Glastonbury With Marcus

7 September 2016

The alarm was set and you actually jumped out of bed this time. Arranged on the table is a computer, three laptops, an iPad and four phones. All nine screens flash with the frustrating rotation of the loading wheel. Only 618th in the online queue, things are looking promising. Is all this (not to mention the almost guaranteed failure of the attempt) worth seeing your favourite band at Glastonbury? BBG boy Marcus Sivyer (Select Models) presents you with his answer in this BBG Diaries series, documenting four days of festival festivities.

'We saw Gregory Porter, he was great. Who was that guy with the blue hair? Ezra Furman - he was really good.' But for a music festival, the musicality and vitality is found off the stage just as much as, if not more than, on it; 'I went there thinking that I was gonna see Kurt Vile, Grimes and a load of people, but when I got there it's just so big that the main stage alone seemed like the size of Reading Festival. When you go to the main stages though the vibe is killed, because you've got all these people around you pushing and squeezing just to hear someone perform probably not too well; it's more about the little stages you find. There was so much going on and so much content that I didn't even know what to take pictures of - I could've taken pictures of anything and it would've been interesting, so decided to focus on my family. I love my family a lot and they're bloody fun, so I thought it would be cool to focus on the five people that I was with, doing what they do. We're just a crazy bunch.'

As a festival that has spanned generations, Glastonbury provides the perfect setting for Marcus' concentration on family. As he says; 'there is no age limit there, from old men to babies.' Harking back to the renowned festival's conception at the height of the hippy days, Marcus steers clear from digital photography, using film to capture the natural spontaneity and tree-hugging freedom that has its roots in the counter-culture past of our parents. Roaming the green fields of Somerset, his backdrop is an environment which allows that familiar familial love to be hauled back up from its hiding place and spread amongst the crowds. It's no coincidence that the symbol of the family is one of the strongest structures in nature. 'Maybe some people would be embarrased to go with their 50-year-old uncle and his girlfriend, but he just made it so much fun and he's the coolest guy I know. He is what I hold to be a model person, so I've got very high expectations of humans from what I've got already. Because of my family, I've already got a gang of people that I hold pretty high.'

When you think Glastonbury, the image that springs to mind is less of a spring, more of a bog. Nature continues to fight for itself. Mud is the headliner every year. 'The mud was ridiculously high the whole time. It's traditional, but it changed consistency really frequently. One minute it was really hard and it was sticking, and the next it was like river mud that you had to wade through. We have a tradition in our family that we basically just fight each other and whoever submits obviously loses, so in two-foot mud, we thought we'd have a bit of a wrestle. And when I talk about mud fight, it's not like throwing mud like children do - it's literally a fight. We even had a massive crowd, because people thought it was some kind of arranged activity. When I was fighting Paris, my older cousin, I accidentally hooked her hoop earring off and she literally went...dreadlocks in one hand, shoving mud in my mouth with the other. I was a bit scared.' Capturing these sudden and unpredictable moments, the kind that only festivals can create, Marcus' photography is brutally honest, dragging you into the harsh yet picturesque reality of his time. Scrolling through his images, you become part of his world, a distant family member.

Being a boy, it wasn't long before the pangs distracted Marcus' eye from the lens and it resumed its everlasting battle with the stomach. Eye vs. Food - who is bigger this time? 'Food is a big part for me and the food was absolutely amazing, I remember my favourite meal was Ghana curry. I'm half Ghanaian - maybe I was just feeling the roots. As I said, there was so much going on that I felt closer to my roots and my family. It's not really about the music, it's just about being there.'

Photography by Marcus Sivyer.
Words by Jonny Clowes.

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