THE GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL Dance Tent was closed for most of Saturday after attempts to drain waterlogged areas ended in nose-curling disaster.
Organisers shut the tent down at around 1.30pm in the afternoon when areas in the tent became impassable due to standing water. A machine known in the Glastonbury onsite crew vernacular as a “gulley sucker” – a tractor/trailer unit with a sewage drainage tank and extraction pump machine used to empty the onsite latrines – was driven into the tent in order to remove the excess water via its powerful suction device.
However, due to what organisers termed “an unfortunate operational error”, the controls on the pumping machine were set to “blow” rather than “suck” and when the machine was switched on the entire tent was flooded with human effluent.
Health And Safety officials immediately closed the tent down. It didn’t reopen until the following morning. Among acts whose Saturday performances were affected were Autechre, Spring Heel Jack, Tortoise, Common, Scratch Perverts and Fatboy Slim.
Much more Glastonbury news and full festival review in this week’s mud-free NME (cover date July 4, 1998).