The festival season is finally upon us. Some of you, lucky bastards, are polishing your wellies and counting down the days.
Glastonbury is just over a month away.
I envy those of you who got their hands on the precious tickets. I will miss the music, the excitement, drinking, partying until dawn. I will miss the smelly toilets and even, to some extent, I will miss the mud.
There are a couple of words I could describe the festival with: amazing, huge, surprising, crazy, dirty...I could go on and on, but there's no point. Let me take you through some of the preparations and survival tips I learned during the two times I went.
Food and drinks
They say on the website that you don't need to bring your own. Well, that is only if you can afford to buy a small toast for over a fiver. At the festival everything, everywhere costs almost the same, so don't fool yourself and go around like crazy looking for a bargain. If you think about it, the food is not that expensive, but there are usually small portions of it. I found that the least affordable meal is breakfast, so I took quite a lot of bread and some canned pate and meat so I could have a good first meal of the day.
A good idea is also to take a small grill and some meat to put it on.
Buy either cool bags or portable fridges to store your food in.
If you're planning to have a boozy night then taking your own alcohol is also a good idea. Remember that you mustn't take any glass into the festival area. Cans are ok though.
|Cool down after a really hot day|
Pack light. Check the weather first. Take a pair of long trousers, a pair of shorts (if it looks like it's going to be sunny), some t-shirts, underwear and socks. Wellies are a must! Don't forget your waterproofs and sun cream.
Planning where to go
A couple of days before the organisers publish the schedule for the festival, so you can check who plays where. Unfortunately, you will find that there will be a lot of clashes and you will have to choose one of your favorite band over the other.
The area of the festival is huge so, if you want to see your idols up close, you need to estimate that you will need to start moving to get to the right stage at least 45 minutes before (it takes longer if it rains because of the mud). It is a good idea to come to the gig before the previous band finish playing, and then start moving forwards when the crowd disperse. There will be a lot of standing and waiting.
|Pyramid Stage before the craziness starts|
Where to put up a tent
You can find some information on the ups and downs of some of the fields on the Glastonbury Festival website. Some people prefer to pitch the tents next to the stages or, for an unknown reason, next to the toilets. I can recommend the new fields, which are just a little bit to the right from the entrance. They are pretty close to the Dancing Fields, but stay relatively quiet and safe.
Toilets and showers
You can smell them from miles away and they are not the cleanest. The portable loos are ok, but wear shoes before you go in. There are also the ecological toilets, which smell so bad that people heave when they pass them. Just breathe through your mouth!
There are showers available, but the queue is long and there's no hot water. Two years ago the organisers introduced a scheme, which allowed you to use the showers provided to cyclists if you had taken a bus to the festival. Surprisingly, not many people used them as they were located quite far.
If you're not that fussed about having a shower every day, just bring some baby wipes with you. During the hot weather you can take a quick splash at one of the taps.
|I am was pretty happy with not taking shower for 3 days yuk!|
The festival is safe. There are a number of security guards around, cctv and some very high fences to scare away the thieves and those, who want to sneak in.
However, don't take valuables with you, and if you do, don't leave them in the tent.
Excessive drinking or taking drugs is not a good idea. The festival is huge and you are likely to get lost. Have fun, but don't overdo it.
|A few people here and there...|
That's the first thing that comes to mind if you think about Glastonbury. If you haven't been to the festival yet you don't know much about mud. If it rains the whole area is flooded with this stinky, grey thing that wants to suck you in. If you want to save money and buy cheap wellies - don't. You will find that they will break straight away as soon as you walk 2 miles.
If it's sunny the mud dries out very quickly.
|Walking through the mud can make you really tired|
|Fancy a mud bath|
And here are my 3 favorite things about the festival:
Discovering the weird and wonderful of the Shangri - La, Arcadia and Block 9 fields:
These fields will surprise and you will see here things you have never seen before. There are quizzes and competitions during the day, along with some funky concerts. During the night the fields turn into cities and you can discover them by simply wandering around and going into the bars and shops. There is also a hotel, which is a night club, and a night club, which is a massage parlor.
|Fun and games in the Shangri La Field|
|Arcadia Field at night - sorry for a blurry image|
Every day of the festival people come to Sacred Space Field to watch the sunrise. There are fires, guitar playing, singing, drinking and dancing. It is one of those experiences when you think 'wow! Life is wonderful'.
|Sun rising over Glastonbury|
|Tired but happy at 7:00 am; on my way from the Sacred Place Field|
Music, of course
I almost forgot why I actually went to the festival. The music experience it's one of its kind. The price of the ticket might seem expensive, but you will never have another chance to see so many starts in one place. My favorite performance was by Muse - it was magical - but Faithless, Kelis, Orbital and Fatboy Slim were also great.
|Kelis at her best|
Meeting odd but nice people
Pictures say it for themselves.
|I should buy one of these, too!|
|A true wonderland|