Really useful Glastonbury tips from festival veterans

24 June 2019, 14:59 | Updated: 24 June 2019, 15:17

Festival Goers Enjoy Glastonbury
Festival Goers Enjoy Glastonbury. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Setting off for the biggest festival in the UK can be a confusing, intimidating affair. Have you got everything you need? What should you look out for?

Don't panic. Radio X has had years of experience travelling to Worthy Farm. Here's some tried and tested advice.

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  1. What should I take to Glastonbury?

    Don’t take unnecessary items: but do you really need to drag that spare gazebo all that way? Make sure you have all your camping stuff packed in advance: guy ropes, ground sheet, the lot. Take a mallet, that ground is HARD! And don’t forget to pack your tickets, obvs.

    Don't forget the mallet
    Don't forget the mallet. Picture: Radio X

    The most important rule of all is: don’t take anything you’re not prepare to lose or damage in some way. There are property lock-ups, but this is a festival, remember, not a city break.

  2. Can I take alcohol to Glastonbury?

    Yes, you can take booze onto the site, but check the rules - if you take too many slabs of cans, the organisers may think you are trying to sell them on and could confiscate your haul.

    Glastonbury 2011: a whole stack of beer
    Glastonbury 2011: a whole stack of beer. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images
  3. How much money should I take to Glastonbury?

    Glasto assures us that 20 of the major bars will have credit or debit card payments accepted, but don’t forget the joy and reliability of cold, hard cash. There are ATMs on site, but queuing for them can waste a valuable chunk of your weekend if they get busy - and some will also charge you for withdrawal.

    Festival goers queue for the ATMs at Glastonbury 2008
    Festival goers queue for the ATMs at Glastonbury 2008. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/PA Images

    Take what you money you will need, but beware of spending cash on crap - do you really need to buy that sombrero? Wouldn’t food be a better purchase? And don’t keep all your money in the same place, just in case you lose your wallet/bumbag.

  4. What should I wear at Glastonbury?

    This is Britain in the summer, remember, so anything can happen. Make sure you have a decent pair of boots (wellies or hiking): aside from the mud, you’ll be doing a lot of walking.

    The secret to staying snug at Glastonbury
    The secret to staying snug at Glastonbury. Picture: Radio X

    If it’s not wet, it could get hot: take some sunblock if you burn easily, there’s precious little cover if it gets very sunny - and it has in recent years. Even if it’s fine in the daytime, the clear skies will mean it gets chilly at night! Layers are your friend.

  5. What time should I aim to get on site at Glastonbury?

    Try and get on site as early as you can. Gates open at 8am on Wednesday morning (26 June), but the car parks open Tuesday night at 9pm. The earlier you are, the better spot you can bag. Don’t fret if you arrive later, though - just be prepared to walk further to your campsite.

    Glastonbury arrivals, 2017: "Did I lock the front door before we left?"
    Glastonbury arrivals, 2017: "Did I lock the front door before we left?". Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
  6. Where should I camp at Glastonbury?

    Don’t camp at the bottom of a hill (you can imagine what happens if the rain starts to fall), and be careful you don’t camp too near the Gabba Revival All-Nighter Tent if you want to get some kip.

    Glastonbury tents in 2008: ours is the blue one.
    Glastonbury tents in 2008: ours is the blue one. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

    Remember where you’ve pitched your tent and its relation to the festival site. Find a decent landmark: a path, a toilet block, a group of gurning idiots, anything that will be familiar to you when you’re staggering back to your crib at a million o’clock in the morning. Putting a England/Scotland/Wales flag on top of your tent won’t cut it - EVERYONE does that.

  7. Can I charge my phone at Glastonbury?

    Your iPhone X may be great, but chances are it will run out of battery at some point. Charging your device is getting easier with each passing year, but it’s always best to not rely on tech too much while you’re on site.

    Should you take old skool tech to a festival?
    Should you take old skool tech to a festival? Picture: Radio X

    Arrange to meet your friends by a distinctive meeting point at a particular time: in the changeover between bands, for example. Texting or calling them may not work - everyone else will have the same idea and the networks will buckle under the strain, whatever they say about the “improved service this year” (5G. anyone?).

  8. What should I try and see at Glastonbury?

    The Glastonbury Clashfinder is a beautiful creation, but it’s important not to become a slave to the stage times. You should expect to see but a fraction of the artists you want to see.

    Try going for a wander and see what you find: take in some comedy, spoken word, theatre, circus performances, all kinds of craziness. Have a massage, chill out in the Green Fields, go and see some jazz. But accept that Glastonbury is HUGE and you won’t possibly ever see it all in one weekend. That is its beauty.

    Someone gets over a big night at Glastonbury 2009.
    Someone gets over a big night at Glastonbury 2009. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
  9. What can I eat at Glastonbury?

    Pretty much every type of food you can imagine is available at Glastonbury. You may think you can cope on fresh air, warm cans of bitter and vodka jellies for five days, but realistically you will need to chow down to give yourself some energy.

    Glastonbury is full of amazing food stalls, get to know them! If you have special food requirements - ask and see what’s available. And if it's going to be a hot one, keep hydrated otherwise you could come a cropper.

    Wise words. Very wise words.
    Wise words. Very wise words. Picture: Radio X
  10. Are the Glastonbury toilets as bad as everyone says they are?

    The much-maligned Glastonbury latrine has been the stuff of dark legend, but don’t be afraid. Our advice: use the lavs that aren’t by a major stage or thoroughfare. They will be less busy and not as full of other people’s effluence.

    "I think this one is alri- OH MY GOD I HAVE SEEN A GLIMPSE OF HELL ITSELF"
    "I think this one is alri- OH MY GOD I HAVE SEEN A GLIMPSE OF HELL ITSELF". Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images

    Keep an eye out for the cleaning trucks and get ready to unleash your business right after they’ve finished. Try the long drops - they’re in the open air, sure, but in many ways they’re more hygienic than the cramped plastic booths. JUST DON’T LOOK DOWN, WHATEVER YOU DO.

  11. Can I do Glastonbury festival ethically?

    Of course you can - Glastonbury has been spearheading responsible festival-going for decades. Weeing in a bush may be as nature intended, but you can get the whole festival in trouble as the Whitelake river can be polluted if everyone has an alfresco wazz at some point and your micturations make their way into the water.

    The detritus left behind at the Pyramid Stage in 2015. This doesn't need to happen.
    The detritus left behind at the Pyramid Stage in 2015. This doesn't need to happen. Picture: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

    Take your tent home, it’s been good to you, use it again. Ditto your wellies. Don’t leave the farm in a state.

    Greenpeace has some very good tips for Glastonbury-goers.

  12. Can I go crazy at Glastonbury?

    Everyone wants to have a lovely time, so think on. You’re at Glastonbury, this is part of history. If you overdo it on beer or cheap wine and spend the weekend puking, what stories will you have to tell? Do you want your main memory of the festival to be a load of aggravation with other people, or the inside of the medical tent?

    Someone won't be enjoying the hits of The Killers tonight.
    Someone won't be enjoying the hits of The Killers tonight. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images

    Drugs are ILLEGAL on the Glastonbury site and the usual laws apply, so don’t get arrested before you’ve even pitched your tent - the police will be conducting searches!

  13. What do I do if I get lost at Glastonbury?

    DON’T PANIC. It’s big, it’s noisy, it’s intimidating, but Glastonbury festival is like no other festival in the world. It’s just like learning to swim: don’t flounder, just let Glastonbury hold you afloat with its unique style. If you lose your friends, just make some new ones. Your pals will be turn up soon. They always do.

    "Festival enjoyed by all": the Pyramid Stage crowd in 2017
    "Festival enjoyed by all": the Pyramid Stage crowd in 2017. Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images