If you’re heading to Glastonbury this summer – and if so lucky – there’s a good chance you’ll be overwhelmed by all that’s on offer.
With legendary artists from Paul McCartney and Diana Ross to Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lemar strutting, as well as an extensive list of other works and stages available, Glasto meets that old adage that there is something for everyone.
Here are our top 10 tips, plus three celebs offering nuggets of wisdom, to help you make the most of your Glastonbury Festival weekend.
It’s not about the pyramid theater…
The Pyramid Theater is the center of the festival, and of course we’ll want to see the likes of Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish and Diana Ross put on amazing performances this year. But don’t forget that Glastonbury is home to more than a dozen other huge theaters – The Other Stage, Park, West Holts, John Bell’s Tent, Williams Green, Common, Field of Avalon, Sound Theatre, Ice Zone, Left Field, BBC Music Presentation, GlastoLatino etc – some are as big as the main stages in many other festivals.
Not to mention the vast club spaces or small theaters and bands listings in remote parts of the site where you’ll find singers, songwriters, jazz bands, folk duos and more.
And don’t forget to spend plenty of time in the Circus and Theater Fields, in the Comedy Tent, Greenpeace Field, Healing Fields, Sacred Space, Green Fields, Tipi Fields and more. And if you’re bringing kids, Kidsfield is a must.
The party starts when the main stages are closed
The pyramid stage and other major music stages end before midnight, just as the on-site club areas begin.
It’s when the focus shifts toward the southeast corner (where you’ll find Shangri-La, Block 9, Unfairground, Iicon, and more) and other nightclub areas including Silver Hayes, Arcadia, Cineramageddon, San Remo, and The Beat Hotel.
There are also plenty of things to do around the country park areas to the south of the site, such as Strummerville, Ribbon Tower, Stonebridge Bar, and Crow’s Nest. Remember that the clubbing areas are all soft and pleasant during the day and well worth exploring.
Don’t be afraid of getting lost
Off the beaten track is often the best way to explore Glastonbury. It’s where you’ll find yourself discovering the infamous Underground Piano Bar (a theater buried in a hillside near Green Fields that serves home-brewed whiskey), participating in the Green Fields “laughing workshop”, or talking to the 70-year-old priest Who was born while watching Hawkwind play Stonehenge in 1984.
Or how about seeing celebrities and politicians interviewed in a Greenpeace tent, or interacting with any of the hilarious “wanderers” of a circus arena, or seeing an American slam poet on a full-fledged flight as you stumble into the Poetry and Words tent, or stumbling upon circus performers performing Punk rock late night version of Cinderella on motorbikes…
Be prepared for all weather
Make sure you’re prepared for all the possibilities, from torrential rain to scorching sun and all the points in between. Take your shoes or boots, shades, a sun hat, sunscreen, sunscreen, antihistamine tablets and insect repellent.
The outlook is very good for this year’s festival to start, but even a small amount of rain can make parts of the site treacherously muddy. The Wood is a nice shaded place when it gets really hot.
Don’t forget the basics
Toilet paper, washable wet wipes, hand sanitizer (you can rarely wash your hands after using the bathroom), toothbrushes, toothpaste, pain relievers (for headaches or hangovers), a refillable water bottle (there are water stations everywhere) and tampons ear to sleep.
A small bag, bumbag or backpack is highly recommended.
Phones can be a nightmare
5G coverage throughout the site is very good but modern smartphones have very short battery life. Switch your device to battery saver mode every morning, use it as little as possible and bring as many portable battery chargers as possible (fully charged). (There are charging points around the site but there are usually very long queues.)
It might be an idea to get an old Nokia brick that can last five days on a full charge.
Don’t be afraid to fly alone
It’s great to hang out with your mates but this can often encourage stalemate – a gang of six could easily spend nine hours sitting in the stone circle, unable to agree on where to move.
A smaller group may be more flexible, and enjoy the festival a lot. Best of all is flying alone.
Be strategic about who you see
Download the Glastonbury app or purchase software – both will give you a detailed list of who’s playing at the venue, right down to some of the site’s smallest stages.
Prioritize and anchor your days around what you really want to see but see which parts of the site are close together – the pyramid stage isn’t far from Left Field, for example, but Block 9 is on the other side of the site from John Peel’s tent (about 45 a minute’s walk before you even take into account the crowds).
Don’t be a fool
There are reasons why the site bans glass (broken glass is hard to spot and can harm the livestock that will be back grazing there in a few weeks) and why you are not allowed to urinate in the bush (it can poison the streams and have a disastrous impact on the environment).
But also try to stick to the basics – try not to use plastic, use litter boxes, keep your hands clean, and try not to be noisy at night.
Enjoy walking around in the morning
At 6am, as thousands of babbling punters stumble into Block 9 or the Unfairground, hundreds more will serve food to the on-site market where Glastonbury’s 400-plus shop owners buy their wares.
You realize what a gigantic logistics project – a small city with a population of about 200,000 people who all need to be fed and watered.
Celebrity top tips
Fat Boy Slim
I’ve been enjoying Gilstonbury a lot since I was sober. So many crazy things are happening out there that you might be tempted to give them up to be out of your face. Only since I stopped drinking have I realized how wonderful it is.
My best moment in Glastonbury came when I was trying to make myself unrecognizable and explored. There are a lot of amazing things about the outskirts of the site. You don’t really have to see any difference to have a good time.
As someone who grew up in camp and goes on long walks with my parents, I love the sensible and rebellious side of festival life. I’m good with tents and hiking boots and all that stuff. I love the odd mix of hedonism and practicality.
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