I have been to Glastonbury 3 times, 2013, 2015 and 2016 and I even played 2 of the official stages in 2015. The Glastonbury Festival is an amazing experience and lack of pre-planning can affect your enjoyment. These are my Glastonbury Tips for before, during and after the Glastonbury Festival. There were 18 but I have extended them with 2 great additional tips.
1) Bring the Right Stuff
The gates to the Glastonbury Festival open early on the Wednesday morning of the festival. Before you get to the gates you should have a think and plan your packing.
These are a few items you should think of bringing to Glastofest;
- Good fitting wellies : If it rains the areas become very muddy quickly. Invest in a good pair of wellies which fit correctly. However, based on the current weather forecast I cannot see any rain issues affecting the Glastonbury Festival this year. (unlike last year)
- Bring Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes also : If it is sunny you don’t want to be dragging your feet around in warm wellies.
- Phone PowerBar : You will need to charge your phone, 3 or 4 fully charged power bars might get you through a few days.
- Torch : When it gets dark, certain areas of the site are unlit and a torch will help you find your way
- Sunfactor and after-sun : You are standing outdoors most of the day waiting for your favourite band, don’t get burnt! You will need sun factor this year! Last year I brought it and never used it, as the weather was so wet.
- Wet Wipes : You may not have a chance for a shower but at least you can be fresh-ish!
- Sandwich Bags : These can help keep your phone and other items dry (should it rain)
- Black Bin Liners : Can make for a quick and cheap poncho
- Transistor Radio : Get one for a few quid so you can enjoy WorthyFM the Glastonbury Festival radio station.
- Batteries : Bring some batteries for your radio and torch.
- Toilet Rolls : If you are camping, this is a vital accessory … bring 3 or 4 each in a small plastic bag to keep them dry.
- Hand Sanitiser : A useful and cheap alternative to soap which is not something you find in the drop toilets here.
- Bring Layers : The temperature could be 27C and sunny or 12C and windy in the evening, so be prepared.
- Tickets : Don’t forget your tickets as you won’t get in without them … no matter what the excuse.
- Don’t bring anything you value … it will probably be ok but don’t risk it!
Also, this year with the extended security searches everything will be searched. So if you can buy it, (e.g. beer, snacks) don’t bring it with you. There will be extra long queues on day one as a result so be prepared for this.
2) Download the Glastonbury Festival Smartphone App to schedule your week in advance
There are over 100 areas where you can catch a band, everything from a small stage in the corner of the site to the impressive Pyramid stage. The official Glastonbury EE smartphone app has the full listing for all the main stages. You can also plan your trip by marking the bands or events you want to see. This way, you can identify clashes. If you do have a clash I would recommend going to the band which either are harder to get a live concert of or the one which is more unusual. In the past I have seen the Moody Blues when there was a clash – I felt it was a once in a lifetime chance to see them live. I have used the smartphone app every year and it certainly helps – there is even a Glastonbury site map to help you get around.
To download the Official Glastonbury App powered by EE visit http://ee.co.uk/why-ee/tickets-events/glastonbury
3) Expect Delays
If you are driving to Glastonbury for day one you will encounter delays. Last year some people were in the cars for up to 24 hours coming from London. Ensure you have enough petrol, water, snacks and patience when you are getting there. Don’t worry it will be worth it.
Every year we go, we always stay at a nearby town called Nunney the night before, in a lovely pub/hotel called the George at Nunney, this is only 30 minutes from the Glastonbury Festival entrance. Its a handy tip to get a bit closer to the event in advance.
Also, don’t forget the extra security which will be in place this year as mentioned in point 1 above which might cause further delays!
4) What to expect when you arrive at the Glastonbury Festival
Once you park your car or disembark your bus you will need too queue for entry. There will be a long queue and last year it took us 45 minutes to get through around 11:20am but it might be a bit longer this year. Present your ticket and you will get an wristband which must remain untouched on your wrist for the duration. You will also get the Glastonbury magazine and a lanyard with information about the acts etc.
Now if you are camping, quickly go find a good spot.
5) Pitching your tent
Obviously you have to select an area to pitch your tent. Ensure to try get an area which is uphill, so any rain won’t accumulate in your area, also not too near the path, so you don’t get trampled on in high footfall areas. If you have a pole or flag, this can help identify your tent amongst the thousands in the area. If you don’t have one, just identify some other landmarks or flags to help you.
We decided not to pitch a tent but to have one pitched for us – the Pop-Up Hotel is the ideal way to do Glastonbury if you prefer not to go down that route. The facilities include a really comfy pre-erected tent or yurt, security, electricity WiFi, dining options, hot showers, nice toilets, music and a great crew of friendly staff to help you at all times.
6) Arriving on the Glastonbury Site on Day 1
I would recommend on day 1 getting to the Stone Circle as soon as possible. There’s lots of song and laughter in this area, we enjoyed a very “earth-song” like rendition around midday with lots of people holding hands, and a real throwback to the Glastonbury of the 70s.Very enjoyable just to sit and relax … you’re here !
After that, I recommend walking the site as much as possible to understand the areas like the Park, The Glade, Green Futures, the Healing fields and how to navigate between them. If you know where each route leads, should you need to get from the Pyramid Stage to the Park Stage in a hurry, you will know the route without looking it up on the map or reference the Glastonbury App.
7) Understanding the Limits of Glastonbury
There are a few things which you will find about the Glastonbury Festival and some home comforts which you won’t have. These are a few which the first time visitor may encounter.
- You probably won’t have a phone signal all the time – you will be off the grid sometimes (or at least I was)
- Toilets are a luxury and you can forget any thoughts of having a pine scented bathroom to enjoy (Try the long drop toilets)
- Showers are a real luxury (unless you’re lucky enough to be glamping), get your wet wipes for that or queue for a shower in the early morning.
- There will be a lot of walking, ensure your footwear is good.
- If it rains – it gets muddy very fast. Check the forecast for each day ahead if you can so you are prepared!
- There are a lot of people so just remember to be patient and just go with the flow.
8) Grab a spot for a wonderful Sunset
At the end of day 1, climb one of the hills, such as the one with the Glastonbury sign on it – This is a good spot to watch the sunset.
As long as it is not raining! You really could sit here all night.
9) Don’t just limit yourself to one stage
The music at the Glastonbury Festival starts on the Friday and it is worth getting to the first act on the first music day. You will always remember the thrill of saying, it has started – Glastonbury Festival is on!!
You now have 3 packed days of music and around 100 stages or areas to try visit. I would recommend trying to visit all the major stages from Pyramid to West Holts and the Other Stage to the Park. You will enjoy a great variety of genres and even a few bands which you may fall in love with. I recall seeing bands like Haim, First Aid Kit and Rudimental for the first time – all great acts.
10) Expand your tastebuds
There are some spectacular food options at Glastonbury. Yes, you can get burgers, chips and hot dogs but there is a lot more to enjoy. I recommend going to places like Greenfields for a veggie option or over near the Double Decker which serves tea there is a wonderful seafood kitchen where I got the most amazing crab dish. I also remember overdosing on Tom’s Pies somewhere near the Pyramid stage. The final recommendation is Pachamama, go there and try the Tibetan soup and other delicious options.
11) The Circus Fields … not just for children
You really should spend some time in the Circus fields. Many people overlook this area of the Glastonbury Festival. Last year I saw some of the most amazing acrobatics – one of the acts included a drummer playing with a band who was on a bungee cord. You will get exactly what you though, circus acts but you will also see many walk-about acts, comedians and a few musicians just to keep the Glastonbury feeling alive in that area.
12) Push your Limits, Open Your Mind
There are some amazing venues which may (or may not) push your limits. These include areas such as the Unfairground, Block9 and Shangri-La. I really enjoyed areas like the Cave, Glasto Latino, The Common, and Copperdollar (my favourite). These areas at night become like a scene from a post-apocalyptic world like Mad Max. After 11pm these areas are very popular and you probably will see very big queues.
13) Watch the Arcadia Spectacular Spider awaken from its slumber
On Thursday evening at 10pm the Arcadia Spider dress rehearsal takes place. This is your chance to see the whole show before the official start of Arcadia proceedings on the Friday night. If you miss the Thursday rehearsal then just make sure you get there early on Friday to get a good spot. The arcadia spectacular is amazing.
14) Chill Out
If you want to chill out there are a number of areas you can do so. I like visiting the healing fields and the craft fields. Last year in the healing fields I got a gong bath which is 2 gongs being banged for 30 minutes – sounds terrible, but I fell asleep and felt great after it. You can also do yoga, meditation, reflexology and much more in the healing fields area.
The Craft fields are great for trying something new, everything from axe wielding and ring making to wood work and silversmiths. I made a ring for £20 – a very enjoyable 3 hours silversmithing. Try visit the craft fields on the Thursday as the music has not yet started.
The Peace tent near the stone circle is also another amazing spot to visit. The flame in the centre was (apparently) lit from the embers of the flames of the bombed Nagasaki. Very moving area to come and meditate.
15) Find a random piano
There are a few pianos dotted around the site and as a piano player I get to one each day for a few minutes. A good crowd will draw and my favourite moment in 2016 was how 2 or 3 people turned into about 50 or 60 as I played Bohemian Rhapsody (I will edit the post in the at some point to share this)
16) Get a view of the Glastonbury Tor
The Glastonbury Tor can be seen from some locations but the iconic ancient building a few miles away is often captured by the BBC in their coverage. Find it and grab a photo of it for yourself.
17) Climb the Ribbon Tower
There will be a queue for this iconic tower but the views are worth it. You have probably seen this on BBC coverage or Glastonbury images. The ribbon tower gives great panoramic views of the whole Glastonbury Festival site.
18) Board the Double Decker Bus for Tea
Yes, there is a red double decker bus serving tea and crumpets (and a lot more). Located not too far from the pyramid stage this bus is always busy. With comfy seating it’s a great place to go after you have been standing for 4 hours watching your favourite headliner. The simple things in life often bring the greatest joy, and you can relax onboard the double decker and take in some well deserved treats. There are cakes here too and they are great.
19) Listen to the Glastonbury Festival Local Radio Station
Tune into WorthyFM for the very latest news about the festival plus some secret gigs. In 2015 we were listening to WorthyFM and heard that the Dali Lama was going to be at the stone circle. Only for that we would not have been at an audience with this great man. Tune in to Worthy FM at 87.5MHz.
20) End as you started – at the Stone Circle
End your visit to Glastonbury as you started it, at the stone circle. This spot at around 3am early on Monday morning after all the music has ended is a very fitting place to be. Song, laughter and a very relaxed feeling over the site.
It’s over for another year – but you were there.
Don’t Pee on the Land and Leave no Trace !