Glastonbury Festival: things I would tell my young, unaware self

Bright eyed, fresh faced and giddy with excitement, on the last Wednesday of June I left my tiny student room with a rucksack three times my size to sleep in a field for 5 days with 175 000 other people.  That’s right, I went to Glastonbury.

Being my first Glastonbury (“whaaat?! – I hear you cry – I’ve been for the last 80 years!!!”) I had read every “what to pack” and “what to think” and “what to be” guide and checklist under the sun, and felt pretty pleased with myself. I felt I was ready.Fast-forward five days and my legs are about to fall off, I look as red as my nail varnish and I am the definition of fragile. Glastonbury is a weird and wonderful place and without a doubt the most amazing festival there is – but if I were to do it again, there’s a few things I would have told myself as a Glastonbury virgin.

Never underestimate the power of a good wellie
Feet will stay dry and legs will stay warm, allowing you to last from dawn until dusk through concerts, raves, rain and mud. Mud will become a source of pure childish joy as you squelch through it in your kaki sky-high boots to make your way to your next gig.

A disposable camera will not always guarantee 24 edgy vintage photos
When excitedly running home after collecting my developed photos from Boots today I was met with roughly 15 photos which were pitch black, out of focus, featuring half a stage or half of my face. Disposables are great and can produce some wonderful printed memories, but it won’t always turn out perfectly, so be prepared. Spontaneity is great, but looking at what you’re actually snapping instead of pointing the camera randomly in the air (yep, been there) is better.

Be prepared to not stick to your schedule
There are so many different things going on at Glastonbury, heartbreaking clashes and constantly something better happening somewhere else, but making a schedule with no breaks will not allow you to see 35 bands in the weekend as you will collapse after one day of not eating or taking a break at all.  Factor in time for food, getting changed, and just being able to wander freely – the best surprises will come from the unplanned. Plan your acts, but also plan your breaks.

Don’t be afraid to try everything
No, I don’t mean drugs. And I’m not talking about NOS either. Go and see new bands, explore the theatre and circus areas, take part in a ceramic workshop or learn how to give proper massages. There are hundreds of different activities and areas which go way past the Pyramid stage. There’s also over 300 food stalls with everything ranging from maki wraps to fish finger sandwiches, so don’t be afraid to branch out!

Bring conversation starters
When packing your bags, remember all the essentials like painkillers, suncream, antibacterial gel because you will need all of these things. On top of lifesavers, try bringing extravagant clothing, special body jewellery or make up, a pack of cards or a string of fairy lights to wrap around your crutches (oh yes, I saw that). Everyone will be looking weird and wonderful, and it’s a great way to make friends with your campsite neighbours by offering them to share your bag of marshmallows or to start a conversation with someone about how edgy your sunglasses are while waiting for an act.

Embrace it
Glastonbury is only 5 days a year, and while it’s vital to remember all the essentials, plan, pack and be careful, the best tip I could give my past self and anyone in the future going is to fully embrace it – wear more glitter than acceptable, don’t feel the need to have straight hair and sing as loudly as you can, even if the person next you can definitely hear it. No year is the same, and the memories you will make here will last you a lifetime.

Originally published on Into the Fold

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