In just a few days, 250,000 people will be descending onto Worthy Farm in Somerset to enjoy five days of what is arguably the BEST festival in the world.
Tickets sold out in just 30 mins, headliners have been announced and the weather forecast will almost definitely include rain. But if you are one of the lucky ones to hold a golden ticket (or whatever colour the tickets are this year) you are in for a treat.
Glastonbury Festival is, in my opinion, one of the best places on earth. Though, like climbing Everest, is an experience not to be taken lightly. See it as a marathon, preparation is key and make sure you pace yourself – trust me, your body and your bank balance will thank you for it.
As a seasoned pro (well, I’ve been twice) here are my top tips for surviving Glastonbury.
- Don’t go all out with your camping equipment.
Buy (or beg, borrow or steal) a basic, waterproof tent (pop up tents are NOT waterproof), a good sleeping bag and a waterproof picnic blanket – great for lying outside on once it gets too hot for the tent. Chairs won’t be used or will be broken or stolen. Finding a spot for big tents is near impossible unless you arrive at dawn and the chance of a drunk person stumbling into it are quite high so it’s not worth splashing out on anything fancy.
- Limit the amount of food you take – remember you have to carry it!
People often waaay over-pack with food; it’s heavy and bulky and really won’t look that appetising compared to the all the great food options there are onsite (trust me, Glastonbury does food well!). Don’t even bother pretending you will cook – you won’t.
I suggest packing some cereal bars, bags of crisps and other items you can snack on and carry with you easily. Fruit (apples, bananas, oranges) is also great as it doesn’t need to be kept in a fridge and if you usually eat a balanced diet you’ll start missing these quickly, cartons of fruit juice also work. For breakfast, a little milk van normally drives round the site so pack some multipacks of cereal and a spoon; eat straight from the packet to reduce the need for washing up. Breads such as bagels and brioche also do well, buy the flavoured ones and you won’t need anything else, except maybe a cup of tea.
- Pack a water bottle (or three!)
One way to massively cut your spending at Glastonbury and your waste is to refill your water bottle. A 500ml bottle of water will cost you around £1. If it’s hot or you’re drinking lots, it won’t be hard to get through 4+ in a day; over the weekend that adds up to £20! There are lots of water points throughout the site. Remember to keep hydrated (but not too hydrated or you’ll be constantly in the queue for the long drop)!
- If you’re going to take anything, take alcohol.
Glastonbury is one of very few festivals which still lets you take your own alcohol on site – take advantage of this! Stock up on crates of beer/cider, whatever you can bear to drink warm. You can’t take glass on site so decant any spirits into plastic bottles and buy boxes of wine (it’s cheaper anyway). Stock up on bags for life to carry drinks around with you, they also make great sitters if the grass is damp. Finally take advantage of the free bag storage, there’s a number around the site. Ditch a crate at a central one on day one and use it to replenish your supplies over the weekend!
- Don’t overlook the essentials
Make sure you pack: wellies, rain poncho, bumbag/satchel/backpack, portable phone charger (or two!) warm layers, loo roll/tissues, baby wipes, sun cream (and aftersun), face paint, glitter and flowery hair bands. Though you can buy almost anything on site you will pay a premium. Raid your local poundland and charity shops to pick up items on a budget. Paracetamol, multi vits and rehydration sachets also aren’t a bad idea.
- Take cash with you!
There are cash points on site but they charge and there will be queues. Some places accept card but many won’t. Plan your budget and take cash out in advance, this will also help you stick to your budget. To help plan: a meal costs £5-£7 and hot drinks around £2.50 plus your pint of milk £1 and daily newspaper £3.50 (I’m not sure why but this is a thing at Glasto!). I’ve never bought alcohol there but I live in London so let’s say £5 per pint? Split your cash up and leave in different ‘safe places’. If someone is driving maybe leave an emergency £50 in the car in case your tent gets raided.
- Have some common sense
You’re going to be living in a field with 250,000 other people. Don’t take valuables or anything that you will get upset if it gets lost, broken or muddy. Leave house keys in your car or check important stuff into the bag check-ins. Don’t expect your phone to work properly so arrange a meeting time and place before you split up from your friends. Most of all chill out and enjoy it, you will get lost, you will probably miss a band you wanted to see and everything will get muddy (even if it doesn’t rain) but it’s fricking awesome and you can always catch up on iPlayer.
Pic credit: Glastonmudbury by Paul Townsend