Trader Tales 2014


June 30, 2014

During this year’s Festival, the folks from Alpine food specialists Le Rac Shack will be blogging about their experiences of trading at Glastonbury.

Monday. Watermarked reasons.

Having assessed our takings on Monday morn, Sunday transpired to be the biggest day in terms of cheese flogged at Le Rac Shack with the queue extending long into the night. Upon closing we had celebrated our success in classic festival style; jumping around, arm in arm, nailing the lyrics to 1D outside the Brothers Bar. It was now time to man-up and pack-up, which honestly felt like an impossible task looking at the kitchen, Chatlet, tents and decking…

Two parties emerged when faced with this challenge, the faithful and the not so… After been paid for their services the ‘not so’ team swiftly dismantled their tents and ran off to find their car and get out of there – Sam, the gaff, shouting “If you put your blood, sweat and tears in you don’t get them back!” behind them – no one quite knows what he meant by this but it was no where near enough to make them turn back to assist…

It may have been an old Russia proverbial curse, as the not so faithful team’s petrol had mysteriously disappeared from their car #nightmare

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Having re-fuelled it was shocking how efficient the Glasto exit was, with no trouble – bar the petrol mystery – it took less than 30mins to get off Worthy Farm and onto the open road. The faithful crew at this point were still packing away, wishing they had done more on the previous day and regularly cursing those who had left them with a mountain to climb.

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The three vans were packed within an inch of bursting and all was done, eventually, by the ripe old hour of 02.30 in the morning. The words “If you put your blood, sweat and tears in, you don’t get them back” suddenly rang true, although even if we didn’t get them back, we were all leaving with plenty of watermarked paper reasons to come back next time!

Until then, special thanks to all my team who where fantastic, the market managers for being extremely supportive and everyone who went to Glasto 2014. We are coming back bigger and better next year. Before that, it’s off to Cornbury this weekend…

Sunday. The Shack will be back.

The final day. How this has come around full circle so quickly is an absolute mystery. We awoke with sorrow-filled heads but were again relieved to be a trader with access to the trader’s facilities – impeccable toilets all week! Worthy Farm had also dried-up thanks to the early morning sun and tonnes of bark being dumped on all major paths.

Our final day of trading saw many returning customers, which is always a treat and cheeses were being scraped left right and centre. With a constant queue for the majority of the day, we were delivering Glastonbury the cheese that every happy punter deserved.

Sunday’s offering of music was very tasty for Le Rac Shack team and thankfully we managed to accustom the rota to suit everyone’s needs. The legend that is Dolly Parton blew us away, whilst the Black Keys, and their ridiculously good tunes, had the staff raising their hands and loving the Festival vibes.

We also managed to tear ourselves away from eating raclette and sampled the delights of Buddha Bowl and Manna.

After closing up shop, the team reconvened to embrace the festival as one solid tribe. Work hard, play hard, is certainly a motto for Le Rac Shack – so much so that Sam, the gaff, fell asleep at the stone circle before wandering back to the tent at 6am. Very good from him.

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It was the perfect end to an insane week – what happens tomorrow when we have to pack-up and go? The thought of leaving is rather depressing, but at least we’ll be taking away a great sense of pride that we’ll be sure to experience again. The Shack will be back.

Saturday. Duty Calls.

Yes it’s Saturday, day 6 for most here at Le Rac Shack. The cheese dreams are starting to get on top of us, blending the lines between reality and make believe, but all for the better!

Mumford & Sons hosting their Gentlemen of the Road thing in the Avalon Café was the news of the morning. Everyone was excited, we queued from the early hours, hotly anticipating the legends that they are. Sadly Le Rac Shack needed our assistance so we reluctantly pulled ourselves away and we traipsed back with our heads down. The customers were swarming and Saturday had turned into a thriving trade for the shack.

The market street was thronging, the rain beat down but customers were happy. A knitting genius crossed our paths and sat for many patient hours creating a master cross stitch piece of us at work. It’s been a great Glasto so far and all of us here can’t wait for the sunny Sunday ahead.

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After a very successful cheese filled day, we ventured over to see Fatboy Slim work his magic. Mesmerised, we decided to follow the fresh new rumour that Disclosure were playing at the legendary Arcadia – a venue we’d yet to feast our eyes upon.

We couldn’t believe our luck – after 10 minutes of strategically placing ourself below the demon eyes of the spider, we quite unbelievably, met the two Disclosure boys themselves… To our shame, we even offered them a 50p voucher off our fabulous Raclette. Sadly, a photo has sadly been deleted in a drunken, loving-a-night-off, frenzy!

Friday. Making memories.

You couldn’t stand still to pull your wellysocks up without your pint of ale bring watered down to an ale-esque squash. Cats and dogs dear readers. Cats and dogs.

The floodgates properly opened up and the Shack’s waterproofing was severely tested. Despite the crew’s best efforts, leaks were found and pots and pans were deployed.

It was the day that the music came alive. The Rudimental set was cut short due to threats of lightening striking the apex of the legendary Pyramid structure… Having said that the Shack crew returned from their time off beaming from seeing the likes of Paolo, Jurassic 5, De La Soul and the big guns – Arcade Fire!

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FEATURE PIECE: John Percival, Face of the Rac shack. “Today has been a restless one and I’m sure it will be followed by a restless nights sleep. With news, fresh from the rumour mill, of a potential intimate return of last year’s headliners – Gentlemen of the Road A.K.A. Mumford and Sons – at the Avalon cafe. I’m stoked, I just hope we’re not let down by the mill, it would be too much to bare. Watch this space”. 
 
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Stars are mingling with the masses and surprise acts are rumoured to be supplementing the already bulging line-up. Many say Sunday’s acts will be the show stoppers, and I do not disagree. Although as I write this, I’m listening to the inconspicuous bandstand churn out belter after banger, which is a prime example of how every random songwriter, cider bus or lucky indie tent moment all contribute equally in engraving Glastonbury on the minds of every person here. Making memories.

Thursday. Face the music.

We hit the ground running at 08:00; bacon and baked bean Raclettes soothed the stomachs of Wednesday early birds, whilst Thursday newcomers looked-on smugly.

Although the rumours of whale spotting trips and incoming rain clouds began to worry the Le Rac Shack crew, it was yet again a glorious sunny start to our first full trading day. However the sunshine and smiles quickly turned to grey clouds and groans as the rain came, which meant our covered chalet seating area became ridden with revellers of all shapes and sizes.

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The Rac crew decided today was the day to investigate the other traders of Glastonbury and my goodness we were impressed. With names as excellent and descriptive as ‘Sausage Fest’, witty tag lines such as “I like pig butts and I cannot lie” dramatically pulling in the punters, and Yeo Valley soothing anyone and everyone’s hangovers in the morning with yogurts for a snip at £1!

We fell upon the arts and crafts traders where we saw fire starters, gobblers, and a giant polar bear – sooooo Glasto. We were in awe of the surroundings, it’s all kicking-off across Worthy Farm.

I’m confident that I speak for the 135,000 souls on Worthy Farm when I say; we, the eclectic mass of devoted fans, are going to live this Glastonbury 2014 as if it was our last. It’s time to face the music!

Wednesday. Dijon Mustard

Another scorcher. The day of reckoning. The day the crowds join us to share the fields. Rumours have it trains from Paddington station were breaking into GLASTOOOOOO chants. Breakfast Bacon Raclettes were flying off the menu, the avalanches of cheese just kept coming.

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It was an interesting start to the day for the crew; one of our crucial crew members – Jonathan Percival, Deputy Grill Master – unfortunately lost his ticket and was staring down a long drive back to Aberdeen. The Le Rac Shack crew were having kittens anticipating a festival without him, especially Tom Erasmus, Veteran Kitchen Director: “losing him at a time like this would be an utter disaster, he’s my right hand man and full-time partner”.

Thankfully, with a bit of initiative and a slice of know-how from Jonathan’s mum, the ticket was found under the grill master’s pillow. He’d been unknowingly storing it for safe keeping after a rather intoxicated evening in the Scottish highland.

Baked Camembert is debuting on Le Rac Shacks menu and based on today’s feedback it’s going down an absolute storm. A couple of timing issues as the perfect gooey consistency can take 11-12mins but the punters are more than happy to take a pew in our après ski seating area while they wait.

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Rota completed and fairy lights up – tomorrow we embark on our first full day of trading with baited breath. What will become of us tomorrow evening? Only time will tell if we can cut the Dijon mustard.

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Tuesday. The Glasto feeling.

Awoken at 08:30 to the sweet scent of Worthy Farm and the sound of cattle humming Dolly Parton’s Jolene. The Le Rac Shack crew marched to find a Frappe mocca and a vegan bacon ciabatta. A true trader’s breakfast.

It’s another day until flocks of Festival folk surround us, care free and merry – most probably on Facebook now fanatically writing GLASTOOOOOW… we on the other hand were expecting our final delivery of Raclette cheese with Sam, the gaff, the golden boy, the puppeteer.

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By 09:30 the temperature was soaring and a sea of people wearing naughty tiedye shorts emerged from tents with expectation in their eyes. Festival furniture received a last lick of paint and at 10:00 the @CheeseCellar rolled into Worthy Farm to deliver our fine wheels of tangy fromage, around the same time at which 15 massive oak barrels of cider paraded by for The Cider Bus.

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It was 20:00 and with the Shack’s menu boxed-off – personally backing the Mountain Dog to be a hit – we donned our edgiest festival attire and daydreamed about Kelis over a game boule. The Pyramid stage speakers were tested, our kitchen was plumed and we were ready to get our Racs out. The gaffer was happy so we set-out to explore the lush Glastonbury 2014 fields.

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Glastonbury is legendary in history and spirit, although when you’re shoulder to shoulder with the people making this place what it is, it fills you with an energy only familiar to those who have done it. The Glasto feeling.

Monday. A good start.

It is the second time that Le Rac Shack has set up shop on this hallowed land. She treated us well in 2013 and we have no doubt that she’ll deliver once more. Priding ourselves on our French heritage and the simple principles of alpine cuisine, with home-sourced produce, we will serve traditional and not so traditional Raclette to the ever-hungry revellers of Glastonbury 2014.

It was the morn of the summer solstice with a honey moon rising behind Didcot redundant power plant, and we had set off early on the first of two legs to erect the Shack’s alpine wood Chalet and kitchen. At 08:00, with a full van and trailer we cruised onto Worthy Farm like Michael Eavis himself, sun-kissed staff beamed and we gladly beamed back. We’d arrived.

The sun was shining and the tops were off. We’d requested the same patch as last year, right next to the Pyramid stage, and after a quick Glasto greeting from the Market Manager our wristbands were sorted. The gas man promptly dropped off some propane and the strapping market staff ensured we erected our Shack with grace… #MenAtWork.

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Shack built by 15:00, we relaxed with a couple of cool ones and started planning the finishing flare touches. We’d ordered a delivery of alpine delights to arrive that afternoon, which to our unjustified surprise promptly turned-up with its very own escort of market staff.

Our neighbours pitched-in unloading our stock and we lent a hand erecting their kitchen – the Glasto spirit spread fast and had gripped us from the off!! The Chalet was waterproof by the end of the day and we couldn’t think of anything more perfect than going for a stroll up to the stone circle…

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With a throng of traders below us, we had the sense of another epic festival. The setting sun on this field of dreams is truly a sight everyone must see. A good start.

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