'The vibes from the stone circle are amazing'

Patrick Barkham meets some happy campers

Gemma Partner, Hannah Phillips, Charlotte Wright, Milly-Jo Gunia

Hairdressers from Leicester

Gemma: "We've got dry shampoo with us - it's called Batiste, but we don't wash our hair that often."

Charlotte: "Most hairdressers don't."

Gemma: "I love the mud. You come to Glastonbury to be dirty and do things you wouldn't normally do. I've been to a lot of other festivals but I've never been to Glastonbury before. I expected it to be big but it's only when you start walking from the car park that you realise how big it is. It's so diverse: you talk to anybody and anything goes."

Jennifer Sundance

Tarot reader from Torquay

"I've done a reading for Glastonbury and it's a festival of energy and communication this year. The king of cups was there which is good for the emotional energy - it's flowing very well. I've been coming to Glastonbury since 1977. In the early days, I worked on the acoustic stage. Then I did the site newspaper for a couple of years. I had a year on the gate, and I've been in the Healing Field for the past 15 years. Glastonbury is like coming home. It's the place where everybody comes together. There are different bits of magic happening all day long."

Victor Wilks, 8; Sam Mann, 14; Star Gaze, 6; Lilac Foord-Brown 10; Danielle Mann, 11

From Bawdsey, Suffolk

Lilac: "I think I first came to Glastonbury when I was a few months old - that's what my mum says. My favourite thing is to walk around and see everything. All the tiny gardens in the Healing Field are nice. We're going to the Park later."

Star: "That's not a playground park. I like having marshmallows and going to the big sandpit."
Lilac: "But the weather is a bit annoying. It's all rainy and horrible."

Victor: "The best thing I've seen so far is all the shops that you can go to and all the stuff you can do. There are loads of activities like the pirate ship and skateboard ramps. But there is a lot of litter. I saw lots of bottles and I couldn't get to sleep because there was too much cheering."

Robert Kearle

Rubbish and wildlife manager, from Pilton

"When I was 12, I was a Saturday boy on a neighbouring farm. Michael Eavis wasn't allowed to buy this farm unless he took me on, so I was bought with the farm - bonded labour alive and well in Somerset. I've been with Pharaoh ever since. That's what we call Michael - he owns a pyramid. When I was 15, I collected gate money and took pounds 100,000 in cash on a 250cc motorbike to the farm. People would count it out on the floor. Because I'm a country boy I'm also responsible for all the wildlife on site. There are loads of badgers. They really like disturbed ground and eat a lot of the leftover food. There are setts under the floor of the crew catering tent. There's more wildlife here than if we didn't have the festival because we don't plough the fields or remove the hedgerows. There are orchids and deer. We also have barn owls, tawny owls and little owls - I saw one fly across the family camping ground last night."

Kaeleigh and Stevie Beddoe

Sisters from Devon

Kaeleigh: "We are working for our tickets. We pick up rubbish from 5am to 12pm when everyone is asleep. You have to work a total of 24 hours over the course of the festival but it's a good deal because you get two free meals a day as well. It's fun picking up rubbish because you get to chat to people and bumble around and you feel like you are doing a good thing. There are hundreds of us, and a lot stay behind to work cleaning up after the festival. You find loads of stuff - enough alcohol every day to have a piss-up at night. You can find money if you're lucky, and it's quite cosy after the festival because you can pick up sleeping bags and tents. Some people leave everything behind."

Jenny Cole, Abi Jackson, Dan Whistance, Brett Mayfield

Blacksmiths from Herefordshire

Brett: "We have the one muddy patch in this entire field. So we got this gravel from Jamaica and now everything is fine."
Dan: "We got the gravel from down the hill."

Brett: "I thought this was the Tesco of festivals but it's been good so far. I was dreading the security because I'd heard so much about them but everybody has been really mellow."

Dan: "Travelling here has been the first long journey for my lorry - it's a 1957 Commer - and I just hope to make enough money to ields and we've got a big truck and we use fossil fuels but we make buy some petrol so I can get it home."

Brett: "Smithery is going through a resurgence but we can't compete with Chinese imports - you have to make something that can't be made with a machine."

Luke and Echo Morgan

From London

Luke: "I was here in 1998 and 1999, and then stayed away. It's more civilised and middle class now. Nostalgia brought me back, and I wanted Echo to see it. I've been saying for four years we should come here and dress up in our Shoreditch style and see what happens."

Echo: "I find it absolutely amazing. They make so much effort to make the environment really interesting. I found the whole setting up of the tents really sweet because I've never gone camping at all. I even love the rain - but the most important thing is that I've bought five vintage hats."

Claire Baldwin

Singer-songwriter (aka Misty Blue) from Bristol

"I feel right at home here. I can be myself. The highlight is definitely the Green Fields and the Small World stage. They've got loads of talent in there. Lost Vagueness is great as well, for the parties. There's loads of energy this year. It's an ecstatic, crazy, fun-filled place where everyone is smiling, for once in their lives, and not feeling depressed. The vibes from the stone circle last night were amazing. It takes you back to your roots, how we used to be - getting together in a circle and banging drums."

Liz Elliott

Coordinator of the Green Fields

"It began for me as a festival party with a group of ecological friends. I volunteered to clean toilets one year and then I got bounced into overseeing the Green Fields in the 1980s. The area conveys a message of how easy it is to live close to the Earth, in a non-consumerist way. Billy Bragg called me the godmother of greens at Glastonbury. This year, I've been trying to go back, be more political and raise a bit more energy on things like climate change. Of course I'm disappointed about the increasing materialism of the people who come to Glastonbury each year, but I try really hard to spread green awareness across the whole main site."


Patrick Barkham

The GuardianTramp

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