Chanting Hare Krishna with the Mothership at Glastonbury Festival

by BardofEly

Glastonbury Festival is a very popular event. Bard of Ely has performed there on several occasions but once he gave an impromptu appearance at the Hare Krishna tent.

Hare Krishna at Glastonbury Festival
Many years ago at the Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts back in the early '90s I had been a performer at the event on the Wise Crone Café stage and so I had my musical instruments with me.
Besides my guitar I had a plastic toy spaceship that has become known as the Mothership. It has an inbuilt microphone and sound FX and can produce feedback as well as distortion and vibrato if you sing or speak through it.

Bard of Ely singing through the Mothership

An alien craft
Bard of Ely and the Mothership
Bard of Ely and the Mothership

How I came to be singing Hare Krishna through a spaceship

The Mothership

Anyway, it was the last day of the festival and I had decided to go to the Hare Krishna tent to see if they were giving out any free prasadam (food offered first to the deity, in this case to Lord Krishna).
Devotees give the food out to people and also often take the opportunity to give a talk about their religion and to introduce people to the sacred Hare Krishna mantra or Maha Mantra as it is also known.

Lord Krishna

Krishna and Lakshmi

Friend of Lord Krishna


Chanting and dancing are encouraged after listening to talk and this is known as satsang and is a devotional activity. At a yet earlier time in my life I had been a Friend of Lord Krishna (FOLK) and used to receive their magazine of the same name.
Having enjoyed some of the free food, I thought I would stick around a while and was listening to a devotee on the stage giving a short lecture about their beliefs. Eventually he got to the part where people were asked to join in chanting Hare Krishna in a kirtan but most of the people were sitting at the back of the tent and were not bothering to get involved.

George Harrison and others - Hare Krishna Maha Mantra

The sacred mantra


Kirtan means chanting in a call-and-response fashion with a devotee leading the chant and others repeating the mantra afterwards. A kirtan usually takes place to the accompaniment of music played on the harmonium and mrdanga two-ended drum, and so it did on this occasion too.

What shall we do with a flying saucer? by Bard of Ely

Fun with a spaceship

The Mothership

A spacecraft

I thought I would help out by getting the Mothership out, switching her on and chanting the mantra through it. I got to my feet so I could dance as I chanted Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
I was thinking that it seemed appropriate too because there were spacecraft like flying saucers in the Vedic texts known as vimanas. The gods and demi-gods used these ancient craft to fly about in the skies.
It has been suggested that extraterrestrials were on the Earth at that time and possibly that Lord Krishna was one himself and that was why he had blue skin.
It is also believed that because Krishna is God that he made everything and everything is a part of him, so with that in mind my Mothership was his creation. Chanting the sacred mantra through a toy flying saucer seemed a great idea to me - it was a fun way of devotional Bhakti yoga!
And it worked. Very soon other people started to chant and join in too.
At the end of the session I got talking to the devotee who had been leading the kirtan and he asked me if I would like to join the other devotees for a procession around the festival grounds that they would be going on very soon. Of course, I would have been welcome to have been chanting through the Mothership again.

Field of Avalon

One of the Glastonbury Festival fields

It was very tempting but I had a lift waiting for me from the Glastonbury Field of Avalon crew doctor, Dr Stephen Glascoe, who had kindly offered to take me back to Cardiff. I could hardly ask him to wait for me to finish going on a procession with the Hare Krishna Temple now could I?

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Websites with info on Glastonbury Festival and Hare Krishna

Updated: 12/14/2012, BardofEly
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