How to survive Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival is huge. It is a brilliant event, designed to allow you to explore a concentrated and incredible experience. There are tens of thousands of performances, events, exhibitions and happenings. You have the opportunity to see everything and get the maximum experience but it can be a lot of walking and playing and extreme experiences.
It can be overwhelming, especially when you haven’t been before. It can be an assault on your senses, with the noise and energy. By looking after yourself and being aware, prepared and careful, you can have a great time.
Travelling to the Site
Getting to Glastonbury Festival can be stressful. Make sure you leave plenty of time and expect to sit in queues and have hold-ups the closer you get to the site. Sometimes it can take hours to travel the last few miles at peak times. Be prepared and patient. Bring water and of course your tickets. The greenest way to travel is by public transport, bus, train or at the very least sharing cars. Coaches go right inside the site at Red Gate, just the other side of Worthy Farm. Many cars arrive at the Blue Gate, and walk into the blue pedestrian gate from there and down Muddy Lane to the main festival site. There are regular buses from the local station from the Sunday before the event. Do check all the travel details on the Glastonbury website.
The festival site is HUGE (1,000 acres). Try and familiarise yourself with a map if you can, and be careful as there will be a lot of people and areas can get very crowded and claustrophobic. Leave lots of time to get places. Pay attention to where you are and who is around you. It’s difficult to meet up with people if you get lost (even if you have battery in your phone, there are often so many people using their phones that you don’t always get a signal). Take phone numbers for people in your group and have a back-up plan in case you get lost or separated.
Make sure your car parking space is at the correct gate for your camp so you don’t have miles to walk with all your stuff too. Bring as little as possible and only things you need, and can afford to lose, ie nothing really important or valuable. It can be difficult to store your valuables easily. They are best left at home.
When you first arrive keep your TICKET STUB and WRISTBAND close before heading back off site to collect more of your camping stuff. You will need it as otherwise you may not be allowed back into the festival!
There are pretty huge areas for camping. It depends when you arrive, and what kind of place you like and want to be close to.
A guide to personal stuff – what to bring:
– Socks (bring more than you think you may need… as your feet will sweat/get sore and you may want to double up… longer socks can be useful for wearing with wellies as they will stop your calves from rubbing) they will need to be dry to protect your feet.
– Walking boots/working shoes- they are comfier than wellies but make sure they are worn-in (comfy) and waterproof! No plastic bags inside the shoes please. You could get Trench Foot! Yes really! Let your feet breathe at night without socks and shoes on. Welly rash on the calves is horrible, make sure you have trousers or long socks to cover the top rim of the boots.
– Flip flops/slip-on/comfy shoes are fair enough when it’s hot but it’s not easy to walk too far in them on a farm.
– Warm clothes/layers, as it can get cold at night. Scarves/jumpers/cardigans and hats.
– A spare blanket or foil blanket can make a huge difference at night and you will definitely need a waterproof ground sheet or under sheet.
– Waterproof clothes, coat, hats.
– Sun cream! Even if you normally tan or the weather isn’t amazing you will still most likely burn as there is very little shade and you will be out in the sun A LOT!
– Baby wipes (try not to be overly wasteful with them but they are useful, and bio-degradable, eco-versions are available).
– Hand sanitizer- there is some on-site in toilets but you may want your own.
– Torch, especially a head strap version, useful for night-time toilets.
– A towel – there are showers available.
– Toiletries – decant where necessary. Glass is not allowed on site and security has confiscated small bottles and tubs of creams and make up in the past!
– Tent (If possible please share/don’t bring huge tents as there is limited space and it does get very cramped).
– Good sleeping bag/blankets and under-mats
– Bring any medication you may need during your time on site – plasters, foot creams and special blister plasters can be VERY useful. You could also bring a portable toilet/ bedpan, if you think you would need to wee in the night and don’t like getting up from your tent. They are on sale in most good chemists. There will be shops open to buy such items but they can be over-priced and the hospital shop is very busy 24/7.
– Food and drink! Snacks can be great for an energy boost.
– Onsite the food is plentiful and from across the world so bring cash for this.
– FUN CLOTHING! Exciting, colourful, sparkly items/glitter/wigs/feathers/false eyelashes/jewellery etc. You will need clothes for HOT and COLD weather and clothes for enjoying various performances and going out at night, too.
– Phone charger (labelled). You can charge them up across the site for a small fee.
– A good shoulder bag/bum-bag so you can keep your valuables on your body when away from your camp.
– Alcohol for personal consumption is allowed, but will be confiscated at the gates if it is in a GLASS bottle so decant into other containers. You could easily be searched on entry to the festival, and also at the local train station when you arrive.
– Water bottles are useful, especially when walking round the site.
– Drugs and other illegal items are still illegal at the festival: don’t risk your liberty by bringing them with you or buying them on-site. Cameras and plainclothes police are everywhere on-site.
Dealing with the other people
At a festival like Glastonbury, most people are awesome, happy to be there and keen to meet you and connect, but some people can treat you badly, and may have unreasonable expectations, especially if they are drunk.
Accidents can also happen. You might need to get help and support from security or stewards. If there is a serious accident or injury do not wait for security but call 999 and ask for an ambulance, say that you are Glastonbury Festival and state exactly where you are. There are police, fire and other services on hand at all times onsite. Do not attempt any first aid on other members of the public, other than putting someone in the recovery position relieving the airways if you are actually trained to do so.
The Gaia’s Guardians are just one group that aim to help keep the huge festival clean and green and for important reasons. There are thousands of volunteers, litter pickers, waste operatives, environmental protection staff, bus drivers, toilet cleaners – all protecting the soil and water, the wildlife, keeping the festival site clean and making it greener each year.
The Gaia’s Guardians have organised entertaining and engaging ways to ask you politely and charmingly to Love the Farm and Leave No Trace, Love the Farm and Do No Harm. Do your bit by abiding by the festival’s green rules please.
Please do not pee anywhere on site except in the toilets. The ground water runs into the central Whitelake River and down the valley. The wildlife and fish are affected if 200,000 revellers are peeing everywhere and the government Environment Agency tests the water regularly. It has the power to close down the site if too many people have urinated and polluted the site. There are thousands of toilets, enough for 1 toilet for every 14 people. Please use them. Public urination is an arrestable offence and this applies to all revellers, and any staff caught peeing could be sacked on the spot. Toilets are checked twice a day and have cleaners and other staff ready to help.
Use the bins and compost your waste. This festival produces a huge amount of waste and we do our best to collect, recycle and compost everything. Volunteer litter-pickers get up at 4am to clean up each day – they are awesome. Please help by doing your bit. You can grab waste and recycling bags at the steward points to each camp site and there are thousands of bins. Visit the Green Futures Field upcycling project and creative arts forum and see how more than a dozen types of waste collected onsite can create amazing art.
DON’T DROP CIGARETTE BUTTS – Smokers often don’t realise it but each cigarette can contaminate 8 litres of ground water when it’s dropped on the soil, and it takes up to 14 years to degrade. Every butt has to be collected at the end of the festival to make sure the cows don’t eat them and they are not turned into the soil before planting. Keep your butts for the bins, they are toxic and should be handled carefully. Gaia’s Guardians will be selling tiny butt bins – look for the Happy Cow logo.
Fires are dangerous. It’s better not to light fires anywhere onsite, especially near tents, and the soil takes at least a year to recover if you don’t take out the topsoil and make a decent pit before you start. If you must have a fire, make it as small as possible and never leave it unattended.
Resist the temptation to wash your boots in the running water. There is no need to wash your boots, within minutes they will be muddy again in wet conditions anyway. 2013 is the UN Year of Water. Be aware and respect water by using it carefully and wisely.
Take your tent home! Please take your tent and your entire belongings home with you. Thank you for leaving the farm and your camping area absolutely clean and clear, without litter, fire damage or any other leftovers.
Love the Farm, Do No Harm.
Most importantly, have a wonderful and amazing time!