THE BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD: GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL, UK
With friends in the UK gearing up for Glastonbury Festival next weekend, it has brought back some of the best memories. I was lucky to go to Glastonbury in 2010 and 2011 whilst I was living in London – needless to say, both times were out of this world fun. Over those two years I saw some incredible acts including Stevie Wonder, Stone Roses, Phoenix, Snoop Lion (nee Dogg), Vampire Weekend, La Roux, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Hot Chip, Broken Bells, The Flaming Lips, Groove Armada, The xx, Beyonce, The Dead Weather, Foals, Editors, Scissor Sisters, Muse, Paloma Faith, James Blake, Temper Trap, The Drums, We Are Scientists, Broken Social Scene, Faithless, U2, Coldplay, Wu-Tang Clan, Two Door Cinema Club, Metronomy, Tame Impala, Tinie Tempah, Pendulum, Plan B, The Vaccines, Jessie J, The Kills, Friendly Fires, Chemical Brothers, Cold War Kids, The Streets, Robyn, Foster The People, Radio Head...and the list goes on. Going to such a big festival meant I didn’t really need to go to another gig in London until Glastonbury rolled around the following year - even though I still did. Man, I miss how cheap gigs are in London... I am a little bit sad I won’t be attending this year, but not so sad as I have seen quite a few acts already in the line up. In saying that though, I would have loved seeing The Rolling Stones and Portishead. That’s what I love about Glastonbury, they always pull the biggest old school acts. So with Glastonbury in just a few days time, I thought I would share my top festival survival tips for those travelling to this mind blowing festival.
What to pack 1. It goes without saying these are your Glastonbury essentials – Hunter wellies (if there is forecast for rain which is more than likely), sunscreen, hat, wet wipes or face wipes, camera, mobile phone, camping gear, fold out chair and sleeping bag (obviously), torch, clothes for each day plus a spare pair in case any get wet, toiletries and spare toilet paper. 2. The weather will determine what clothes you pack. You need to prepare for both wet and dry weather at Glastonbury, the weather is basically bi-polar and both years I’ve had it all – rain, wind, cold, sunshine and heat. 3. I would say don’t pack clothes that you care about, but I did both times and they didn’t get ruined. So I’ll leave that decision up to you! 4. If it’s raining and cold, you’ll need a cosy jumper, stockings to keep your legs warm (for the ladies), an anorak and a rain poncho with a hoodie. Don’t bother with an umbrella as they’re too much work and people get annoyed if they can’t see an act because your umbrella is in their face. If it’s dry and sunny, summery sandals are totally fine as well as a cute festival dress (for the ladies). 5. For the ladies, the best festival outfit is to simply wear a pair of cut off denim shorts and a tee which you mix and match with the above. For the guys, the best festival outfit is also a pair of shorts (maybe jeans if it’s not too hot) with a tee which you also mix and match with the above.
Getting there 1. The best mode of transport to Glastonbury is by car. It means you can pack lots of alcohol, food, clothes and camping supplies, as well as arrive and leave the festival whenever you want to. 2. If you don’t want to drive you can also jump on a National Express bus from locations all around the UK which is also very handy, especially if you plan on having a really big night on the Sunday.
Where to stay 1. Unless you have to stay at a hotel in a nearby town, camping is the only accommodation option at Glastonbury. But don’t worry – it is the best! 2. However, the thought of trying to find a good camping spot that isn’t too close to any stages, in the shade, on high ground and not on a slope overwhelms me. You also cannot pick your neighbours. The festival attracts around 150,000 people each year and everyone camps at Worthy Farm as the price of camping is included in your ticket. With that in mind, both times I attended Glastonbury I camped at the Tangerine Fields, aka ‘glamping’. To camp here you have to pay extra but the cheapest option is hiring a two man tent which is already set up with a blow up mattress when you arrive – and it only works out at about £50 extra a night. Very reasonable considering the camping area has security, flushable toilets, hot showers, stations to charge your phones, hair dryers and straighteners, bar for alcohol and a cafe that serves half decent food if you get the late night munchies. 3. If you are camping in the general camping areas, arrive as early as you can on the Wednesday morning. This will ensure you get your preferred camping spot. Don’t pack valuables and don’t leave valuables in your tent. 4. Finding your tent at night can be a nightmare, so remember to attach something to it like a flag so you can locate it or try and find something memorable nearby to help you locate your tent.
At the festival 1. Whether you arrive on the Wednesday or the Thursday, use these days to explore the festival grounds and get a sense of where all the stages and party spots are. The last thing you want is not knowing where a stage is when you’re rushing between acts, because you will be rushing around trying to catch as much music as possible. It’s all part of the fun. 2. Definitely have a go at the silent disco – it’s AMAZING. 3. Don’t drink too much, pace yourself. You’ll need all the energy you can muster. 4. Areas change each year and walking from one side of the festival to the other takes one hour – it’s that huge. Glastonbury also never sleeps so make sure you visit Shangri-La, Block 9 and Arcadia after the main acts have finished. This is where the party is. Mind blown is all I will give away. 5. Always choose a meeting spot with friends in case you lose each other at some stage during the festival 6. The food at Glastonbury is some of the best food I’ve ever had in my entire life; it’s the second reason why people come to Glastonbury! If you can, try and find the haloumi salad cones at Oli's. They will change your life and usually run out by Saturday afternoon – they are THAT GOOD. 7. Try and go to the ‘secret shows’ where possible. That’s where I saw Radiohead play to a tiny crowd of about 100 people in the rain. A once in a lifetime opportunity! 8. Watch the sun set at Stone Circle and view the festival from the main hill behind Tipi Village where the patchwork Glastonbury sign is, it offers the best view of the entire festival 9. If you’ve got some time to spare, definitely explore the Healing Field, Craft Field and Green Futures and find the ice cream van – the organic strawberry is delicious 10. There is so much more to see, do and explore so I’ll leave the rest up to you!
Leaving the festival 1. A lot of people start leaving the festival on Sunday. Both years I left on the Monday, and both times first thing in the morning to avoid several hours of traffic. It really is up to you when to leave, but if you want to avoid getting stuck in traffic on the Monday, leave before 8am.