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Emily Tootle from Walton, who shares her writing on Instagram as @poemsbyem_, was inspired to pen her feelings when she got home from five nights camping there.
She wrote the poem 357 Days to Go, hoping it might strike a chord with other people who’d been in the crowd and had an amazing time.
But the 24-year-old had no idea just how much festival fans would respond, sharing it worldwide on social media.
“I thought it might do OK because I put a bit of effort into making the video of me reading the poem,” says Emily. “I chose the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac and used my pictures from Glastonbury just to get the atmosphere across. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to do as well as it has. I’ve been overwhelmed by the reaction to it.”
Emily combines her poetry with her full-time job in finance for Very. Since setting up her Insta in 2019, she’s been doing personalised commissions for birthdays, anniversaries and funerals alongside writing about a variety of everyday subjects which get her interest.
“I’ve always written poetry and songs as a hobby since I was little, but it’s only been over the past couple of years that I’ve shared that, before then it was something I kept quite private.
“Once I started writing poems for other people, they said ‘you should really do more of this’. It turned out people really enjoy what I write and want to pay for it so now I’m turning it into a part-time business and it’s been booming.
“As well as personalised poems, based on people’s stories and memories, I tend to write mostly about issues or events that I feel like I want to say something about. For instance, with everything going on with the Government at the moment, that’s something I’m thinking I could write a poem about.
“That’s how the one about Glastonbury happened. We got there on the Tuesday night and slept in the car so we were there for the Wednesday morning and it was just such a happy place to be.
“That was my third time and every time I come back I just feel really inspired because you meet all these weird and wonderful characters there. It’s such a creative place to be, and it’s so eclectic, I don’t think there’s anywhere else in this country like it.
“While I was there, I went to the poetry tent a couple of times. It was a fairly empty tent but then they were up against all these big acts, but they were all great and I love that they’ve got that for anyone who’s interested in poetry.
“Once I was home, Tuesday was a bit of a write-off and I just slept, but I woke up on the Wednesday morning and I was going through my pictures and videos and I just really wanted to write about how I felt. I posted the poem video on Wednesday night and it just went viral. The Glastonbury fan page shared it on Facebook and it was shared on Twitter – I even had a man message me on Instagram and ask for a copy who said he worked for the festival and the production crew had all listened to it and loved it, which was amazing.
“So many people have messaged me, including lots who’ve never been to Glastonbury who said they’d never even thought about going until they saw my poem and now they want to go.
“It’s been really emotional speaking to so many people, I’ve had the best week.”
Emily says there’s been a been a definite trend towards poetry in the past few years, meaning the audience for it is growing all the time.
“When I was little, writing poems was really cool to me and then when you go into high school I think if you tell people you write poetry it’s got this stigma of being boring and really old fashioned.
“But it’s having a resurgence at the moment and I feel like poetry is my best outlet to speak about things in a way that makes people actually seem to want to listen.”
After the success of 357 Days To Go, Emily’s now hoping to go on to bigger things in 2023 – including possibly a return to Glastonbury.
“I’d absolutely love to be on in the poetry tent next year. To apply you’ve got to send footage of you performing live and I’ve not done that yet, so that’s going to be my goal for 2023, to get some open mic, send it to them and fingers crossed.”
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