A Guide To Not F*cking Up Your Glastonbury

Don't wrestle in the mud, for starters...
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Don't wrestle in the mud, for starters...




When speaking to my Glastonbury-going friends this year, the prevailing word used other than ‘excitement’ is ‘fear’.

Maybe it’s because most of them are in that urban late 20s/early 30s, pre-kids zone. They can still recall the days when going to a festival didn’t inspire 96 hour comedowns, and Monday’s journey back was an irritant rather than a harbinger of absolute terror hovering ominously like a black mass on an X-Ray.

Sadly, they’ll just have to take what’s in the post and deal with it next week. But there are some basic guidelines to ensure you get the most from your time at Glastonbury,  because you really should believe the hype. There ain't nothing like it. 

The following are a list of tips I’ve put together with the people of the internet who know their stuff. Stick it to the roof of your tent, then damn it get out in the fields and compete.



1- Don’t stay up all night and day. Ever. (But especially not on the Wednesday.)

Its 8am, you haven’t been to bed, a wind-up radio is playing Prince and you’re sitting under a gazebo listening to a bloke detail the minutiae of his childhood. Despite the subject matter, you think, ‘Hold on, I’m actually feeling pretty good now.” So good that getting up and heading back to the Brothers Bar, the Stone Circle or wherever you can do a carry on is a sound idea. It isn’t.

If you go round the clock at any festival - by that I mean going to bed when the following evening - you are on the back foot for the rest of the weekend. You will never properly recover. If you go round the clock on the Wednesday and Thursday at Glastonbury, your Friday and Saturday will pass in an endless haze of moaning, and moping back to your tent for naps and mournful attempts at restorative masturbation.

You need to aim for at least four hours sleep a night. if you get more than that, let’s say six, you’re smashing the sleeping game; you’ve made it, kid. You’re Conan, you’re Catwoman, you’re Mary J. But four…with fours hours a night you can fly to Mars. (Or at least the Stone Circle.)

Oh, and you can’t put a price on decent ear plugs. They’ll fall out by wakey-time, but just to get you off to sleep they’re decent. The foam ones. Don't bother with the wax.


Picture author's own

Picture author's own

2- Eat twice. ALWAYS EAT TWICE.

Bearing in mind how food is one of the basic fuels that human beings need to function and survive, it’s remarkably easy it is to forget to eat once you’re four tepid Carlsbergs deep. THIS IS SO STUPID. Eat as soon as you get up. Buy something fried between bread and put it in your face, even if it makes you feel like chundering on your wellies. Ideally twin that with something that's came out of the ground or fallen off a tree (if you don’t get that I’m talking about fruit maybe you shouldn’t be going at all). For bargainous fried goods, you can get £1.50 egg rolls up in the Green Fields, near the Green Peace area (cheers for the tip, @FaheyDaniel of the internet).

Alternatively @NikiNom recommends going to the Yeo Valley stand in D Market, which actually makes sense as that’ll restore some balance to a belly that’ll be bouncing acid balls up and down your chest by Friday.

Then do what you got to do to get yourself to a point where you can feel like a human again- drink, dance, shag, shower, sing, commune with your fellow man, whatever you want, except poi. Poi is always unacceptable. Then eat before, BEFORE, you start taking drugs again because once you do you won’t eat until breakfast, which will likely be 12 hours away. Even if your belly is full of Somerset Cider and you don’t think your hungry, go and get something that has a vegetable in it. Also, sack off any real world no-carbs pretensions and load. You'll need the energy.

For a genuine Glasto legend, check out Yam The Cassava in the Green Fields. I had two people recommend it (cheers @geojay78) , and it is a Creole Gumbo Bar run by a a lady called Colga who lives in Barbados but comes over to England to do Glasto and make the money to fund her children’s education. Legend.

3- Put your wristband on your hand you don’t wipe your arse with.

Thank you for this, I think. @JAlexander1993

4 - The best time for the toilets is just after 7am

This is just after they jet wash the long drops. If you’ve been out at NYC Downlow until 6, this is actually pretty perfect. Ditto if you go with kids who will be up early. For the rest of you…well…you’ll just have to get in line with the rest of us.

According to that girl @NikkiNom- “I *think* they're just off from the Pyramid Stage but the eco toilets are always clean. Pee onto sawdust!”

Oh. Don’t leave the tent without anti-bacterial stuff, obviously. Stomach bugs at festivals are the worst, especially when that festival is five days long. If you get one because you’re not using anti-bac, which genuinely costs 80p, then you probably deserve it.  Ditto if you are one of the absolute dolts that jumps around and wrestles in the mud when it rains. Not only is that mud full of piss and shit, but it’s MUD. MUD. And you’re in a field in a rural county, likely hundreds of miles away from home and its associated comforts. I can’t even fathom what’s going through their minds when they’re lapping round it, grinning like they’ve discovered the Ark of the sodding Covenant

Not a lot, probably.

5 - If you get the chance, have sex

The world’s greatest myth is that sex at festivals is rubbish. It’s great. You’re both dirty, so that whole 'it's gross' argument doesn’t really come into the equation. It’s a bit naughty, as barring a vibrating flap of Argos canvas you’re basically doing it in a field full of other people. You’re tired and drunk and high and achy, so everything's a lot more sensitive than it normally is. Just, uhm, do it. 

6- Don’t be scared of going to a gig by yourself

If there’s someone you really want to see- you’ve put them on your ‘must-see’ list and @‘d them in a ‘can’t wait for...’ tweet and everything - then go and see them . If no-one wants to go with you, go anyway. You’ll enjoy it more by yourself than with a friend who’s gnawing your ear off about some tranny they might have fallen for in Block 9.

As long as you are watching the music rather than tweeting about it, people will talk to you. There’s few other buzzes in music like finding someone who’s into an act as much as you; who believes in their ability to change the world in the same way that you do. It’s instant community, and it’s rare. Also, they might look nice.

A classic Glasto cliche is that it’s ‘not about the music’, which on the one hand is completely true: It’s a giant temporary playground where every kid and adult can find something to fulfill their heart’s wants and desires. But on the other hand, have you even seen who’s playing? Kanye West and Lionel Ritchie and Hot Chip and George Clinton and Ryan Adams and Father John Misty and a pretty good percentage of all the excellent acts on the planet. So go and at least see some of them, fool.

7 -Crowds are long and Glastonbury isn’t. Take the railway track.

@alexiseast - “Use the 'Railway Track' at the bottom of the site to beat queues through the middle, dropping down onto it from the Other Stage and along will take you down to West Holts or the south east corner quicker than through the crowds.”

This is especially good if its raining and mud is starting to churn up round the Other Stage.

8- If you have a smartphone it will die within 16 seconds

But you know this. Plan ahead. Bring an old Nokia and get ready to fake laugh when every single person you show it asks, "Has it got Snake?"


9- Don’t camp somewhere stupid. 

Camp as high up as you can, especially as there’s rain forecast. Your man Raj Bains (BainsXIII) has this to say- “If you stand with your back to the Pyramid, the top left most corner of the site is the *ideal* place to pitch up. Quiet, not on a huge hill, perfect to actually sleep/recover in, close to wood, food, toilets and water. It's 100% worth the extra bit of walking…it's amazing - people don't go up there because there's a hill to contend with before it flats out. There's a lovely 24hr cafe that was a godsend. Also, camping in literally the corner of the camp meant you found your way back no matter what time/state you were in.”

So there it is

Picture author's own

Picture author's own


10- If it’s your first time…don’t try and lug all stuff over in one go

Let’s presume you've driven, and let’s presume you’ve stopped off at ALDI on the way and bought 96 cans of Galahad Export and enough cereal bars to keep you and your campmates alive until Bestival. Let’s also presume you haven’t read any other of the survival guides that have littered your news feed this week, know no-one who has been to Glastonbury, and therefore have had no advice regarding the size and scope of the festival site. With this in it mind you might think carting all your bags and tents and stoves and Galahad Exports and Romanian cereal bars over in one go is a good idea

Do not do this.

The site is 900-odd acres, and the perimeter around 8.5 miles. It is also full of hills and undulations. If you have bought loads of stuff with you, save yourself a lot of huffing, puffing and putting-out-backing, and go back for a second round. Better still, one of you put up the tents, while whoever it is that didn't drive walks back to the car to get the rest of the stuff. By the time they’re back, you’ll all be set and good to go.

11 - You can’t put a price on comfort.

If you’re reading this on your way, then this is too late for you…but take a blow up mattress. Take a decent pillow. Also, take a sheet. It seems a bit much and a lot to carry, but going back to your tent with a sheet and a bed that keeps you off a floor is a many splendored pleasure akin to a comedown massage in the Healing Fields (thanks for the latter suggestion, Michael Griffiths).


12- Don’t take acid that is given to you for free at the Stone Circle

Thanks for this @rocknroller_ste . He also suggested against drinking Skittles vodka. I don't hugely fancy either, truth be told. 


13 - It probably won’t totally fuck up your Glastonbury if you don’t go and see these. But you should anyway. 

Boogie Cartel - Friday, 03.00 @ NYC Downlow
Old Dirty Brasstards - Thursday 23.30 @ William Green
Lionel Ritchie - Sunday 16.00 Pyramid Stage


Follow David Twitter - @Gobshout