GAS retro T Shirt designs, Glastonbury CND Festival. Day 240 of lockdown, days shorter but above the clouds, the future is bright.

Vintage Glastonbury CND Festival 1981 to 1985

As everyone anticipated and looked forward to the 2020 Glastonbury Festival, my nephew Nick found a 1984 Glastonbury CND Festival tshirt amongst his fathers discarded memorabilia. He enthusiastically informed me that he loved the design and the sentiment and could he sell them on our behalf at the forthcoming festival.

Understandably, the festival is now a ‘World Brand’ and strictly controls this type of item sold on site.(Past shirts here)  He then volunteered to ‘stand on the road’ to sell. This was a little extreme so we decided to relaunch Great Alternative Stores Ltd (GAS) as an online store to sell the designs we were responsible for. They covered the first five years that Michael Eavis took back control. He renamed it the Glastonbury Festival and supported the aims of the sponsors CND.

.And then ‘Lockdown’ occurred, the antithesis of a festival crowd. The 50th Anniversary Glastonbury event was postponed and we were left confronted by our laptops, thinking about the past and trying to get a handle on ‘social media’. 

I had kept a weather eye on Michaels efforts at Worthy Farm since I had found myself at the original Fair in 1970.

Driving licences were thin on the ground in our circle and Marc Bolan and Steve Took needed someone to help drive their Cadillac down to Butlins at Minehead for a paid performance. These gigs were also thin on the ground.

The Kinks  had pulled out from the first Glastonbury Fayre so we diverted to Worthy Farm. The lane beside the farmhouse was lined with bramble, the car had had a flocked finish and this was a brief moment of tension as I tried to navigate the monster car to the stage. It was a beautiful event with an entry fee of £1 but a financial failure. 1981 was a much better run event, we paid £40 for a stall and CND made about £20,000.

Our friend Pete Drummond , Radio 1 DJ, introduced the acts and another friend, Chris Latham, helped build the new pyramid and Children's World. Our neighbours, Hawkwind played on Saturday night and another, Hank Wangford the singing cowboy, played on the Sunday so it really was a family affair.  We had tried to back project on a giant screen but couldn't  get enough power. I don't remember the weather being too damp, that was to come in the next four years. We based the shirt design on the floating ‘spirit of Glastonbury’ globes floating over the pyramid stage with the CND symbol proudly positioned atop but the actuality was,  it was difficult to put in place so I think it was positioned to the side of the stage.

We continued to supply and sell the Festival TShirts for the next four years as entry fees rose from £8 to £16 and numbers attending grew from an uncontrolled 25,000 in 1982 to a regulated number via a local council licence to 40,000 in 1985. Today, Glastonbury has a ticketed limit of 135,000, a totally different animal.

We all manned the stall throughout the long weekend, staying open 24 hours a day, the chemical shift. Lots of memories, one of two people dressed in ‘Clockwork Orange’ white, with speakers strapped to their legs and playing on electric guitars as they moved at dawn through the mist, up the hill towards us. Another, Pancake Annie selling her Crepes on the stall next to us. Joan Baez and the Band in 1984, and of course the mud in 1982 along with Van Morrison and a repeat in a very much bigger site with the Boomtown Rats in 1985.

Our designs encompassed the 1982 pyramid, of course along with the Glasto Jester in 1983, the full End of World CND symbol in 1984 and a design we, along with Michael are still puzzling over, the spirit of John Lennon in 1985.

GAS and Glastonbury parted company at this point, one was fading and the other was growing fast but there is nothing like having to stay locked up indoors and socially distancing when out, to get the grey matter reminiscing on the past. 

GAS is rising now, from our start in a basement in London W9 to a cloud, probably controlled by Amazon……..oh well!