Wednesday, 8 July 2015

What To Expect From Glastonbury Festival

For those of you who don't know, I recently went to the one and only Glastonbury Music Festival for the first time! I had an amazing time and it really was an experience like nothing else, so I thought I'd write up a post explaining what to expect from going to Glastonbury for those of you who who have never been! In case you didn't know, Glastonbury Festival takes place from Wednesday to Monday over the last weekend of June every year. It is in a small town called Pilton near Glastonbury in the South West of England, which conveniently for me, is only about 30 minutes from my house! I'm not sure how well known Glastonbury is around the world but I'm guessing from the amount of BBC coverage and the artists who perform there that it's a pretty big deal in the UK at least, not just in the area that I live in. So, given that there's a lot of hype around Glastonbury each year, it can be hard to tell how much of it is exaggerated, or what the festival is really like. So, what can you expect from Glastonbury Festival?

Unless you are 'Glamping', the first day will be the worst. Me and my best friend Rebecca got a coach in from Bath which only took about 40 minutes and then ended up having to queue to get into the festival for about an hour, and then it took us a further hour to walk to the field where we wanted to pitch up. The coach trip was a breeze and we've decided that is probably the easiest way to do it, since we ended up getting into the site by about 9, whereas we had friends who came in as pedestrians and ended up joining the queue at 5am and not getting into the site until noon! However the queuing and the walking to the pitches is a nightmare. Think about it - you're carrying a rucksack with 5 days' worth of living supplies, a tent, maybe some camping chairs or various other bits. I know for a fact that my rucksack alone weighed over 3 stone. You may need to do a 'practice walk' like with Ten Tors or DofE to survive the first day!!

You can't watch everyone - and by that I'm not saying sit in your tent all day and don't bother going to any of the sets (which may sound completely obvious but we had some mildly creepy people in a tent near us who were ALWAYS there, we never saw them leave their tents!). Moving around Glasto can be a bit of a struggle and it can take about half an hour to get between stages at peak times, so don't get too pent up about seeing everyone who's performing. My tip would be to pick one person each day who would be your absolute priority to see and then talk to your friends and build a line up from there. Also, don't be afraid of going along just for the ends of sets - if it's a band that you don't know so well, usually they do their most popular song last so you'll probably have heard of that one!

Accept that you'll end up eating the weirdest combinations of foods! We were determined not to spend too much money at the festival so boldly decided to take enough Pot Noodle with us to have one for lunch everyday, but by the final few days we had had enough of them really... Not a major fan, especially when there is so much else on offer! There was a huge variety of food stalls and nothing I tried disappointed me. What we found worked best for us would be that we would get one meal to share at about 5, before we started watching whatever evening acts we had chosen, and then have another one to share after the shows finished at 11. That way, we got to try 2 different meals each night so we didn't feel like we were missing out on too much!

(This may not generalise to all festivals but) The cinema is your friend for the first few days - if you go down on the Wednesday like most people seem to do now, the days can seem a bit boring at first because not a lot happens until the Friday onwards really. On the first day, Rebecca and I went to see Big Hero Six - a film that I would definitely recommend by the way! - and since we had both seen it before, we actually ended up falling asleep in there, along with most of the parents and teens that had turned up. In the evening we went back again and watched Kingsman for the first time and it was amazing! Plus the whole tent was packed and it was great having a reaction from the whole crowd in scary/funny/sad scenes so I would recommend popping into the cinema tent if you have some free time - even if it's just to take a nap in the shade!

Make the most of looking ridiculous. Glitter. Clashing patterns. Crazy hair. Go for it. Need I say more? You're away in a mystical land for 5 days where there will always be someone who looks worse or weirder than you do. Just go for it! I stuck to quite normal clothes but made sure to wear all of the glitter I could get my hands on - so make sure you take some with you if you want to get into the festival spirit

Above all, my advice would be to just get into the spirit of it. I may have moaned quite a lot while I was there (but that was mainly because I am not a 'happy camper') but at the end of the day, you're only there for 5 days out of your very long life, so you might as well join in the fun!

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Maira Gall