As Glastonbury gears up for headliners Coldplay, Muse and Adele, Samaritans is all set to stage a welcome for anyone who may not be having such a good time.
Since the 1970’s Samaritans volunteers have been part of the festival mix at events all over the UK and Ireland, offering emotional support to anyone who needs it, whether they’re there to work, party or play.
The same will be true of the UK’s biggest festival this weekend, where anyone going through a tough time is guaranteed a listening ear at Samaritans’ tented base between the two main stages.
Janet Horsfield is a lead volunteer with what Samaritans calls its ‘Festival Branch’: “The image of a festival is that you’re going to have a great time, non-stop, and thousands of people do. But that’s not always the reality, especially if you’ve got a lot going on at home. You hope things will be better, that this will be the panacea. But for many, you end up taking it all with you.”
“We’re busy all day but from sun down to sun up, it’s party time, and that’s when we start to get people affected by drugs and alcohol. The melancholy sets in and in the early hours, as people are coming down, a lot of things can become an issue and people want to open up. We have a lot more volunteers on from 10pm to 2am, that’s our busiest time.”
“And it’s not just the fans that we speak to, it’s also traders and others like security people. Many of them are working away for a season and some can be escaping from issues at home. But they find it hard being itinerant, and they miss their family - that’s when all the stories come out.”
“There are so many people whose livelihoods depend on the success of festivals, and very often that’s linked to the weather. If it’s a bad, takings can be really down, and because they’ve invested so much to be at the festival, that can have an enormous impact. They’ll come and talk to us and all kinds of thing will come out from that stress.”
“Often, we get people coming back at a festival to say thank you – ‘If you hadn’t been here last night, I don’t know what I’d have done.’ It’s lovely to get that feedback, as it’s not something that happens ordinarily when we’re doing our normal shifts in our local Samaritans branch. Here you can see the impact you’ve had, people can arrive very down or distressed, but they leave with hope.”
Samaritans volunteers are stationed at Glastonbury between the Pyramid Stage and the Other Stage in the Main Markets area, near Whitelake Bridge.
Read more about a day in the life of Samaritans’ Festival branch here.
For further information, please contact Samaritans’ press office on 020 8394 8300 or [email protected]
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Notes to editors:
- Samaritans volunteers offer emotional support at a range of outdoor festivals and events, including: Wychwood, Download, Farmyard Party, Glastonbury, T in the Park, Beatherder, Kendal Calling, Latitude, Y-Not, Boomtown, Bloodstock, ArcTanGent, Reading & Leeds, Stormin’ the Castle and Bestival.
- Samaritans responds to more than 5.7 million calls for help every year, offering emotional support by phone, email, text and face to face in its 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. For more information please see www.samaritans.org.
- Anyone can call Samaritans, you don’t have to be suicidal. Whatever you’re going through, call us for free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email [email protected], or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
- It’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean Samaritans is always there for anyone struggling to cope. Find out how you can support us: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us