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Glastonbury 1999 Saturday, 26 June, 1999, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Glastonbury Diary: Part 1
Chris Charles is now here - somewhere
BBC music journalist Chris Charles, who is keeping a daily diary for BBC News Online, has finally made it to the festival. But did he manage to get a tent to sleep in? He records his impressions at the start of Glastonbury's first day.

Friday 25 June, 1500

Glastonbury 1999
You couldn't make it up. Following the saga of the missing tent, our companion, Steve, purchased a new one for us in Wood Green High Street. But, alas, we finally got to Glastonbury on Thursday afternoon and lo and behold, we found he'd left it in the living room back in London.

Like I said, you couldn't make it up.

Fortunately, one of the posse we're camping with, who will hereby be known as Captain John, bought 2 spare tents, toilet roll, walkie talkies, and binoculars!

Thursday night passed off without incident and finally we got the chance to catch some live action.

All aboard the Glastonbury bus: Debbie Harry
I've seen three bands so far. Bjorn Again did their Abba tribute set on the main stage, which included, bizarrely, a rendition of Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild. Trouble is, they actually sounded more like Steppenwolf than Abba.

Everlast, by contrast was magnificent. The former House Of Pain frontman finished off his set with What It's Like, but for all the crowd's encouragement, his band's biggest hit Jump Around was left firmly in the dressing room.

Finally, I also saw Queens of The Stone Age - who were average indie fodder.

But I'm looking forward to Blondie. Earlier on, Debbie Harry toured the site, giving a regal wave from the top of a double-decker bus.

Sadly, I thought she was waving at me and waved back.

Well, it is Glastonbury...


Thursday 24 June, 0900

This scene won't be repeated in 1999 - hopefully...
Less than two hours before we head down those familiar leafy lanes to deepest Somerset and I've just been told we're missing one essential piece of equipment - a tent!

Frantic searches of the loft have proved alarmingly fruitless - and I've suddenly remembered why. In our haste to escape from last year's mud-fest, removing a sodden piece of canvas from a set of greasy, clay-infested poles and trying to squeeze the whole lot into a flimsy bag the size of a flannel was simply not an option. So we left it there.

The fact that said tent had only been purchased two days before the festival - we'd left its predecessor in the same field a year earlier for precisely the same reason - was neither here nor there at the time.

Unfortunately our expensive time-saving plan proved to be hopelessly in vain as we waited for four hours in the quagmire that was once a car park for a tractor to tow us out.

That episode alone summed up the total misery and despair of last year.

'Water lapping around our knees'

After 1997's debacle, they said it would never be that bad again. They were right - it was worse.

Great British stoicism defiantly rose to the fore for the first two days, but the resigned smiles were soon hidden behind gritted teeth.

Sure, there were highlights. Dancing to Bentley Rhythm Ace in a rain-lashed field with water lapping around our knees, watching England going 2-0 up against Colombia on a huge screen as a full-on storm raged above our heads and, er, that was about it.

In fact we even abandoned the football at half-time when my mate, in his infinite wisdom, remembered he'd bought a battery-operated portable telly that would have saved us an unwanted bath.

This year, organisers and weather forecasters alike are confidently predicting a heatwave. Seasoned festival-goers are slightly more cautious.

The last scorcher was back in '95 and what a difference it made being able to sit down and watch a band or just chill out, without the need of a bin liner for moral support.

Adopting that other British trait of optimism, I'm packing the sun cream and shades alongside the wellies and mac, but if things go horribly wrong once again and someone dares to utter the immortal line "we'll look back at this in three months time and laugh," I swear I'll lose it.

Now, about that tent....

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