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Rimsky (Oliver Cummings), mobile pianist

The weirdest jobs at music festivals

You don’t have to be mad to work at a festival, but it helps. Here are four of the strangest on-site jobs…

By Vin Shahrestani
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Rimsky (Oliver Cummings), mobile pianist

The mobile pianist

Oliver Cummings, aka Rimsky, plays his bicycle piano on the move at Glastonbury.

‘I was a performer at a small touring circus when I built the stunt piano. It took years to perfect, and I had quite a few accidents. Stability was a problem and sometimes we’d roll over in amongst traffic.

‘Now the difficulty is transport, and the distances involved. Often, by the time you get to the gig, you’re almost spent. In hilly Edinburgh moving around with the bicycle piano became an extreme sport.’

Woody (Verner Sean Wood), tattooist

The tattoo artist

Woody (full name Verner Sean Wood) inks up rock gods at events such as Download.

‘When you’re backstage you get to meet the biggest rock bands in the world. So, we’ve tattooed Korn, Slipknot, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Def Leppard, Lamb of God, and so many more.

‘There’s a few of us backstage, and we tend to do simple mementos like names, hearts, music notes. I don’t think of any tattoo being odd – everyone has his or her reasons for theirs – but I did once do a tattoo of Princess Diana with a cock hanging out of her mouth.

‘Being up to your elbows in mud can be challenging, but there are perks to the job, like I once got to sing on stage with Metallica.’

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Joseph's Amazing Camels

The camel racer

Rebecca Fossett helps run Joseph’s Amazing Camels, and commentates on their animal racing events at Secret Garden Party.

‘I’ve been doing this for 13 years, since I married Joseph Fossett, and became part of the oldest circus family in the UK. I commentate for the camel and pig racing, and I play camel polo. The hardest part is getting the audience to join in, and making sure the animals do the right thing. We’ve had some interesting times: pig escapes and the like, and one occasion when we broke down in the middle of nowhere in Scotland and a farmer had to get us going again with Blu-Tack and cable ties. There’s never a dull moment!’

Titan the entertainment robot

The performing robot

Titan the entertainment robot, and his human handler, will be at Glastonbury and V festivals.

‘I love to see people laugh. I also like to make fun of the humans with bald shiny heads, and impersonate the strange people who live in the box that you have in your living rooms. Occasionally I do a bit of singing when the mood takes me – “Gangnam Style” is my favourite at the moment.

‘I have had some great times – including performing with Rihanna in Berlin and LA – although my memory banks are a little frazzled from all the parties and the numerous cans of WD40.’

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