What to do on your first ever Glastonbury Festival experience: 22 survival tips for a Glastonbury virgin

Glasto veterans gave us their advice for first timers.

Press Association
Last updated: 18 May 2018 - 9.21am

Whether it’ll be your first time at Glasto or your first festival altogether, these tips from Worthy Farm regulars will help you navigate the city of Bath-sized event without losing your tent and belongings to a mud swamp, and have a great time.

1. Arrive very early

Get there as early as possible.

If you don’t arrive on Wednesday or early on Thursday, you’ll struggle to find a camping space where your tent door won’t open directly on to someone else’s. It really is that packed. 

Festival goers arriving for the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset.
Look at that for a queue (Yui Mok/PA)

2. Camp on high ground

Especially important at Glasto where the site is in a valley and of course the mud is legendary.

3. Don’t camp anywhere near the toilets

Apart from the smell, the slamming doors will keep you awake all night and make sure you’re a safe distance from a fence or bush – people pee against them, or around them.

Probably on your tent if you’re too close. 

4. Pace yourself

Music starts at about 12 noon each day and there are tents open (mostly dance) all night. So don’t put pressure on yourself to be up and dressed and out watching bands at noon – you definitely won’t last the night.

Festival-goers watch the sunrise following the final day of the Glastonbury Festival 2013, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset
You’ll probably still be up at sunrise (Anthony Devlin/PA)

5. Be selective about the artists you see

Don’t kill yourself trying to see everything. It won’t happen. You just have to pick your key acts and resign yourself to the fact that you will have to see the bands before and after as well. 

6. Be a free spirit

You’re more likely to see the best gig of your life if you wander somewhere unplanned. Musicians and comedians rock up everywhere doing brilliant unannounced stuff.

7. If you're going to bring alcohol bring spirits

Cider and beer gets warm, so save your arms and don’t overdo how much you carry in. Concentrate your alcohol efforts on spirits and just buy cold pints there, which are a normal price anyway.

Festival goers enjoy the sunshine at Worthy Farm in Pilton ahead of the 2008 Glastonbury Festival in Somerset.
These guys have the right idea (Anthony Devlin/PA)

8. Watch out for the hot tubs

Expensive, and might be a nudist area. Check first if that’s not your thing.

9. Branch out

Don’t just stick to the Pyramid, Other, and John Peel stages.

The Park is awesome, as is Avalon and West Holts. Look for the secret spots too; the actual rabbit hole in the Rabbit Hole pub has a little stage in it, and even the Kids Field is worth a visit for the circus (and Stephen Hawking will be there this year).

10. Be prepared to walk

Glasto is massive. One end of the site to the other is roughly three miles, so be prepared for it to take at least 30 mins to get anywhere.

a view from the air of the 2007 Glastonbury festival
There’s some walking involved (Western Air Counties Operation/PA)

11. Beware the rain

Don’t assume that it will take huge amounts of rain to turn the site into the cliched mudbath.

There’s that much foot traffic that a 20-minute shower will soften the place up enough for it to get messy and you’ll be in wellies for the rest of the weekend whether it rains again or not.

Once there is mud, moving from one stage to another becomes a lot slower in crowds.

12. Ignore your FOMO

Don’t be disheartened if it sounds like others have seen more of the sights than you.

Again, it’s massive.

Glasto takes at least two/three visits to see most of it. The music is really only about 30% of the experience.

13. Eat

The food is one of the best parts of the whole festival. Avoid the obvious kebab vans and go hunting.

The Hari Krishna guys hand out free veggie curry (in exchange for chanting). The Tapas bar next to West Holts is incredible too.

Two men walk along the B3136 past queuing traffic as festival goers make their way to the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset.
Walking will probably be quicker (Anthony Devlin/PA)

14. Don’t try to drive on Monday morning

It’s a horror show. You’ll be sitting in the traffic coming out of the site for hours and hours. If you’re not booked on a bus, leave Sunday night or later on Monday.

15. Embrace Shangri-La

It is completely mental, and most of what you’ll see and experience will terrify you, but as set pieces go there are few more impressive sights at any festival.

16. Go to Arcadia

Make sure you go to a DJ set at the giant fire-breathing metal spider made entirely from recycled things. Ridiculous.

17. Pack sensibly

Assume that you will walk a long way with luggage.

Even if you’re getting the bus which drops you closer you’ll walk an hour to find a camp site and car parks are even further – maybe two hours’ walk – so make sure you can carry everything comfortably.

18. Bring sandwich bags

Take a sandwich bag to put your mobile in for when there is torrential rain and the rain gets everywhere, right to your bones.

19. Take a bike light

Take a flashing bike light to hold up at night so your friends can find you in a crowd. Bike lights also make good (and cheap) torches!

A member of the crowd lights a flare whilst watching US band Metallica perform at Glastonbury music festival, England, Saturday, June 28, 2014
Or perhaps a flare (Jonathan Short/AP/PA)

20. Attach your phone to your person to avoid losing it

Thousands of phones must be trodden into the mud at Worthy Farm every year so put a shoelace or ribbon through your phone case and tie securely to your bag or belt loop if it’s in your pocket. That way if it falls out when you’re dancing erratically at Arcadia, it’ll just dangle.

21. Leave spare clothes in the car

If you’re travelling by car take a spare set of clothes you can leave in it and wear in case all your belongings end up in a giant puddle.

22. Don’t even try to have a shower

Yes there are small numbers of showers but even if you go at 4am you’ll be queueing for at least an hour and you’ll be hurried through, in a naked line of people, probably a bit like prison. 

Festival goers watch Solange perform on the Park stage during the first performance day of the Glastonbury 2013 Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts at Pilton Farm, Somerset.
And enjoy! (Anthony Devlin/PA)

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