Music mags report from a mudbath

By Alyson Fixter

Music journalists hit by freak storms at the Glastonbury Festival
last week managed to stave off deadline disaster despite being swamped
with mud and plunged into an electricity blackout.

A month’s worth of rain fell in two hours early last Friday morning,
causing the cut-off of electricity for part of the day and turning the
site into a mudbath.

Q, which publishes the festival’s daily
paper, was on the verge of transporting its 11-strong team to Plymouth
to finish the Saturday edition for its 8pm deadline after it lost power
to its computers.

The magazine’s team of distributors found
themselves handing out papers with the front-page strapline: “Pilton
smoulders in the summer heatwave” while wading through a flash flood.

The
next day’s edition was headlined simply: “Cheers God!” and contained
four inside pages devoted to photos of the carnage caused by “Brown
Friday”.

Matt Allen, who has edited the Q Daily at Glastonbury
for the past four years, said: “The great thing about Glastonbury is
that people still muddle through even when Mother Nature’s giving you a
kicking.

“Our photographer, Edd Westmacott, went out and shot everything and we cleared all our news pages for pictures. But then the electricity went off.

“We
were sitting in the van just about to go to Plymouth when it came back
on and we managed to get it done by 8.30pm. I’m really proud of the
team.”Music weekly NME, which in recent years has been denied the use
of on-site production facilities because of the festival’s sponsorship
deal with Q, said its office-in-a-minibus complete with its own
generator saved the day.

Editor Conor McNicholas said: “We’ve
been forced into this position of complete independence because we have
the least amount of resources on site, and this year it really paid off.

“While
Q’s generator was floating in a sea of mud and the BBC and nationals
were having difficulties, we had our own back-up generator and were the
first to get photos up on our website of what was happening.”

Jo Whiley’s show on BBC Radio 1 was delayed by last Friday’s downpour.

Chris Moyles had to continue his breakfast show as BBC engineers at the festival worked to get Whiley on air.

Whiley called the station on her mobile phone to say: “You can’t see the ground. It’s just like a river with a proper current. I can see the water rising.” After generators were restored she managed to broadcast for 20 minutes of her show.

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