12 June 2015

First time to Glastonbury this year? Here's how to win at Glasto.

Dear Glastonbury Virgin,

Congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the most enchanting weeks of your life! Be prepared to see, hear, do, and smell things you never imagined...like...ever. Me? Well, I'm going into my sixth consecutive year. While my experience at doing Glastonbury may not compare to the veterans who have been going for decades, I think I can smack some wisdom on you. Here are some tips, tricks and hacks that I think will help you have the best festival evar!

1. Start planning for next year

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So you have your ticket and you're going this year? YAY! The minute you get back start counting down to the first Sunday of October. That's when tickets for the next year go on sale. Put it in your diary now or you'll regret it.

2. If you're getting the coach, get drunk

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I know, it seems like the most convenient option for travel. Or maybe a coach + ticket was the only thing that was available. But consider this: you're going to be living the struggle for up to 5 days. You don't need to add being towed in a shitty box with no air to the misery. It may be door-to-door delivery, but the traffic into Somerset is the worst and the queues can get quite long into the festival.

3. If you're getting the train, get drunk

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The train adds a tiny bit of luxury to the experience. You get a nice view, you get the freedom to walk around and if you're super lucky you get to sit at one of the tables! You also get to switch at Castle Cary to a coach service that will take you to the festival site. This switch can be quite frustrating as there will be a lot of waiting. You may also have to switch trains at some point between Paddington and Castle Cary. The 2nd train will be a tiny one that has windows you can pull down. Brace yourselves, you're going to get close and comfy with a lot of strangers.

4. If you're driving, get there early

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I'm all for using the public transport options to get to Glastonbury. You normally get discounted food vouchers for travelling 'green' as well, so it's worth it. This is the week to let all those Green policies you never quite want to admit to liking run free. But, if you absolutely feel like you can't carry things in and need to drive (I say that means you don't need to bring it at all really) then get there on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

5. Pack only the essentials

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There are plenty of lists out there telling you what to pack, but I think they can all be reduced down to a few things: baby wipes, cereal bars and a flask of a spirit of your choice. Yes of course pack clothes, wellies, sunnies etc, we all have the common sense for that. But I can not stress enough how important baby wipes will be to your life. Gone to the loo and they're out of toilet roll? Baby wipes. Need to wipe that festival noodle slop off your face? Baby wipes. Shower? Baby wipes. Can't be arsed to go all the way back to your luxury tipi area to pee? BABY WIPES. They are versatile AF. I bring at least 400 of them. Cereal bars are the best thing to have on hand. Sometimes when you're having a good time you forget to eat. Momma's telling you to have a snack with you at all times. Your stomach, liver and throat will thank you for soaking up that alcohol and not vomming all over the place. And I like to bring a tall flask/thermos of some type of spirit + a hip flask. You can't/shouldn't bring glass bottles into the festival so this is a nice way of bringing something harder without having it confiscated/break. Also, I'm not sure if you're catching the trend yet but - there will be queues. Having a hip flask of crunk juice  > buying 4 ciders so you don't have to wait so long to get another drink.

6. Do you even festival phone, bro?

via http://weheartit.com/
My friends may have heard me say 'I'll give you my festival number'. Remember those shitty mobiles we had in HS/College/start of Uni. The ones that did fuck all but text, maybe have a torch on them, and play snake? THIS WILL BE THE ONLY PHONE THAT WORKS AT GLASTONBURY. Yes EE have a big partnership with Glasto but 4G, 3G any G won't work there. You know what will work? Those bricks that do only phone functions. Get yourself one for like 10 quid. I won't say don't bring your smartphone because I still do. I don't always take pics, but the Glasto app is super convenient. And if you're responsible enough, you won't lose the thing. However, switch that baby into airplane mode, turn off all data usage and put the brightness as low as possible. This phone will be of no use to you. And on that note...

7. There's an app for that
A glimpse into my music tastes

Over the years this app has really taken shape. Rather than constantly flicking through your line-up booklet on your lanyard, you can select all of the artists you want to see and save it to a personalised line-up calendar. The app also does push notifications to remind you when your artists are on stage each day. My tactic is to select everyone I want to see, even if there's an overlap. It can help you narrow down who your absolute must sees are, or, who to see when you're wandering across the fields.

8. Where you camp is irrelevant
via glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

Glastonbury is a massive place. Regardless of where you camp, at some point you will have to do a massive schlep from John Peel to Shangri-La or something to that effect. Deal with it, this is what you signed up for. Unless you get there as soon as the gates open you're SOL for picking a 'prime location'.

9. Cash at Dawn

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Some places take card, but to save you and me time when trying to purchase goods, have cash on hand. Before you even get to Glasto, take a fair chunk of change out. Then, when you need to top up money, don't do it during the day. Remember those queue things? Yea. Loads of people. When is good? At stupid o'clock in the morning when the seagulls or pigeons or crows are snacking away at the Other stage. NO ONE will be there and you can get your money out in peace and quiet.

10. It's too damn hot!

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I bet you were so proud of your Argos pop up tent. No hassle, lightweight, cheap. That's cool, but you're gonna want to splurge out on a few space blankets. You know how humans aren't meant to work 9-5 in office jobs? Being out in nature...when the sun rises...will prove this point 10 times over. There are no trees to camp under and you WILL wake up in a pool of sweat and a weird smell from tent/human condensation.

11. The day isn't over after the headline at Pyramid


You just spent £230 to head back to your tent at 11? Wrong. Aside from the mass exodus and queues to get away from the Pyramid stage at the end, there will also be a herd of ravers heading to the South East for the banging nightlife experience. If you want to be a part of that, get there as quickly as you can as it starts to fill up and sometimes they don't let people through. If you don't want to be a part of that, head to some of the pubs in the Avalon area. They're nice and cheerful, quieter than the rest of the traffic and give you an excuse to stay up a little bit longer. And if you're like Goldilocks and want something in the middle, head over to the Park stage area for the best of both worlds.

12. Don't say no

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Glastonbury is all about the experience. Who cares who is headlining?! The festival is what you make of it. And if you don't find yourself doing anything you wouldn't do normally - you've missed a trick. Saying yes to experiences will open you up to a world of more tricks. You might even find the Rabbit Hole (I still haven't!!).

Have anything to add to this? Share your tips in the comments below.


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