How to do Glastonbury like a pro
As HUNGER's Editorial Director arrives at Worthy Farm for her 16th Glasto, she shares her (more practical) tips and tricks…
There’s so much more to Glastonbury than the music, the mud, the pear cider and the people trying desperately to keep the boho fashion dream alive. There are the weird and wonderful Healing Fields, the sustainability champions at Green Futures and some mind-boggling trapeze acts in the Theatre and Circus area. This is about 1% of what’s going on at the festival…because the site is HUGE, around 900 acres, encompassing the famous Worthy Farm and surrounding farmland.
This means it’s not always the easiest place to navigate. As someone who has visited the festival 15 times (it could be 16 but I have genuinely lost count), I can still find myself confused by its vastness, especially with new areas popping up every year. But I have picked up a few tricks along the way that might make your Glastonbury run a little smoother and make your festival experience even more magical…
Get ahead of the masses
For the best chance of getting a good camping spot, make sure you’re there on Tuesday night, Wednesday or very early on Thursday, especially if you’re going in a big group, as the campsites have started filling up quicker every year. Also, look out for the ‘wheelbarrow people’ who will carry all your stuff across the site for around £25. This stomp with all your camping gear, clothes and booze can be about an hour long in blistering heat or full-on rain, so it will be the best money you spend all weekend.
Another bonus to getting on site early is you can start getting your bearings before the music starts on the main stages on the Friday, but still enjoy a few of the smaller stages. This year look out for an acoustic set by Hak Baker, who will be playing a warm-up gig on the Thursday ahead of his main set on the Other Stage on Saturday.
How to find your mates
You will lose your mates at some point — this is guaranteed! So agree on some general meeting spots at all the main stages and areas before the festival kicks off. My spot has always been ‘the left of the sound desk’ no matter what stage and it’s worked brilliantly, especially back in the days when once your phone battery died, that was that! For more impromptu meets — use the multitude of flags at each stage for signposting.
Take some cash
You might use Apple Pay for everything in the real world, but when you’re at risk of your phone battery dying and also at the mercy of temperamental card machines on a farm — things can go wrong. Make sure you take some cash as backup, but be careful about keeping it all in one place; split it and hide in shoes, sleeping bags and around your person. Glasto still has crime like the real world, unfortunately.
Keep your social media alive
There was a time when Instagram didn’t exist and there wasn’t a chance of charging your phone on site. Thankfully, those days are gone and your ‘gram doesn’t have to suffer. Glastonbury’s tech partner EE provides free phone charging services at their massive EE Recharge Tent (whatever network you’re on). But if you don’t want to spend your time in a queue at what is the best festival in the world, buy one of the EE Cygnett Power Banks from the Recharge Tent for £15, charge on the go and then pop back and swap it for a charged one once yours runs out of juice. For this year, EE also has a free WiFi spot on site — look out for their giant WiFi Rooster — which will also be calling out reminders of stage times so you don’t miss your favourite band.
Give the ‘Legends’ slot a miss
This one is a little controversial as many see it as the highlight of the festival, even more so than the headliners (and if I’m honest, I won’t be missing Diana Ross this year), but in the past, I’ve swerved the biggest crowd of the weekend to enjoy the rest of the festival at its quietest. Wander through the Healing Fields without all the noisy chatter worsening your four-day hangover, or catch another big name on the Other Stage without all the crowds (this year it’s Fontaines DC).
Catch a secret act
Glastonbury is renowned for bands popping up with little to no notice — past acts include Radiohead, Foals, The Libertines and Pulp. Look out for TBC slots on the lineup (the EE app is updated constantly and you can even click on TBC to see where all the gaps are). Also keep an eye out for the Glastonbury Free Press on-site newspaper, Glastonbury socials, Twitter hashtags and The Worthy FM radio station. The Park Stage TBC slots have historically drawn the biggest names, but get there early as the area is closed off once at full capacity.
How to spot a celeb
Glastonbury is heaving with celebrities who are just as keen as us to see their favourite bands, and it’s rare not to spot at least one wandering the site. The early hours are always a good shout; one year I saw Florence dancing in the Stonebridge Bar and Jarvis Cocker wandering around the Stone Circle in the space of 15 mins at around 5 am. Another place to keep an eye on is the side of the stage, David and Brooklyn Beckham once gave the crowd a wave while watching Liam Gallagher on the Other Stage. And there are the entrances and exits to the press and backstage areas — the Pyramid Stage and Other Stage are connected by a backstage bar and celebs will often be seen heading into the entrance points at the left of each stage area.
Don’t let the toilets get you down
The main rule here is ‘always use the long drop toilets’ and not the portaloos. The long drop, open-air toilets keep you further from everyone’s shit and closer to fresh air, which you’ll be very grateful for by day four or five when portaloos are heaving and the smell is indescribable… Oh and always carry your own loo roll and sanitiser. There are also male and female urinals for a quick wee but generally queues away from the main stages aren’t too bad.