Far Out will be back on site at the world famous Glastonbury Festival from tomorrow and frankly the buzz of anticipation is beginning to reach fever pitch.
Whether you are a lucky ticket holder or not, it may well seem like all the talk in the run-up to the event has been focused on the headliners… Dave Grohl’s broken leg, the speculation over what ridiculous stunt Kanye West might pull, questions over whether Florence can really top the bill.
But to be brutally honest, here at Far Out we couldn’t care less about any of those things. There is a world beyond the Pyramid stage that sprawls as far as the eye can see – and we intend to explore it.
We’re not saying boycott the main stages all together. When Motorhead arrive to hurtle their way through what will surely be an enthralling set on Friday evening, with the backdrop of Glastonbury Tor behind the Pyramid, it will be a magical moment.
But those who set up their camping chairs in the main field and stay put are truly missing out. So here is our guide to some of Glastonbury’s trademark delights that are found a little further from the beaten track.
The Stone Circle
In a way this is the heart of Glastonbury Festival. It provides a picturesque vista of the whole site and plays host to one hell of a party once the early hours arrive. Although it doesn’t house a specific stage, there is no world-conquering headliner who can offer a comparable experience to watching the sun come up at The Stone Circle, as the head-sore stragglers from the night before try to piece events back together.
This beat-heavy woodland area became such an iconic part of Glastonbury that it spawned a sister festival all of its own, but its real home will always be at Worthy Farm.
Nestled in between the West Holts and the Other Stage, it provides an encapsulating setting for some of the electronic world’s most celebrated names to take to the decks and rocket old skool ravers high into the night sky.
This plays host to the hugely popular Avalon Stage. With a soothing folk-led vibe and a bill that boasts a healthy combination of old and new, this is a way to enjoy the festival away from the packed-out mayhem in an area that pays homage to the rich history of Glastonbury as a resting place for nomads.
This year you can take a trip to the Avalon Stage and catch sets by the likes of I Am Kloot, King Creosote and, wait for it… Lulu.
Proving the unrivalled vibrancy that Glastonbury has to offer, sat adjacent to the Field of Avalon is Shangri-La – a late night hub of hedonism that welcomes the weird, wonderful and downright wired until well after the sun has come up.
Don’t arrive at Shangri-La – or any of its neighbours like Block 9 or the Unfair Ground – with an itinerary, simply wander. Chances are you’ll catch a few big name acts moonlighting unannounced, but the main draw is having free reign of the drag clubs, guerrilla sound systems and costumed lunatics that bring the party within. Prepare to go the distance.
The Left Field
Here lies the political conscience of Glastonbury – an area that has established itself as a place for debate, rallying, solidarity, and of course some memorable musical moments.
Residents include Billy Bragg and Specials man Neville Staples, but if there is one immortal ambassador for the Leftfield it has to be late Labour MP Tony Benn.
This year expect rabble-rousing sets from headliners including Buzzcocks, Enter Shikari and Bragg himself.
Healing Fields and Green Futures
After a heavy night, it’s not surprising many a Glasto-goer needs a bit of solace when the next day arrives. For an area that brings down the tempo, soothes the soul and just generally makes you feel human again, take a relaxing stroll around the small-scale stages, massage & herbal remedy stalls, and craft workshops of the least commercial corner of the site.
This is the new name for Glastonbury’s iconic Dance Village, the area of the site that has been a mecca for pilled-up partiers for decades. What’s more, it seems to be showing no evidence of slowing up.
This year the likes of Leftfield, Four Tet, Grandmaster Flash, Tricky and Far Out favourite Kate Tempest will be treating thrill-seekers to what feels like a whole different festival of its own.
Theatre, Circus & Cabaret
It’s not just about the music you know. The east side of the site plays host to a thriving arena of top-notch comedy, poetry, jaw-dropping trapeze artists, alluring late-night burlesque and an exciting feeling that absolutely anything could be around the next corner. There’s a whole tent devoted to juggling, you know?
So there you have it, a guide to some of the most celebrated areas of the Glastonbury site that you might not see too much of on the BBC’s television coverage. One thing’s for sure, however, it is these fixtures with their vibrancy, uniqueness and unrivalled magic that make this festival what it is… The biggest party on the planet.