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Back To Basics at Worthy Farm
With Glastonbury just a month away, if you are going for the first time, you may have some concerns and worries, I know I did. Here are some top tips to get you through. It really is not a bad as some people make out, it took me 6 years to get the courage to go, and I so wish I had done it sooner.
Don't Over Pack - There is an urge to take as many creature comforts as possible, to make up for the lack of facilities for 4/5 days. But I can assure you that the journey on foot both in and out is truly unpleasant and quite a walk from the car to the camp site so keep to a minimum, pack lightweight and really think about what you need and how to carry stuff. Remember pretty much everything can be bought on site, blankets, wellies, waterproofs etc, so think about what you need and can carry realistically. I queued for 4 hours in the rain, with a heavy backpack, tent and other bags on the way into the festival, and believe me I soon realised that so much could have been left at home.
Don't Take Food - This helps to reduce what you take. I took pot noodles, crisps and other snacks because I thought they would save me money but there are so many food and drink stalls and eating places on site which offer everything from the greasy to the healthy option and they really are not expensive. I threw most of my food away at the end, as I just didn't need it, so although not really heavy I could have bought other more useful items.
Don't Be Afraid of The Loos - I have been to a number of festivals and Glastonbury toilet facilities are by far the best, seriously! There are so many toilets, everywhere, I didn't once queue in the 5 days and they are cleaned every morning. Yes it's not nice or the comfort of home, but just pack tissues and wet wipes and you will be surprised that it isn't the horror story you may have heard. A note if you are arriving to the festival late, where possible do not camp by the toilets, it gets quite muddy and gross from all the people passing by, you may start off thinking convenience but that will wear off.
Essentials - Wet wipes, wellies, wellie socks, sunglasses, umbrella, waterproofs, sun cream, antiseptic gel, hoodie, hat, loo roll and flash light are the must have items. It gets freezing at night, regardless of if it's a heat wave in the day, so jumpers, hats and blankets are a must. The flashlight is key as it is really dark at night, so you will need it to find your way.
Map Out The Campsite - When you have pitched your temporary home, make sure you map out your area by using landmarks, colours, signs or whatever you can find to help you find your way in the dark. Believe me, it may look easy to find but when the light goes and you have to find your way through a sea of endless tents with wires all over the place, what looked like a clear easy route to the main pathway will soon look like a scary obstacle course. I went for a walk in the light thinking i totally could navigate my way back, when I headed back in the dark I truly couldn't find my way. I was only a few metres from where my tent was but everywhere looked the same, so once I was back, I soon mapped out a clear route using landmarks so it didn't happen again.
Leave Valuables - Although glastonbury has a chilled friendly vibe and crime is pretty low, you don't want to tempt fate, so leave all cards, gadgets and any valuables at home. You don't get great reception anyway, so except for finding people (which everyone is trying to do with what little coverage there is), it is a great opportunity to go offline and just carry basic essentials. Take cash, but spread it around throughout your belongings so, if in the unlikely case of you losing your wallet, you have spare money.
Key Meeting Points - As phone reception is pretty bad you don't want to rely on it too much, so try to arrange meeting points at each stage or key location, and set key times (or bands) to all meet up. It's great to have a base at each stage in case your phone doesn't work or you get lost in the crowds. We had number of places and set times laid out on the first day which really helped to always meet up at key points. If you are in a big group, everyone has different tastes so people tend to split up, but it's great to have the opportunity to be all together and soak up the atmosphere.
Weather - No amount of 10 or 15 day forecasts can help you with the weather. It is going to rain and be sunny and be hot and freezing, so just prepare and accept that both will happen. Ensure you have essentials to help and cope with both and just go with whatever nature throws at you. I was worried, but it is more important to just have a great time and enjoy yourself, and there really is nothing you can do. If it does rain and get muddy, then be aware everything you own will get muddy too, so leave favourite or expensive clothes behind.
See Everything - One of the things I enjoyed most about Glastonbury was discovering new bands and artists. The artists I enjoyed most were people I hadn't planned on seeing or even knew much about. Head to the places and stages to see people you have never heard of and when you go to see someone you love, go early to catch the person before and stay for the one after. That way you get to see as many people as possible, Glastonbury isn't cheap so get your money's worth and come away with a diverse checklist. That way when you get asked "who did you see" you can reel off a list to impress, and you can discover a new favourite that you can say "I first saw them at Glastonbury". Make a playlist when you get home, and reminisce and remember.
Book A Treat - The best idea my mate has ever had, we decided to book a night in a local spa hotel around 15 minutes from the campsite for the day we left. I can honestly say this was the most awesome indulgent that I have ever done. Where as some of the people we were with had a 6 hour drive home (cramped, dirty and tired) we had a 15 minute drive to a beautiful hotel with a 4 poster bed, hot shower, pool, spa, sauna and treatments galore. After roughing it for 5 days it was utter bliss.