I’ve been lucky enough over the years to be able to attend some great festivals: Reading and Leeds, Y Not, Lollapalooza (Chicago) and Bonnaroo being some of my favourites. However, the one I always wanted to go to had eluded me, the absolute daddy of all festivals: Glastonbury. That is, until last year when I was lucky enough to get a ticket in the general sale!
Even more incredulously, I managed to bag a ticket this year for Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary and I was SO excited to go. We would be heading down to Worthy farm this week, however COVID-19 had other plans and we’re going to have to wait one more year.
I thought that I would mark the occasion by writing a post containing my top tips and must haves for the festival following my experience last year in a hope to help first time Glasto goers plan for 2021!
So alongside the crucial tent, money, sunglasses and drinks, what else is important to take with you? Through various festival experiences (some being Glastonbury specific) I’ve found the following items to be crucial to a successful weekend:
Cash – There are limited cash machines on site. Some charge quite a lot to withdraw money, others are free but the queues are really long (and who wants to waste their festival experience queueing for cash?
Suncream (including one for your lips!) – 2019 was one of the hottest Glastonbury’s on record. I’d packed sun cream, but not a lip specific one. After a day in the sun, and an evening watching Stormzy on the Pyramid Stage, I went to bed, only to wake up at 6am with an outrageously swollen lip. Shortly after, my sister in law came in with the same thing (my lip was 5 times the size it normally is!). We’d been burnt on our lips – and the on site shop was all out of lip SPF! Luckily, after applying ice and taking ibuprofen, the swelling went down.
Battery powered fans, hats, umbrellas – If it is looking like another scorching festival, bring everything you can to stay cool. There isn’t a lot of shade at all and it can get insanely hot!
Alka Seltzer – The morning after the night before, you’ve had a few too many lemonades and your head is pounding a little (a lot). I’ve found the absolute best solution to this is taking an Alka Seltzer (XS), having a 30 minute power nap then you’re good to go!
Bum Bag – If you’ve followed my earlier advice and decided to take cash, you want this close to you at all times. The expanding running belts are really good for this. I have one of these on under my top with the bulk of my money in, then have a jazzy-sequinned bum bag which holds a bit of cash that I will be using that day, my phone and suncream!
Phone charging banks – Bring LOADS. If you are using the small ones, you will need at least one a day. You can even pick these up in the pound shop – but just check that they are charged before you set off. The smaller ones are great to take out in the day with you! You can buy these on site – and you exchange them when they are empty for a new one. Just note that the queue for this is quite long though!
Eye mask and ear plugs – Depending on where you camp, night time can be quite loud. Also, the sunrise can make it difficult to get a lie-in if you need it so ear plugs and eye masks are a must!
Shoes – It’s outrageously important to consider your footwear. We averaged around 30,000 steps a day last year! Luckily, it didn’t rain so I didn’t have to contend with wet shoes but comfort wise? Vans were not the one! I’m taking my trusty Nike Air Force 1’s next year due to the support for the arch of my foot that they provide. I’d also advise taking at least 2 pairs of trainers (in case one gets either wet or uncomfortable!) along with Wellies. The only reason I didn’t take walking boots was that I struggled to carry/fit much more in the car!
Anti-chafing cream – I use this one – last year I forgot to take it and ended up tying bandanas around my thighs to stop them from rubbing (not a cute look). On a subsequent holiday to Malta I found this holy grail of a chub-rub cream! Definitely worth investing in so you can still wear shorts and not have legs of fire!
Water bottle/container – These collapsible containers are really great to ensure you have water at your tent for a wash/cool down/night time drink. You’ll also want a bottle to take out with you in the day – keep hydrated guys! I took 2, both with carabiner clips on them so that I could attach them to my bumbag. Glastonbury isn’t like other festivals – you can drink your own alcohol and camping isn’t separate from the stages – its all magically mixed in together! I took one bottle for water, and one for Gin, then bought cold mixers throughout the day to have with my Gin (because, let’s be honest, no one likes a sweaty warm G&T!)
Before you set off, it’s really important to consider where you would like to camp. I’m not best placed to explain the differences between campsites as I’ve only ever been once. However, there are some great blog posts that can advise including this one here by That Festival Blogger.
I’d recommend camping near to where you think you’ll spend a lot of time. We camped between Paines and Dairy ground last year which is relatively close to The Other Stage and Arcadia. It is a fair walk from the naughty corner and The Pyramid Stage but was quiet enough that we got decent sleep at night and managed to camp with all of our friends who arrived at different times.
It’s important to consider this before you arrive as it will dictate which car park you will need to park in (if you are looking at driving down). It is definitely worth checking out the map on the Glastonbury website to see which car park you are aiming for otherwise you’ll be in for a long walk with all of your stuff! We parked in Orange and the walk to our tent from the car was under 10 minutes which was amazing as it meant we only had to carry in the essentials on our first trip and could pop back to the car to get the rest once the tent was set up!
It is also worth planning what time you are going to set off. Campsites open from 9pm on Tuesday evening, with the festival gates opening at 8am on Wednesday. We decided to set off after dinner on Tuesday evening and arrived at the campsite at around 1am. We didn’t hit any traffic on the way down and it meant we could get in the queue at the gate at around 6am and were onsite by 9am with the tent up. There were toilets available for use in the car park but it is worth noting that there are no food or drink stands open for you to purchase anything from.
Things I learned last year
Don’t meticulously plan out your day – the festival site is absolutely HUGE. If you schedule out every minute of your time you will be left disappointed. Parts of the festival take a good hour to get to (depending on where you currently are – shout out to the John Peel stage!). It is definitely worth picking 2/3 acts a day that you definitely want to see then just see where the day takes you!
If the water and/or toilet queues are long in the day, go to Block 9 – Again, due to how hot it was last year, the queues for water were crazily long and the pressure wasn’t great. We skipped over to Block 9 and found an absolute oasis – fast flowing, cold water, empty toilets and lots of shade! We stayed here for a good half an hour dousing ourselves with water to cool down! 10/10 would recommend!
Follow @secretglasto on twitter – There will be some amazing secret sets throughout the weekend. Some will be widely known (e.g. Foals at The Park stage last year!) but some might be a little more under the radar. We saw Lewis Capaldi in the BBC Introducing tent from a tip from this Twitter account! Would highly recommend!
Don’t spend hours trying to find the secret bar – So legend has it that there is a secret underground piano bar that hosts secret gigs. We searched extensively, ended up in the Rabbit Hole, but didn’t find the underground bar. Apparently it moves every year? Does it even exist?!
Glastonbury really is the best festival in the world! I’m gutted that I’m not on the farm right now, but I know that next year it will be even sweeter when we eventually get to party together!
Have you been? Have you got tickets for next year? What tips do you have for the festival? Would love to hear in the comments…
Until next time x