Glastonbury is an explosion of sound and colour, a five-day smorgasbord that can be experienced in a multitude of different ways, all depending on how you like to spend your time on an off-duty farm in Somerset. For us, it’s a whirlwind of anthemic music played at the many stages that specialise in electronic music, including the unparalleled Block9 arena.
But somehow, among it all, this video of a 20-year-old lad from Bath raving with a loaf of bread serves as the best momento of what the festival is all about. Just take one look: the pure, unbridled joy emanating from his smile and dance moves (shout out Madam X); his bucket hat and sports shorts, emblematic of multiple generations who have parked their normal lives at the cattle grid of Worthy Farm and got proper fucking stuck in; the halo of light that bathes him and his circle of friends in the warm glow of eternal youth and, of course, a huge loaf of bread that moves through the air in time with his gun fingers. The hunk of dough pauses just long enough for a pal to take a well-earned bite and, with one munch, encapsulates the communal spirit of Glasto, the utopia on earth that each of its 250,000 attendees create every year.
By day Ben Hawker works in a chocolate shop and makes music as defmacro, but during one night at Glastonbury he became a sesh legend and encapsulated the very essence of human kindness. We spoke to him about feeding the people, getting asked for 200 selfies in five hours and how the hell he managed to stumble upon an artisan sourdough in the depths of the Glasto madness.
Where did this loaf of bread come from?
We were camped by this bakery. They were selling all of their little pastries for £1 each because it was the end of the day. They had displayed loads of bread in the back and I was like, “can I buy one of those for a pound?” and the guy was like, “hmmm… go on then.”
Do you know the stage Arcadia? The idea was that we were going to toast the bread on the flamethrowers. Arcadia starts at 11pm so I just brought the loaf to a few of the little dance stages, like The Blues stage. I was carrying it on my shoulder and dancing around with it and we were just getting people to get their face in it, everyone was munching on the bread, it was fucking jokes.
I’d say I had it for about four or five hours. I had it all the way up until 11pm and the loaf was nearly finished. I reckon about 200 people got selfies with me and the loaf of bread.
So you were close to feeding the 5000 then.
Everyone was like, “it’s Jesus with his bread, where’s the wine?”
Did you manage to toast the bread at Arcadia?
The bread didn’t make it to Arcadia, that was the biggest shame of the whole night. That’s why we need a bigger loaf next year I think. Multiple loaves, one for each night. There’s no way I’m going to live the rest of my life and not take a piece of bread to Arcadia and get it toasted on that flamethrower, man.
Were you giving bites out for free?
I was. It was too funny. We had people forming queues at one point. And at the end of it there was a hole in the bread and I stuck my hand in it, waving it in the air.
You gave the whole loaf of bread out, it didn’t get dumped on the ground, it got eaten by the people of Glastonbury?
Completely eaten mate, there was none left by the end.
Can you confirm what type of bread it was?
I’m not 100 per cent sure but I think it was sourdough.
Because we had an office bet and I thought it was a Tiger bread.
It was quite crusty on the outside. It was a sourdough with a crusty outside.
I’m embarrassed now ‘cos I was arguing that there’s no way it was a sourdough. I’ve never seen a sourdough like it.
Do you know what, I would say it’s a sourdough ciabatta.
Will this be a regular thing for you now?
Yeah, we were just talking about it. We’re gonna bring more sourdough to festivals, just keep it going. It’s a thing now.
Would you ever consider setting up a stall or would you always give the bread out for free?
It’s gotta be free man, that’s part of the rave dude.
I’ve been watching the video over and over again. You’re dancing, you’ve got a bucket hat on, you’ve got your bread. For me it’s an iconic look – how much thought did you put into that outfit?
The look and the bread sort of came together, they had to come hand-in-hand I think, to really sell the bread to the people. I think the bucket hat needed to go on and the gun fingers had to come out. It all came together. I had my 3D glasses on for a bit, I don’t know if anyone got any photos of that.
A lot has been made about how political Glastonbury was this year. Would you say carrying the bread out into the field was a political statement?
I would say technically it’s not a political statement but I would like to think that everyone coming together and just munching on the bread…
That’s inherently political.
Yeah, there you go.
Do you think Jeremy Corbyn would be proud of you?
I would hope Jeremy Corbyn would be proud of me, I’d hope so. I was proud of Jeremy Corbyn.