Sunday, 6 October 2013

Glastonbury: 20 Tips & Advice

YES I just got tickets for the 5th time for the legendary Glastonbury festival! A lot of sweat and tears have been shed through the years of attempting to get tickets, and I personally never get through to that page to type in the details. It's always a friend!

Here are my top tips (bar the obvious) if you are heading to Glasto world this year...plus an updated post with a packing list!


Glastonbury 2014 will take place from 25th to 30th June. Wednesday and Thursday is pretty chilled, there isn't much going on but it's a great time to explore the grounds and find your way before the crowds get crazy. Music starts on Friday, and finishes on Sunday night with an epic finale. My advice is to leave for home Monday morning because you don't want to be going on the Sunday night and watch all your mates stay!

You really don't NEED to follow the below tips to have a great time, some people bring very basic stuff. These are things I have learned through the years that make the experience 100 times better and more comfortable for me so I can enjoy every minute of the festival and not worry about anything.

20 GLASTONBURY SURVIVAL TIPS

1. DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT TO CAMP IN ADVANCE, SHOW UP ON TIME
Glastonbury is massive. There are a number of great camp sites but they are also far away from each other and in several different areas. It all depends what you want. If you want to be in the thick of it, then camp by the three great campsites on the hills next to the main Pyramid stage, but if you want quiet time when you sleep then go a bit further away near The Park area. If you are into staying up all night, then next to the Dance Village is the place for you! I find that if you are by the Pyramid stage everything else is pretty close, but if you are on the other side of the festival you end up walking a bit longer.

Best places in my opinion: Michael's Mead, Hawkwell, Row Mead, Big Ground (all near Pyramid stage but far enough for less noise and high enough for when it rains!)

Another thing is, the reality is that if you don't get there on the Wednesday morning or Thursday morning, you will find it very difficult to find a good camping spot anywhere. You really don't want to end up on low ground where people are stepping all over your tent or water gets in because you aren't high on the hill! You might just end up having to camp a little further away.


2. DON'T BRING TOO MUCH STUFF
Whether you arrive by car (nightmare, would advise against this, takes hours, gridlocks and long walks from car park) or by train (best choice, less than 2 hrs) or bus (4 hrs) you will have to carry all your stuff across the fields to your tent area. There is a long way to walk for most people, and if you have a travel rucksack they are the best. Don't even think of dragging a suitcase, that's a very bad idea! Remember, you are going to a farm. I usually bring my big rucksack and attach a sleeping bag to it whilst wearing my wellies. I then use my hands to carry an extra bag or smaller rucksack for anything else and a small blowup mattress. Whatever else you carry you will find it difficult and it will take you twice as long to get from A to B so pack like a clever cookie!


3. BUT BRING ENOUGH STUFF
Comfort is key. If you're not comfortable, it can pretty much ruin the experience all together in my opinion. Over the years I've made sure I have a good check list of stuff to bring such as the essentials (torch, sleeping bag, change of underwear, baby wipes, socks, wellies, sneakers, etc.) but have also added some things to that list. In order to be able to wear what I want and have fun with my outfits, I always bring tights, leggings, strappy undershirts and long sleeved tight tops that I can layer under things - thermals basically!

That way I can still wear shorts and fun tops, dresses etc. without being cold. Glasto has freezing nights and we always end up going back to our tents before the night out to layer up. I bring a thin parka, a leather jacket and thick hoodie. I also bring or buy a cheap thin poncho as they cover you way better than any rain coat.

As you won't really shower, you will need at least two pairs of underwear to change into a day, and socks of a different variety to be comfy in your boots. I would also bring a beanie and thin scarf that you can pop into your bag or rucksack...always be prepared for hot days but also for cold days!


4. DON'T BE SCARED OF THE TOILETS
OK, OK fine they are the worst thing about festivals but what can you do? When you gotta go, you gotta go. My advice would be to bring loo rool with you everywhere, not in large amounts but just enough for a few trips in the day. One way of surviving the awful smells of the long drops is to spray a bandanna or scarf with body mist and just hold that to your mouth whilst you're in there!! The staff at Glasto are really good at keeping the festival clean regularly, but you have to remember there is over 200,000 people there almost every day.


5. BRING WELLIES
This is pretty standard...the weather has been great in the past years and hot during the day but if it rains it gets muddy quickly. You can buy cheap ones anywhere, or you can go all fashionista a-la-Kate Moss and buy some uber cool Hunters!


6. YES, YOU CAN FEEL CLEAN AND LOOK GOOD WITHOUT HAVING A SHOWER FOR 5 DAYS
When I first went to Glasto, a lot of people told me to bring very little and only practical things. They said that you should bring stuff that you don't mind ruining, but I disagree with this. Now I pretty much bring anything I want to wear that looks good but is also comfy and practical. It's very unlikely that someone will steal your clothes, and if you get them dirty you can wash the dirt and mud off as it's the countryside! I bring all my make-up, my best coats/jackets and dresses as well as vintage sequin tops. I also bring extra shoes for comfort and hair accessories, etc. Whatever you think you need, just bring it!

If you want your make up retouched, hair and nails done or a quick massage the really cool Vanity Van (mobile beauty salon) will be in the John Peel area around the shopping stalls and they have everything from dry shampoo to straighteners...make sure you book in advance.


Vanity Van

7. BRING AN OLD PHONE OR PORTABLE CHARGERS
Like I mention before, the festival is huge. You will probably be with a group of friends but might want to wander off or do something else and then meet up later. Either way, you will need your phone once in a while and the battery will die very quickly, especially on a smartphone. A lot of people buy really cheap Nokias that last them for a few days, or get this portable chargers which is amazing and will charge your phone 5 times! Worth every penny.

There are two charging stations at the festival but they aren't big and the queues are usually quite long so be prepared to stay there for at least an hour unless you buy the portable ones from EE which you can just get a replacement for.


8. MAKE SURE YOUR ALCOHOL IS IN PLASTIC BOTTLES
This is one of the green policies of the festival as they can get recycled. Bring spirits as you can buy mixers there.


9. LOOK AFTER YOUR FEET
You will be walking all day every day, so make sure you have a change of shoes if there is no mud. I take wellies, boots and converse sneakers to have a good choice. Bring extra socks you can layer into your wellies and bring blister packs (These are the best).


10. PLEASE DON'T STEAL, DON'T BE A DOUCHE-BAG!
How would you feel if someone did that to you? :)


11. IF YOU WANT EXTRA, EXTRA COMFORT...
Buy a blowup mattress, camping chair, blanket, etc. as the nights can be chilly and uncomfortable. You can also buy all this stuff there. There's nothing like a good night's sleep!


12. KEEP YOUR MONEY SAFE AND BE WARY
Glasto is a really safe place with lots of hippies and police around so this isn't an issue like at other festivals. However, we do live in a world infested with idiots either way so you will get the odd person trying to steal money from your tent for their drugs (most likely the reason). We got robbed once while we slept which was quite scary but we had our money right by our heads so it was in full view. Since then I spread my money around my bags, and sleep with most of it inside my hoodie or in my underwear! Just keep your rucksack closed and your money close while out and you'll be fine (there are ATMs on site).

Keep your wits about you, stick with your friends and don't get so drunk that you don't even know your name! Personally, this festival for me is all about everything else but these things...if I was so intoxicated every day that I couldn't remember anything fun that happened the next morning, then what is the point? ...but each to their own of course!


13. BE PREPARED FOR BIG CROWDS
There will be grid locks, there will be queues, there might be mud to slow you down, and there will be thousands trying to see the same acts as you. Just remember everyone is there to have a great time, and don't try to piss anyone off as that's not what it's about. If you don't get what you want when you want it, it's OK. Patience is a virtue! But anyway, food lines are pretty quick!


14. DON'T WORRY, YOU CAN BUY EVERYTHING THERE
Like I mentioned before, anything you need, absolutely anything, can be bought there. They also have camping shops, fancy dress shops, vanity tents to pamper yourself, disposable cameras, etc. so if you forget something just buy it there. It's not expensive either!


15. YOU MUST TRY THE HOG ROAST AND THE LARGE YORKSHIRE PUDDING
Yes. You Must.


16. HAVE AN ADVENTURE
There is so much more to Glasto than music. There are circuses, the Healing Fields, the Green Fields, Arcadia, crazy Shangri-La and random spots of music and weirdness to discover by accident. Don't forget to wander off into the night with no plans and see what you discover! There is nothing like going to the Healing Fields after Friday or Saturday for a massage and some tea to fix you right up.



17. GO SHOPPING
Glasto has some cool vintage shops where you can grab great stuff for a bargain price. Whether you're looking for something for fancy dress or a genuinely cool hat, you will find it. Popular purchases are flower head garlands (prices are slashed on the last day) and coloured wigs, or Native American head dresses! Or you can leave your money for all the great food, as it isn't cheap!


18. SHOWER? WHAT SHOWER?
Unless you are glamping in one of the tipi fields or on a private camp site, you will not be able to shower! There is only one place on the grounds to do this and it's far away plus the queues are too long, so not many people bother. Baby wipes are essential for keeping clean (I know, gross...) but you can also wash your hair at the basins by the toilets every day if you wanted to which feels nice. If it's hot enough you could buy a solar shower and strip off in your bikini, but carrying the water uphill isn't fun.

Remember to take anti bacterial gel with you every day, and don't bother with flip flips as you don't want to have bare feet covered in mud and pee, do you?


20. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN!
Don't be a slave to plans, don't stress too much if it's your first time and leave plenty of time for aimlessness! The festival is too big to see in 5 days, so just enjoy seeing what you stumble upon and pick a few things you really want to check out. And if you made a plan, that doesn't mean you have to stick to it and miss something amazing for a 2pm gig. You will feel like you have to fill every moment with entertainment and that you will be missing out at the same time, but don't be afraid to chill sometimes as you will need it.

like this guy..


A VETERAN'S PACKING LIST


  • Tent – I would recommend getting a 4 man tent for 2 people so that you have plenty of room for your bag and clothes, etc….it’s just more comfy
  • Picnic blanket or thick blanket as nights are cold
  • Lots of baby wipes - this is your shower :)
  • Toilet rolls
  • Torch/head torch
  • A large travel backpack (so handy...don't bring a suitcase)
  • Inflatable mattress (you will thank me later)
  • Sleeping bag (a warm one!)
  • Pillow – so worth it
  • Microfibre towel – easy and compact
  • Water carrier – heavy to carry if you are far from the water pipes but good to have on hand, I used mine to wash my hair, too
  • Black bin bags
  • Suncream
  • Long wells
  • Boots or flat sandals if it is dry (don’t bring your nicest ones as they WILL get ruined)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproof jacket or a poncho. I personally think the £1 ponchos are actually much better as they cover your entire body
  • Small backpack for every day use, with enough room for drink, purse, sunglasses and maybe a cardigan
  • Thin jumper, cardigan or jersey hoodie for when it starts to get chilly (try to take this with you so you don’t have to go back to the tent too often)
  • Cheap digital camera or disposables
  • An old phone like a Nokia as battery life is a lot better, or a portable charger as this will save you from going to the EE tent and sitting there for an hour waiting for your phone to charge!
  • Socks for every day or more as they will make you feel fresher…make sure you also bring welly sized ones
  • A variety of comfy clothes for hot, warm and freezing weather
  • Clothes for layering
  • Jeans for night time
  • Leggings for night time
  • Dry shampoo
  • Compeed blister packs
  • Fragrant body mist (for you but also for those toilet moments)
  • Crazy or fancy dress outfit (just for fun)
  • Dry snacks like energy bars to have in your rucksack
  • A portable phone charger



Feel free to tweet me if you have any more questions! @nutellasoul

Images my own and from Google, Glastonbury website as well as the Guardian
Originally written in 2014, updated in 2015

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7 comments

  1. Hey, just came across this blog post. I'm going to Glasto for the first time this year and on my own as well!
    Great post and very helpful!

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  2. hey Sara! glad it helped and i hope you have a great time...sure you will meet loads of fun people there and you won't be alone for long! :)

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  3. Thanks so much Ana, great advice! It's my first time and I'm beyond excited!! Have fun!!x

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  4. Thanx for the advice!!! My first Glato from Italy!!!
    Daniele

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  5. Thanks Ana for your great information. And you look fantastic on that first pic.

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  6. I have actually read a lot of your blog posts in the last hour. I really enjoy what you are doing here. (And as a writer of fantasy novels, I'm enjoying looking at different aspects of that when you go through them in blog post). And truly, I love world-culture building

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  7. This is great but a couple of points to add. Firstly a tip: rather than baby wipes have a birdbath in the porch of your tent with a 500ml bottle of water and a tiny touch of showergel, it goes a long way and you feel great afterwards. Secondly a moan! People cause huge hold ups at the basins washing their hair, so if you want to do this try and do it at a time there are less people or use a bottle and do it elsewhere, I find it really antisocial and i have long hair too. Adrian

    ReplyDelete

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