Trojan horse gets Travellers past gates: Glastonbury festival used to be free; now tickets cost pounds 58. But there are ways of getting past the guards

'RIGHT]' says Ian. 'We've got a pass. We've got a bus and it's legal, and we're going to steam Glastonbury. Let's go]'

There are two ways of getting into the Glastonbury festival. You can buy a ticket for pounds 58, pack up your tent and make your way to Somerset. Or you can join the Travellers.

The Glastonbury festival gets the Travellers heated. 'It's our festival,' one says. 'It was a free people's festival for years until Michael Eavis (the farmer who organises it) decided to start demanding money. We made it, what right has he to keep us away?'

Until three years ago Mr Eavis set aside a field for the Travellers. But they were banned after disturbances and fights with security guards.

This year they have been prevented from holding any substantial gathering: now they are thirsting for a party. Policing is so tight, there is no hope of finding a site for a 'free festy'. So it's Glastonbury or bust.

Billy, a Traveller at a site near Street in Somerset, has turned his home into a wooden horse to take us into the festival. At 5.30pm on Thursday 10 adults and two children pile on to the ancient Leyland coach. Supplies are loaded. Traveller economy depends on trade: everyone's got something to sell - beer, water, food. everything a festival goer might need. Billy is hoping to sell the bus for pounds 1,500.

Yesterday he and two others jumped the fence, found a stall whose name they could use to bring in the bus and had their hands stamped to allow them back in.

The eight miles to the site at Pilton take an hour in the sun and slow traffic. There are blue uniforms everywhere.

Approaching Gate 2, we crowd into the back of the bus, leaving just the 'legal' people in the cab. The little girls love this game: 'Ssh', they keep saying, and when the two-year-old cannot take any more excitement she yelps. We giggle. This makes her yelp more. 'Shush,' says the older child, 'or the pigs will take you away.'

Billy explains to the gate guards that he has to meet his mum, who runs the Bristol Vegans' stand. This bus is the kitchen, but we've lost the passes. Astonishingly the guard nods, hands over passes that have been left for the vegans and waves us on. 'I cannot believe it,' Billy says. 'We've saved pounds 640,' says someone else.

The celebration came too soon. As we look for somewhere to park, the clutch dies. A steward appears and says there may be a problem with our paperwork. Travellers know how to deal with this. Billy gets out of the cab with the keys and disappears. So when security guards gather round and tell us we'd better go, we're sorry, but we can't.

Two hours of argument, threats to dismantle the bus and debate over whether or not we really are the Bristol Vegans follow. Finally, just as the sun begins to set in splendour over the Glastonbury crowds the word comes: 'OK. I don't know how you did it, but Mr Eavis says you can stay.' Five minutes later the ambassador from Mr Eavis returns, laughing: 'You jammy bastards. You made it just in time. The Bristol Vegans have just arrived at Gate 2.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn