Glastonbury is the beast of all UK festivals with nearly 175,000 attendees every year. It’s the holy land of party-goers and music lovers, where hippies and ravers unite under the great British weather to some unknown DJ at 3am in a muddy field. For those who were persistent enough with the booking system, the time is nearly upon you to grab your tent, don your wellies, and descend upon southwest England in all its drizzling glory.
However, planning for five days in a tent, five days of hangovers, and packing for every type of weather known to man — in as little luggage as possible — is no easy feat. What booze do you take? What even is the weather forecast? How much underwear will you need?
It’s ok, we’ve got it all under control.
First thing’s first, let’s talk about what you should pack.
No matter how many times you check the BBC for the Glasto forecast, I’m afraid the weather Gods will have other plans for you. It will rain and it will get cold at night — this ain’t no Bonnaroo. From someone who resides in the southwest, we’ve had approximately three sunny days so far in 2015 — none of them have been warm. So, yes, pack that poncho, put wellies or some sturdy boots on those feet and bring a beanie and maybe even some gloves.
Of course, Glasto also has a reputation for torturing its revellers with searing, penetrating heat — so you’ll have to cater for the sun too. Shorts, tee’s, summer dresses for those ladies who trust themselves not to drag in the squelching filth of three-day-used long drops and porta-potties, sun cream, flip-fops. Take beach clothes that you don’t mind getting muddy. ‘Cause as soon as you decide it’s going to be a hot day, it’ll rain.
And the most essential: underwear. However much you can squeeze into your luggage. Be it inside your wellies or your bra — take as much as you can bear to throw away come Monday morning. You’ll likely stop caring about the stench coming from your crotch after the second hangover of the week, but sometimes a clean pair of undies are the only way to feel fresh again.
- Dry shampoo, because who the hell has time to queue for a shower when Swim Deep is kicking off at 11am?
- Wet-wipes, because beer shits
- ID, because booze
- Money, because food and booze
- Water, because hangovers
- Reusable water bottle, because there is free, safe drinking water all around site
- Condoms, because you’re in hippie country now and we all like a bit of free love, but keep in mind nobody has washed for four days
- Plastic bags/bin liners, because it’s rude to leave your beer cans for someone else to pick up at the end
Now we’re getting down to some serious business. What alcohol do you take with you to Glasto? Practicalities are of utmost importance here — remember that you have no fridge and you’re likely to get sloppy drunk and pour your drink all over yourself or some nice girl’s white dress. You’re also going to have to decant anything glass into a plastic bottle or even six.
If you can handle warm cider, get yourself a few crates. If you can handle a red wine hangover in a field, a stripped box of the stuff (or three) will suit. Rum, vodka, whiskey. Bring it all, just make sure it’s pre mixed and out of the glass first.
So you’re there, now what do you do?
Ok, so you’ve made your way to the glorious countryside of Glastonbury, sat in hell’s-own-traffic to get in and set up your tent in Oxylyers without a hitch. Now you’re sitting with a plastic cup of red-wine-out-of-a-sack, your wellies are spread out before you and there’s a whole five days of unabashed, uninhibited freedom from your office cubicle ahead. It’s a wonderful world, isn’t it? But now what?
What bands are you gonna see?
I hate to disappoint, but you’re not going to make it to all of those gigs you originally planned to see. But that’s ok — the reason you’ll miss your favourite band is because you’ll be dancing your little booty off to Land of the Giants or Mad Dog Mcrea over at The Bandstand. Who? Doesn’t matter. You’ll be so engrossed in the music that you’ll have no time to notice that you don’t even know who these people are.
I do think we need to take a minute to mourn over the sad fact that The Who and The Chemical Brothers are playing at exactly the same time on Sunday night though. The thing about Glasto is that there are so many legends on so many different stages in such a huge space, that sacrifices have to be made.
You are going to lose your friends.
So make new ones. Your phone will run out of battery and when you are finally charged up, your friends won’t be. Signal and 3G is iffy at best and there’s no point in spending your time wandering back to the tents just in case while The Vaccines or Frank Turner are rocking out on the Other Stage.
But don’t panic. Everyone at Glasto is now part of your new extended family and all you need to do is say “hi” to make new friends. Have another pint of your favourite social lubricant and get on making memories with complete strangers who you’ll probably never run into again.
Here’s some crucial advice: You need to eat.
Take it from someone who once went a whole festival surviving on cheap Belgian beer alone, you need to eat. Even if the hangover is so bad that the thought of even water makes the vom rise to the back of your teeth. Glastonbury Festival is an event that is not to be missed, especially if the only reason you missed out is because you couldn’t be bothered to drag your ass out of your tent to find some bacon. Locate the closest food stall to your tent, part with your well-earned cash, wash it down with a cider and you’ll be right as rain again.
Put aside some time to just wander around aimlessly.
Glasto is like a load of festivals merged into one, with each area owning its own identity and carrying its own cult of washed up hippies and teenage hipsters. You may think that Shangri La isn’t your scene, but it is. Not sure what to make of Glasto Latino? You’ll love it. Don’t give two damns about who Joe Strummer is? Educate yo’self at Strummerville around the eternal campfire. Check in to Beat Hotel or just lie back and immerse yourself in the beating soul of Glasto at The Green Fields. You may just surprise yourself.
Embrace it all.
The mud and the rain and the sun and the weirdos. The new friends, old friends, and the hangover to beat all hangovers. Don’t worry and ride it, Glasto is a trip that cannot be tamed, and once you’re back in your car stuck in traffic on Monday morning — with greasy hair, grubby nails, aching joints, and six hours of travelling ahead of you — you’ll be longing for Glastonbury 2016 to hurry the hell up.
See you in the field.
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