Don’t make the same mistakes I did, kids…
Bright eyed, fresh faced and giddy with excitement, on the last Wednesday of June I left my tiny student room with a rucksack three times my size (I’m small but still, damn that baby was heavy) to sleep in a field for 5 days with 175 000 other people. I went to Glastonbury.
Being my first Glastonbury (‘whaaat?!’ I hear you cry, ‘I’ve been for the last 80 years!!!’) I had read every “what to pack” and “what to think” and “what to be” guide and checklist under the sun, and felt pretty pleased with myself. I was so ready for this.
Fast-forward five days and my legs are about to fall off, I look as red as my nail varnish and I am the definition of fragile. Glastonbury is a weird and wonderful place and without a doubt the most amazing festival there is – but if I were to do it again, here’s a few things I would have told myself as a Glastonbury virgin.
1) Never underestimate the power of a good wellie. Feet will stay dry and legs will stay warm, allowing you to last from dawn until dusk through concerts, raves, rain and mud. Mud will become a source of pure childish joy as you squelch through it in your kaki sky-high boots to make your way to your next gig. Plus, you wont have to worry about coordinating your shoes with your outfit – it’s a festival, things not matching is normcore.
2) A disposable camera will not always guarantee 24 edgy vintage photos. When excitedly running home after collecting my developed photos from Boots today I was met with roughly 15 photos which were pitch black, out of focus, featuring half a stage or half of my face. Disposables are great and can produce some wonderful printed memories, but it won’t always turn out perfectly, so be prepared. Spontaneity is great, but looking at what you’re actually snapping instead of pointing the camera randomly in the air (guilty as charged) is better.
3) Be prepared to not stick to your schedule. There are so many different things going on at Glastonbury, heartbreaking clashes and constantly something better happening somewhere else, but making a schedule with no breaks will not allow you to see 35 bands in the weekend as you will collapse after one day of not eating or taking a break at all. Factor in time for food, getting changed, and just being able to wander freely – the best surprises will come from the unplanned. Plan your acts, but also plan your breaks. You might find your new favorite band after getting totally lost.
4) Don’t be afraid to try everything. No, I don’t mean drugs, no, I’m not talking about NOS either. Go and see new bands, explore the theatre and circus areas, take part in a ceramic workshop or learn how to give proper massages (then give me one…just kidding…unless you’re offering). There are hundreds of different activities and areas which go way past the Pyramid stage. There’s also over 300 food stalls with everything ranging from maki wraps to fish finger sandwiches, so don’t be afraid to branch out!
5) Bring conversation starters. When packing your bags, remember all the essentials like painkillers, sun cream, and antibacterial gel because you will need all of these. Every single one. On top of lifesavers, don’t be afraid to get a lil’ weird with clothing and make-up. I even saw someone with a string of fairy lights wrapped around their crutches. The real hero of Glastonbury. Everyone will be looking weird and wonderful, and it’s a great way to make friends with your campsite neighbors by offering them to share your bag of marshmallows over the campfire or to start a conversation with someone about how funky your sunglasses are while waiting for an act. Interaction is good, people are fun and drunk so just go for it.
6) Embrace it. Glastonbury is only 5 days a year, and while it’s vital to remember all the essentials, plan, pack and be careful, the best tip I could give my past self and anyone in the future going is to fully embrace it – wear more glitter than acceptable, don’t feel the need to have straight hair and sing as loudly as you can, even if the person next you can definitely hear it. No year is the same, and the memories you will make here will last you a lifetime. Make it count.
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