Heading to Glastonbury 2022? Lucky you.
While you’re destined for several days of lengthy toilet queues, sweaty tents and nary a shower’s scrub, you and around 200,000 other punters are going to have the time of your lives.
That is, if you prepare accordingly.
Plonking yourself in the middle of Worthy Farm’s sprawling fields for four days is no mean feat and requires a real hard think about what to pack, what to plan and how to best prepare.
Lucky for you, festival regular John Lewis has put together these here 12 expert hacks to improve your Glastonbury experience.
It’s not about the Pyramid Stage…
The Pyramid Stage is the festival’s centrepoint, and of course we’ll want to see the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish and Diana Ross putting on incredible shows this year.
But don’t forget that Glastonbury is home to more than a dozen other huge stages – the Other Stage, the Park, West Holts, the John Peel Tent, William’s Green, the Common, Field of Avalon, the Acoustic Stage, the Glade Area , Left Field, BBC Music Introducing, GlastoLatino and so on – some of which are as big as the main stages at many other festivals.
And that’s not to mention the vast clubbing spaces, or the dozens or the much smaller stages and bandstands in far-flung parts of the site where you’ll find singer-songwriters, jazz troupes, folk duos and much more.
In fact, it’s not about the music at all…
Despite this being a feast of live music, you can literally have a tremendous five days at Glastonbury without seeing a single musical act.
Don’t forget to spend plenty of time in the Circus and Theater fields, at the Comedy tent, the Greenpeace field, in the Healing Fields, Sacred Space, the Green Fields, the Tipi Fields and more. And, if you’re bringing children, the Kidzfield is a must.
The party begins when the main stages close…
The Pyramid Stage and the other main music stages all finish before midnight, just as the clubbing areas of the site are getting underway.
It’s when the emphasis switches towards the south-east corner (where you’ll find Shangri-La, Block 9, the Unfairground, Iicon and more) and the other late-night clubbing areas including the Silver Hayes, Arcadia, Cineramaggedon, San Remo and The Beat Hotel.
There’s also lots going on around the bucolic Park areas to the south of the site, like Strummerville, the Ribbon Tower, the Stonebridge Bar and the Crow’s Nest. Remember that the clubbing areas are all quite mellow and pleasant during the day, and well worth exploring.
You’ll see big acts playing surprisingly small spaces
In recent years you’ll have witnessed Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals playing an acoustic session at the Crow’s Nest at midnight, Fatboy Slim playing any number of small dance tents, Hawkwind playing an acoustic set in the Green Fields, Bananarama in the relatively compact Avalon Stage, Charli XCX on a small Silver Hayes stage or the snooker legend Steve Davis playing psychedelic techno in the tiny Stonebridge Bar.
You’ll usually only discover these by chance.
Don’t be afraid to get lost
Going off the beaten track is often the best way to explore Glastonbury.
It’s where you’ll find yourself discovering the infamous Underground Piano Bar (a stage buried into a hillside near the Green Fields, serving home-brewed whisky), or taking part in a “laughter workshop” in the Green Fields, or talking to a 70-year-old Druid who gave birth while seeing Hawkwind playing Stonehenge in 1984, or seeing prominent celebrities and politicians being interviewed in the Greenpeace Tent, or interacting with any of the hilarious ‘walkabout’ acts on the circus field, or watching a troupe of Tanzanian acrobats in the circus tent, or seeing an American slam poet in full flight as you stumble into the Poetry & Words tent, or chancing upon circus performers doing a late-night punk-rock version of Cinderella on motorbikes.
Be prepared for all weather
Make sure you’re prepared for all potentialities – from torrential rain to blistering sunshine and all points in between.
Take wellies or boots, shades, sun-hat, a waterproof, sun block, antihistamine tablets and bug repellent.
The forecast is quite good for the start of this year’s festival, but even a small amount of rain can render parts of the site treacherously muddy. The Wood is a lovely shaded place for when it gets too hot.
Don’t forget the essentials
Toilet roll, flushable wet wipes, hand sanitiser (you can rarely wash your hands after using the loo), toothbrush, toothpaste, pain killers (for headaches or hangovers), a refillable water bottle (there are water stations everywhere) and earplugs for sleeping (no matter where you camp, the festival is rarely quiet at night).
A small satchel, bumbag or backpack is highly recommended.
Phones can be a nightmare
5G coverage around the site is very good, but modern smartphones have a notoriously short battery life. Switch yours to battery-saving mode each morning, use it as little as possible, and bring as many (fully charged) portable battery chargers as you can. (There are charging points around the site, but there are usually very long queues.)
If you need to constantly keep in touch with friends from all points of the site, it might be an idea to get an old-school Nokia brick which can last five days on full charge.
Don’t be afraid to fly alone
It’s great to hang around with your mates, but this can often encourage inertia — a gang of six can easily spend nine hours just sitting in the Stone Circle, or in front of the same Vietnamese food stall in the Silver Hayes, unable to agree on where to move onto.
A smaller group might be more agile, enjoying much more of the festival. Best of all is flying solo – there is no shortage of people to meet and talk to.
Be strategic about who to see
Download the Glastonbury app, or buy a program — both will give you a detailed list of who is playing where, right down to some of the smallest stages on-site.
Work out what your priorities are and anchor your days around what you really want to see, but get a feel for which parts of the site are near each other — the Pyramid Stage isn’t far from Left Field, for instance, but Block 9 is on the opposite side of the site from the John Peel tent (that’s about a 45 minute walk, even before you take crowds into account).
Celebrity Glastonbury tips:
Fat Boy Slim
I’ve started enjoying Glastonbury a lot more since I’ve been sober. So many crazy things happen there that you can be tempted to put it down to be being off your face. It’s only since I’ve stopped drinking that I’ve realized quite how amazing it is. Yes, you really did come across a door in the middle of the field that people were knocking on and waiting to enter, or people on stilts playing Kanye West songs on kazoos, or whatever.
My best Glastonbury moments have come where I try to make myself unrecognizable (it usually just takes a hat and a pair of shades) and explore. There’s so much amazing stuff around the fringes of the site. You really don’t have to see any bands to have a good time.
As someone who grew up camping and going on long rambles with my parents, I love the sensitive nerdy side of festival life. I’m good with tents and walking boots and all that stuff. I love the weird mix of hedonism and practicality.
If you’re wearing a FitBit, be prepared to record some pretty impressive step counts (you might also be surprised at how much weight you can lose).
Don’t be a dick
There are reasons why the site bans glass (broken glass is hard to detect and can seriously harm the cattle who will be back grazing there in a few weeks’ time) and why you’re not allowed to piss in the bushes (it can poison the streams and have a disastrous effect on the ecology).
But also try and obey the basics – try not to use plastics, use the rubbish bins, keep your hands clean, try not to be noisy at night, and treat people with respect.
Enjoy an early-morning wander
At 6am, while thousands of punters are stumbling back from raving at Block 9 or the Unfairground, hundreds more will be delivering food for the on-site market where Glastonbury’s 400-plus stall holders buy their produce.
You realize what a titanic logistical enterprise this is — a small city of 200,000 people who all require feeding and watering.
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