bit, just a notch louder than my everyday attire. And that, coupled with a last minute grab from my late grandfather's umbrella stand, I found myself holding a vibrant, multi-coloured and multi-purpose umbrella that served as both shade provider and seat, which I grew weirdly fond of throughout the week. Now, I confess I might have raised an eyebrow or chuckled at this version of myself on a typical day if I was just walking down the street. I mean, to be more accurate, my younger self that was keen on fitting in with the crowd might have smirked at such a display, but within the festival's realm, all forms of expression are embraced and I didn't encounter a shred of judgement or criticism in any direction. It was so refreshing to see such open mindedness regarding individual expression. So if you've ever wished for a place where you could be bolder with your wardrobe, where you could morph into an alternate version of yourself without fear of judgement, then UK festivals could be your sanctuary. Each day invites you to embody a different persona, and not only does the sea of attendees grant you anonymity, but they also seem to champion individuality. The more expressive, the better. They absolutely relish it. But yes, I think I will leave it there for now. So in summary, my thoughts on Glastonbury. Honestly, there were a lot of modern day struggles, what with the crowds, the queuing, the long drop toilets and the endless walking around in the boiling sun, but living in a tent, that that actually wasn't so bad. I mean, it got hotter than an oven as soon as the sun came up. But I quite liked tent life. And putting those annoyances aside, we had the incredible highs. No, not the drugs. I mean, the brilliant music with a sense of community that made me feel alive. I've now also got an endless amount of playlists to enjoy back at home, and I was able to spend quality time with people I'm very close with and so I'd say it wasn't the best week of my life, but it was a very different one. And for that, I'm incredibly grateful to have gone. I might try a one-day festival next time, but who knows? I might be erecting a tent sooner than you think. That's all from me, myself and Irene this week. I wonder, do you remember who Irene is? If not, you might need to go all the way back to the first couple of episodes of this podcast, because I think, yeah, I think it was in those that I called my microphone Irene, because I was feeling self-conscious about expressing myself without a companion. Now I bloody love it! Now you can't stop me, can you? Um, although I do have a new microphone since then, so should it be called Irene or should it be called something else? Or Irene 2.0. Shut up, Charlie. Start the bloody outro already. See you next time on the British English podcast.

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Transcript of Bitesize EP 063- Transcript

Speaker1:
Hello and welcome to another episode of the British English podcast, the show that focuses on British culture and at the same time helps you improve your British English. I am your host, Charlie Baxter, and today I've got a bit of brain fog, actually. I've had a strong coffee, sat down at the computer, excited to tell you about a recent experience of mine. But yeah, it's undeniable. Today I do not feel like the sharpest tool in the box. In fact, my friend from the States just texted me and Stacy saying, Anyone else feel like they've been hit by a truck today? Us Brits would probably say lorry instead of truck. Or maybe a bus. Yeah, maybe hit by a bus. But the meaning is the same. She feels terrible and is wondering if we do too. And yeah, she's not alone. Both of us are struggling to get back into the swing of things today. Actually, I think as I record this, Stacy has taken herself upstairs for a midday nap. So why. Why do we feel so dishevelled? Well, about a year ago, when we were living in Sydney, our friend Katie asked us to wake up at three in the morning to attempt to get tickets to something rather spectacular. Tickets started selling at midday in the UK and typically they sell out within two minutes. But if you are outside of the UK, you are more likely to be able to obtain a ticket because of the wonders of how the internet works. I won't bore you with the details of this supposed theory, but yes, this thing sells out within two minutes. And let me check just how many people go to this thing. Oh my God. Yeah. So 250,000 people attend this event, and the tickets sell out in under two minutes. And due to the high amount of traffic to the site, your device is likely to crash. So at 3 a.m., we had two phones, two laptops and two iPads, all being refreshed as quick as possible to get into this website. And lo and behold, we got through on one of the iPads. We booked tickets, jumped for joy, went back to bed. And for the most part of a whole year, we forgot about the adventure that we were going to embark upon. Fast forward to June 21st, 2023, and I'm packing walkie talkies, wet wipes and a variety of bold items of clothing that I wouldn't really think about putting on if it weren't for the fact that we were off to Glastonbury Music Festival. According to Google, the biggest music festival in the entire world, the population, as I said earlier, 250,000 people tend to go each year. And so you could say that's the population of an average city squashed into well onto one farm because it all happens on one farm, admittedly a rather large farm, but still one farm. There are 3000 acts performing over a three to four day period, from singer-songwriters to comedy performers to hippies doing talks to circus performers to cabaret. Glastonbury, aka Glasto, has it all. I don't think I ever said. Just to be clear, this is in the UK. I think I did say that, yes, Glastonbury is in Somerset, which is in England and we were lucky enough to get tickets. Although having not been to a festival for over ten years, I was a little bit nervous. I mean, I had to swap my duck down pillow for a blow up one with a hoodie wrapped around it. I had to toilet in a long drop in a random field that, might I add, wasn't such a long drop by the end of the festival, if you get what I mean. Sorry, just reminiscing. Huh? What else did I have to do? I had to shower at two in the morning to avoid 90 minute queues. We did over 30,000 steps every single day to reach the stages that we wanted. And although I'm thankful that it didn't rain, the sun was rather relentless, especially given that we were unable to seek shelter or find any shade all day, every day for the whole festival. But with all of those modern day struggles behind me, I can honestly say it was a wonderful experience and I'd like to tell you about it because it is a significant part of British culture. Everyone knows about it. Nearly everyone wants to go to it at least once in their lifetime, and many people call it the best week of their lives. I'm not sure if I'd go that far, but let me explain how it went down, and you can judge whether or not it would tickle your fancy, assuming, of course, you haven't been. If you have, then, my friend, we are united. We have gone through the same unique experience that is Glastonbury Music Festival. Oh goodness me how empty those words were for me before this experience. So imagine if you will, my partner, our friend and I get into the car full of excitement and a boot full of backpacks and random camping accessories because we didn't really know what we were doing. We then got on our designated coach after waiting for it for two hours because it was late. Then the coach squeezed its way through little farm lanes, winding roads and mud tracks, and voila! We were welcomed to a monstrous queue for the shuttle bus to take us back the way we came, and then round the entire festival to our campsite. This was followed by another queue and another one to begin the best week of many people's lives. And we get our wristbands punched on us like, um, like camp cattle, I guess. And out we go on to the farmland to find our tent that we had paid £250 extra each to get erected for us. I was told we were glamping, but I was told wrong. We were camping in a quote unquote four man tent. Really it looked like it could sleep two, but apparently it was a four man tent. We stayed in a campsite called Worthy View, which did have a worthwhile view of the festival. We were overlooking the people that didn't pay for pre tent erection like, you know, like lords over peasants, smug as fuck that we had showers at our disposal, cafes on every corner or field corner, corner of the fields, no corner field corner, field corner and and bogs on, well also every field corner. Yes that's right. The cafes were propped up next to the plopping zones, making for a delightful aroma of, um, you know, fresh coffee bean and pooey latrine. It was yes, it was great. So we were, you know, smug, smug as can be until we realise that the walk to the action made the view potentially not so worthy after all. Still, though, we had arrived. We dumped our bags in our £750 fabric home and positively skipped down the hill to witness the one and only Glastonbury Music Festival. 15 minutes later and we were in and amongst it all and half of my face already looked like it had been up to no good that day, but unfortunately I was still stone cold sober. The reason for one side of my face looking slightly worse for wear was, well, um. I don't know. What about. Let's give you a riddle. Yes, I'll make a riddle up and see if you can work it out. Work out what I am. As in I am telling you this riddle in first person, as if I'm the thing. You understand me, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right. Here's the riddle. Um. I am beneath your feet and above your head. I'm in the farmer's field and in your bed. I am unseen yet I'm in sight. I dance in the day and I hide in the night. I'm felt in a gust. Seen in a beam. Everywhere and nowhere. A whisper in a dream. What am I? Mhm. I like that riddle. Not going to pretend that was me. I started thinking of it. I started the first line or two, and then I thought, ChatGPT can do this quicker and better. So half of that was them. All right, so let's just do that one more time, see if you can get it. So I'm trying to help you figure out what made my eye look sore. Okay, so I'm. I was saying that half of my face looked like it was drugged, so it was my eye that was very sore. Okay. Why was it sore? Here's the riddle. I am beneath your feet and above your head in the farmer's field and in your bed. I am unseen. Yet I'm in sight. I dance in the day and I hide in the night. I'm felt in a gust seen in a beam. I think that's the easiest line. That's the most obvious one. I'm felt in a gust seen in a beam everywhere and nowhere. A whisper in a dream. So what am I? Well, I am the single most common reason that people visited the on-site medical team in Glastonbury this year. Any ideas? No. Think. Think. Underwhelming beyond belief. I am... Dust. That's right. Dust. I wasted your time and mine on explaining dust. But I tell you, those small yet mighty little particles, they got me good and proper. The paths that everyone was trampling on meant that hundreds of people were getting grit and dust kicked in their faces every second they dared to transfer from stage to stage. But, you know, as you know, I'm made of stronger stuff. So I decided to, you know, be brave. Put on my size seven big boy boots and face the music. Although, to be honest, that night we didn't really get too involved. Our excuses were that we'd had a long day of travelling. A musician that we all liked was playing pretty early the next day and we still hadn't had a single drink of alcohol. I'd like to add here that while my fellow festival goers I was sharing this experience with weren't so desperate to get to the bar each day, I have a fairly strong association with music and being out and about and drinking alcohol and I'd say I'm well below average in the amount of alcohol I consume in comparison to the average British person. I know many addicts would say something similar to this, but I can assure you that I think that I'm not one of them. Either way, I'd say of the 250,000 people attending, the majority of them were under the influence in some way, shape or form. I'd guess and I have no data on this at all, only my observations. But I'd go with 50% of festival goers in the UK have at least 3 to 5 drinks throughout the day and get a bit tipsy. Yeah, 50% get a bit tipsy. 15% are probably on something else. Wink, wink. Um, that was 15 one five. So 50% tipsy 15% on some naughty stuff at 10% probably just get absolutely rat-arsed. I'll explain that in the vocabulary. If you want to be a premium or academy member, go right ahead. And so that leaves, I think, 25% that would be sober or near enough sober. They might have had one or two drinks, but yeah, near enough sober. So 50% tipsy, 25% sober and 25% really drunk or something else. Oh, and of all of the above, I'd say close to like 40% were vaping, maybe 30%. But yes, so many people were vaping at Glastonbury this year. It was quite shocking. And then maybe 5% were smoking. All in all, a rather intoxicated bunch of people on one farm. And so being sober that first night we decided to call it a night after having attempted to get our bearings and failing because this festival really is as big as a city. I mean, it took us one hour to get back to our tent, and that was sober. Sober decision making. Took us one hour to get back to our tent from one of the main stages. And and very surprisingly, we managed to get a decent night's sleep. Now, during these memorable days at the festival, I discovered that what I enjoyed most resonated a little bit with my personality. Let me paint you a picture. I'm the kind of person who savours an open weekend with zero plans. I mean zero plans. The freedom to follow my instincts in the moment. I think there's something exhilarating about it. Appreciating the now, living in the moment and all that. And that being said, planning social events isn't my forte. And this sometimes collides with reality, where we we do need some degree of planning in our social lives. But at the festival I was imagining this sort of go with the flow mentality would be entirely possible. But it was it was different to what I had perhaps unknowingly hoped. And I'd say the majority of people were buzzing about which artists they couldn't wait to see. But honestly, that anticipation, it just it doesn't appeal to me. Um, not even for big names like Elton John and Arctic Monkeys. Instead, what truly lit up my experience were the unexpected moments, the surprises waiting around each corner, discovering new, incredible acts in intimate venues, feeling a real connection to the performers. Those experiences, those ones outshone the headline acts for me. It may have also been that my unease whilst watching these headline acts came from having to hold it for a solid four hours when drinking beer, all while packed like a sardine in a crowd. But still, if you're anything like me, how I just described my personality a little bit and you love the thrill of something new and unexpected, you might want to keep that in mind if you haven't been to a festival yet and you're planning on going to one. So yes, I really did see that the real joys came not from meticulous planning, but from the spontaneous moments that took me by surprise. Another thing I learnt, or at least experienced first-hand was how festivals in the UK are a treasure trove for non-native speakers wanting to make friends and practice speaking with native speakers. And I think it's quite unique because most of the time, when you get a large crowd, it's something that ends up being rather touristy and thus the locals are nowhere to be seen. But as I suggested at the beginning of this episode, music festivals are well and truly part of our culture and have been since the 50s and 60s when apparently the Beaulieu Jazz Festival, I think I'm pronouncing that right. The Beaulieu Jazz Festival, one of the UK's first music festivals that started in 1956. The Reading Festival and Cambridge Folk Festival were also born in this era, and then the Isle of Wight Festival began in 1968 and by 1970, apparently, this is insane. It dwarfs Glastonbury this year. It attracted 600,000 people, leading to legislation limiting the size of gatherings on the island. Imagine that, 600,000 people and then Glastonbury that started in 1970. Apparently the day after Jimi Hendrix died and then Glastonbury became the UK's most famous music festival. I also want to say the pronunciation is how I've been saying it: Glastonbury, Glastonbury. I heard a few of the North American singers saying Glastonbury, so yeah, don't say that. Say Glastonbury. Glastonbury. Um, if you want. If you want. It's entirely up to you. Don't shoot me. Don't cancel me. Um, where was I? Yeah, the 90s. So from the 90s onwards, the dance music scene exploded with festivals like Creamfields and Global Gathering. And today, the UK hosts hundred of festivals each year from massive events like Glastonbury to smaller genre-specific festivals. So Brits love music festivals. And not only do we love going, but we also seem to have this different mindset that encourages us to be insanely nice to one another and to open up and start making friends, which is weird because in the cities, especially in the southern areas, we generally keep ourselves to ourselves. And when we go on holiday, typically abroad, we really don't want to meet other Brits abroad. I mean, that might not be everyone's opinion, of course, but I really did feel this unnatural cultural phenomenon that allowed us all to rid ourselves of the norms in society and just, you know, get to know your neighbour. I mean, we actually made friends at the very first moment when waiting for a bus to the festival and I also witnessed a guy who was stood near us whilst we watched Arctic Monkeys play, who introduced himself to everyone he could see. Like I think I saw him shake hands with 20 people in under an hour when we were stood still like sardines, just, you know, stuck. Was he doing drugs? That's not important. The point is that the point that I'm trying to make is that, well, okay, he was absolutely off his tits. But still, if you fancy meeting some Brits and making some new friends, then you have hundreds of opportunities every single year, particularly between the months of May and September. So check out the likes of Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, the Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival spelled with a B, Bestival. That's the one I went to ten years ago and loved it. There's also Wireless Festival, Latitude Festival and if you like your rock and heavy metal, then maybe check out Download Festival. Now, there's another element of my festival experience that I find quite profound, and it concerns self-expression in the UK festival scene. So my festival companions nudged me ever so slightly to step out of my fashion comfort zone a bit, just a notch louder than my everyday attire. And that, coupled with a last minute grab from my late grandfather's umbrella stand, I found myself holding a vibrant, multi-coloured and multi-purpose umbrella that served as both shade provider and seat, which I grew weirdly fond of throughout the week. Now, I confess I might have raised an eyebrow or chuckled at this version of myself on a typical day if I was just walking down the street. I mean, to be more accurate, my younger self that was keen on fitting in with the crowd might have smirked at such a display, but within the festival's realm, all forms of expression are embraced and I didn't encounter a shred of judgement or criticism in any direction. It was so refreshing to see such open mindedness regarding individual expression. So if you've ever wished for a place where you could be bolder with your wardrobe, where you could morph into an alternate version of yourself without fear of judgement, then UK festivals could be your sanctuary. Each day invites you to embody a different persona, and not only does the sea of attendees grant you anonymity, but they also seem to champion individuality. The more expressive, the better. They absolutely relish it. But yes, I think I will leave it there for now. So in summary, my thoughts on Glastonbury. Honestly, there were a lot of modern day struggles, what with the crowds, the queuing, the long drop toilets and the endless walking around in the boiling sun, but living in a tent, that that actually wasn't so bad. I mean, it got hotter than an oven as soon as the sun came up. But I quite liked tent life. And putting those annoyances aside, we had the incredible highs. No, not the drugs. I mean, the brilliant music with a sense of community that made me feel alive. I've now also got an endless amount of playlists to enjoy back at home, and I was able to spend quality time with people I'm very close with and so I'd say it wasn't the best week of my life, but it was a very different one. And for that, I'm incredibly grateful to have gone. I might try a one-day festival next time, but who knows? I might be erecting a tent sooner than you think. That's all from me, myself and Irene this week. I wonder, do you remember who Irene is? If not, you might need to go all the way back to the first couple of episodes of this podcast, because I think, yeah, I think it was in those that I called my microphone Irene, because I was feeling self-conscious about expressing myself without a companion. Now I bloody love it! Now you can't stop me, can you? Um, although I do have a new microphone since then, so should it be called Irene or should it be called something else? Or Irene 2.0. Shut up, Charlie. Start the bloody outro already. See you next time on the British English podcast.

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I'd like to recommend the academy because...its contents are very interesting and authentic so, you learn a lot about British culture, be it in respect of society, habits and traditions and all with a touch of humour, which I really appreciate. 
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The academy content hones, not only on the vocabulary from intermediate to Advanced but it also packed with humour, as the host, Charlie really breaks down the expressions in every video of every episode, helping their vocabulary sink in and be used, actively in your speech.
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Charlie Baxter

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Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

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