It’s Glastonbury Festival in a weeks time. Ever since tickets went on sale in October (in fact even before then – even when ticket sale day was announced) festival goers have been an excited mess of nerves (will we get tickets?!), joy (yay, we got tickets!), planning and now anticipation. There’s just a few more days left to plan, pack and possibly preen before you set off into the sunrise for when gates open at 8am on Wednesday.
Glastonbury Festival is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It feels like holidaying to a strange and rather large country which has its own rules and regulations and which doesn’t stop even at night. Perhaps like an Ibiza surrounded by farmland and better music. I can’t really explain how it feels to arrive and look over the festival site for the first time and I am insanely jealous of those who are going this year and get to experience that. But knowing a couple of first timers this year I’ve realised that it can be overwhelming and scary first time too. So here is my quick survival guide for Glastonbury Festival for any newcomers this year – have a great time!
Forget everything you know about other festivals
It isn’t a lie when people say it is unlike any other festival in the world. From its size, to its location, from its mix of entertainment to its all night partying and from its ethos to its food there is nothing about Glastonbury that can be adequately compared to anywhere else I’ve ever been – so you should stop trying.
When I’ve spoken to newcomers for this year, they’ve often related what Glastonbury will be like to another UK festival – for example “when I went to Leeds I…” – this is pointless and futile. When you went to Leeds you probably did do X, Y and Z but really the only similarity is that you were in a tent and there was some music.
Often all I want to do when hearing this is give a detailed run down of exactly why Glastonbury is so different to everything else. But I don’t. Because what I really want to do is watch the open mouthed excitement when they get onto the site – that is a sight worth waiting for!First timer at @GlastoFest this year? Here are some top tips about how to survive it.Click To Tweet
Come prepared, but relaxed
Glastonbury is 5 full days of complete awesome, and staying for 5 days in the middle of nowhere requires preparation. Have a look through my festival essentials to get you by (especially if this is your first festival) and my ultimate festival packing list will give you everything you need to survive. Pack at least three times and remember don’t over do it – because of the size of the festival site, you are going to have to do a lot of walking to get to your ideal pitch.
At Glastonbury, you can take your own alcohol everywhere – it isn’t like festivals with a separate arena so prepare for that, and have a read of my festival alcohol tips for pointers on how to bring it in (on the plus side, you won’t have to sneak it anywhere at Glasto). In fact there are many things you can do at Glasto that you can’t at other festivals, and that’s why it is awesome.
The best guide I’ve ever read to Glastonbury Festival is Glasto Earth, with their amazing FAQ. Have a read because it will answer any questions you have and most importantly will get you really excited.
But as well as planning, don’t get too stressed. For some people going into the unknown can cause anxiety but make sure that as well as coming prepared you also come relaxed. It’ll be the best 5 days of your year guaranteed and you don’t want to arrive frazzled and nervous.
Be friendly to others and they will be friendly to you
Glastonbury Festival, like Disneyland is basically the friendliest, happiest place on earth. Sure, you’ve struck up conversations with your tent neighbours at other festivals, or had random chats in the crowds – but you won’t be prepared for the level of community and friendliness that Glasto brings. The Glastonbury attitude pretty much starts and finishes with this – we are pretty honoured to be part of this wonderful piece of awesome, so lets make the most of it.
Glasto is the only festival I’d consider going to alone and in fact many people do – there are plenty of places to strike up conversations with strangers and it is weird AT ALL. So even if you are a little shy, don’t hold back – make new friends, get chatting and enjoy the experience.
Remember it isn’t just about the music
Glastonbury isn’t an arts festival for nothing. As well as top notch music acts running until 6am in many cases from every genre you can think of, there is all kinds of other entertainment you should experience. The Kids Field has circus acts, there is cabaret and burlesque, spoken word, speeches, comedy and art installations of all kinds scattered across the site. Experiential areas such as Arcadia with it’s light show and Shangri La which is just…nuts, will give you a total different experience and vibe to your average music festival.
And aside from entertainment there is the food (which is absolutely rocking – no cheap dirty noodles for you this year), various beer and ale tents and of course the famous Somerset cider bus.
Basically what I am saying is there is so much to do you won’t see it all – so don’t even try. But experience as much of the different stuff as possible – with 54 stages across the site there will always be something awesome to do.
In case you haven’t picked up on this throughout the rest of the tips, Glastonbury Festival is huge. The site is around 1,100 acres, and it’s a full mile and a half from the northern end to the south and there are nearly 180,000 people on site.
So what does this mean? I guess it means take your time, try not to plan too much and keep hold of your friends – it won’t be that easy to find them again! If you remain chilled out, you’ll have a great time – but if you try and dash between stages to catch acts you’ll have a miserable few days.
Are you going to Glastonbury Festival this year? What are you looking forward to most?