Glastonbury Festival 2017: The unofficial and complete survival guide
Bludsh0t, Far Out’s Glastonbury expert, has taken the time to explain to you in mind-boggling detail how to do Glastonbury without ending up passed out in a muddy ditch being urinated on by drunks dressed as Where’s Wally.
I’ve been to a few Glastonburies in my time, and I’ve spent a fair few days there puking uncontrollably, unable to leave my tent, so I’ve made this guide for you to learn from my mistakes and completely forget when you’re up to your knees in mud and up to your eyeballs on pills at 4am.
Pre festival preparation
Clashfinder is a great site for checking out which bands are playing when. Highlight all the acts you want to see in three colours; essential, very much, and maybe. The guides you often get at Glastonbury might not show all the smaller stages. Print at least 3 copies and give some to your mates ‘cos your taste in music is far better than the shite they’re into, and if it’s written down somewhere, they’re more likely to go with you.
You are going to need.
First up, what to pack. Pack light, we’re not going arctic exploring here, and you are never going to wear all those different t-shirts. The fact is, you’re unlikely to shower (I consider that cheating), which means taking seven pairs of pants really is pointless.
Sleeping bag: Get a lightweight one because they’re easier to carry, and cheaper, so if you vom on it you can chuck it out. If you get cold just put your jumper on. Something like this from Amazon
Seat: A lightweight, fold-up stool or seat. Although this may seem like unnecessary pain in the arse to carry, you are going to be so happy about it after three days of wading through mud with nowhere to sit. Trust me. Again, keep it cheap, so if it gets busted, you can chuck it. Something like this from Amazon
For a shelter like a gazebo, they can be good, but expect it to get trashed. Also, Glastonbury doesn’t like you bringing them in.
There isn’t much shade at Glastonbury, so a big golf or beach umbrella can really help come rain or shine. This is never ever to leave your campsite however. If you take it and stand at the front of the Pyramid stage, you are going to get beaten up. Something like this from Amazon
This isn’t proper camping; leave the cooking stove shit at home.
Essential: Rain coat, beanie hat x2, cap / fisherman’s hat, pants x4, socks x4, t-shirts x4, jeans, shorts, hoody, windbreaker top, trainers, small day bag, sunglasses, wellies (check weather forecast first) Optional: Extra pants, socks or t-shirts, tracky bottoms Nope: Matching fancy dress outfits, flip flops / sandals
Rain coat: This is the one thing you don’t want to go cheap on. Get a decent one that’s lightweight, warm and has good rain resistance. Light weight is important as you are going to be carrying this around with you a lot. Something like this from Amazon
Beanie hat: x2, ‘cos some idiot will definitely pull one off your head and lose it at some point over the weekend. But seriously, these things are life savers. Never leave the tent in the evening without one, even if it’s been blazing hot all day, it won’t be at night. Trust.
Pants, socks and T-shirts, x4: Even for a full five day festival, you’re unlikely to need more than four pairs. I know that sounds gross, but after Saturday night, no one gives a shit what you smell like, least of all you.
Legs: This is a bit more tricky and weather dependant, but I would say, if you arrive in jeans, take a lightweight pair of shorts, and maybe some thin tracksuit bottoms if it’s raining. That should be more than enough, even if your jeans get soaked, you’ve got the shorts as back-up. Remember to get garms with zip-up or sealable pockets if possible. Pockets are for winners at festivals.
Tops: One hoodie, one wind breaker. Wind breakers are good for everyday use as they dry out quickly if rained on and also have more pockets. If you can get one with zip pockets, that’s bonus points. Hoodie is good for night, lounging around your camp site and if the windbreaker gets fucked.
Shoes: This is weather dependant again, but you’re generally going to want wellies and one pair of comfy trainers. Try and keep the trainers dry as much as you can. Forget about flip flops or sandals. You are going to be doing a lot of walking , and these are just a straight up bad idea. There is going to be a lot of walking so you might want to consider comfy innersoles. Something like this from Amazon
Day bag: It’s essential your day bag is small and light, and it should be able to fold up and fit in a pocket once it’s empty. All you are going to need to put in it is a 750ml plastic bottle of booze, your rain jacket, anti-bac gel, flushable wet wipes, your clashfinder guide and a beanie hat. Money and phone go in your pocket. One of those drawstring bags you get when you buy trainers is acceptable for this, but you can get some great other bags cheap too. Something like this from Amazon
You are going for the basic again here but are going to want a few packs of flushable wet wipes. Some for cleaning your gross body when you’re in your tent, and you always want a pack on you for poops out and about. For the deodorant, this is one of the few times I’d recommend Lynx or equivalent. As we’re not showering, you just want to cover up your stank, you don’t want antiperspirant.
Essential: Pre-packaged sausage rolls / pasties, breakfast bars. Optional: Satsumas, pot noodle. Nope: Bananas, chocolate, anything that needs cooking
Keep this to a minimum. You’re generally going to want to take breakfast type food, and food that can be eaten when you’ve been up gurning all night. I like to take a couple of packs of sausage rolls, breakfast bars and some satsumas. Pot noodle can work as most cafe stalls will sell you some hot water for cheap, but don’t take too many as if they burst on route you’re going to smell like Bombay Bad Boy all weekend, and not in a good way. Forget about bananas. I know they help with a comedown, but that shit is going to be black mush in your tent after day one. No matter what you take, you are going to be eating lunch and dinner at stalls there, so don’t bother taking that stuff with you.
Essential: 2x 70cl sprits, 1 litre RedBull. 75cl water x2. Optional: 1 litre tomato juice, wine box (red). Nope: Any more than 4 cans of beer or cider. Mixers / soft drinks
Festivals don’t like glass bottles, so don’t even try to bother bringing these in. You are going to want to decant your sprits into plastic bottles.
For the spirits, I go for 70cl Vodka, which can then be mixed with a RedBull equivalent for a nighttime boost or tomato juice for an early cheapo morning bloody Mary pick-me-up. On top of this, get another spirit for straight drinking. I like a whisky or a nice rum as you can drink it straight or buy mixers from stores or bars.
Forget about anything more than a few beers. You see idiots wheeling crates of the shit in, but it just gets warm and rank. Not worth the effort.
Essential: 2 phones, cheap watch. Optional: Battery pack, more phones. Nope: tablet or laptop, portable speaker.
You need at least two phones or one phone and a good battery pack. You don’t want to have to queue up at the charging points, that ruins your buzz. A cheap watch is very useful too so you don’t have to keep turning on your phone to check the time. This is important when you’re not the allocated phone user for that day in your fireteam: we’ll talk more about fireteams later.
Battery life is a precious thing at Glastonbury. Stay off Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or what ever the fuck the kids are into these days. Upload that shit when you’re back. Avoid any news of the outside world at all costs, the outside world is irrelevant now. All that matters is having a good time, plus the outside world news is only ever depressing.
Get the phone guy in your fireteam to take photos if you must, you don’t all need to take photos of the same shit.
Taking your brand new £800 iPhone is not the best idea. Currently, you can get an old school Blackberry Curve for cheap as chips. These have decent battery life, whats app and a physical keyboard, which is quite useful when you’re trying to write a text message off your face at 3am.
Ebay is better than amazon for these phones. You can pick up a refurbished one for as little as £17!
As for battery packs, eurogamer.net did a great review of some recently and the one in the link bellow came out tops for light weight and portable. This one on Amazon
Drugs and paraphernalia.
Essential: Depends if you do recreational drugs. If you don’t then clearly you can skip this bit. Optional: 1/8th Weed, pills x6, poppers, tobacco, rizla x2, lighters x2. Nope: Coke, legal highs.
IMPORTANT!: Drugs are illegal at Glastonbury too, and there are police officers walking around site.
You don’t need drugs, which is why they’re not essential. But if you do want some, all you really need are a maximum of six pills and an eighth of weed for the whole five days. Always get your pills and weed before you go and only ever get your own supply. It’s very common for situations where you might get a load in for mates who suddenly say they can’t get them off you before you get in and you find yourself with 35 pills and an oz of weed in your bag walking through security. Not cool.
As always, test your pills with a tester kit before you leave so you know you’ve got safe ones. If you don’t have access to a testing kit at home, seek out the ones at the festival before you take anything. They’re usually to be found near the Healing Fields or entrances. Two pills per main night is plenty, remember you’ve got to do it all again tomorrow so pace yourself. You don’t want to buy drugs off anyone in there as they’re almost always shit. Possible exceptions to this may be mushrooms, hash cakes, poppers and noz. Poppers can be quite useful as a currency for trading cigs or spliffs off randoms, but if anyone recommends do a poppers bong, just say no. That shit is nasty.
Coke seems like it would be a good idea at a festival but it’s a logistical nightmare. Guaranteed to get sweaty and the bag split in your pocket. £50 not well spent.
Budget for about £40 per day
Surviving the festival.
How to get there:
Car: Driving is a good way to go but beware of horrendous traffic jams if you go the way your sat nav recommends. Like eight hour traffic jams, no joke. To beat these head for Yeovil and stick on the A303 until Podmore, then head up the A37. On no account should you try and drive through Shepton Mallet.
Train: They throw on a lot of extra services from Paddington during the Glastonbury days, and they’re a pretty good way to get there. Once you arrive at Castle Cary, a shuttle bus will pick you up and take you to site. These are fairly regular and don’t seem to get held up in much traffic.
Coach: Lots of people get coach tickets as part of the main ticket purchase. These are very hit and miss. Sometime they work great, and other times they really don’t. If you get a choice, I’d go for train over coach.
When to get there:
As early as possible! Getting a good camp spot is important and dude, you’re going to a festival, max your experience. Seriously though, the best camp spots go quick!
Bad weather: Michael’s Mead or Hitching ground. Good weather: Kidney Mead, Pennards Hill (halfway down on the right), Park home ground.
Avoid: Oxlyers (this is always a swamp), anything to the left of the Park.
If the weather is bad, camp high up on a hill. Simple. If it looks OK, you will want to be nearish the centre of the site and near a path, so you can find your tent when you’re off your nut a bit easier, but also about halfway up the field.
Never camp near to the front of the field. Even with a slight amount of rain these turn into swamps and you’re going to get a lot of noisy traffic. Also never camp anywhere near the toilets. Never.
Try and put your tents in a circle with the entrances facing each other so you create a natural communal area with your mates, but make the area small so no dickhead sticks his tent right in the middle of your hood.
Whats App is probably best, but remember, by day three other people might be on their cheap burners that don’t have it so old school text messages will have to take over from then. Due to the number of people there, sometimes data and text messages don’t get through for hours so don’t be afraid to make old school phone calls.
Once your tent is set up, it’s time to start drinking, checking your Clashfinders and splitting into your fireteams.
Ideally you don’t want to be in a group bigger than five people for most of the time. This is because any more than that becomes a logistical nightmare. Someone will always need a piss or want to go the the bar at any one point and you’ll get nowhere fast. Check your clash finder every morning with your pals and work out who has the most in common with your music tastes, and that’s your fireteam. In your fireteam, work out who’s the phone guy for that day. It’s their responsibility to have their phone on during the day and coordinate meet ups with other fireteams. The rest of you can have your phone off, but still have it with you in in case you get split up.
Next, you’ll want to head out into the yonder, but first you’ll need to get ready. Work out weather you plan on coming back to the camp before the evening shift, if not, pack your coat and beanie. Trust me, it gets cold at night. Pre-roll a few spliffs, mix some vodka Red Bull in one of your 75cl bottles, stick the stuff you’ll need for that day in your day bag. Leave the rest of your drugs in your tent as it’s too tempting to smash them all on the first night. Remember to pace yourself, you’ve got days of getting wasted ahead of you. Once all that’s done you’re ready to hit it!
The toilets at Glastonbury are legendary, or perhaps imfamous is a better word for them. Your best bets are avoiding the portaloo style toilets and hit the long drops. These are cleaner and won’t make you instantly puke because of the smell when you walk in there. Just don’t look down!
I know some people who have downed a load of Imodium to avoid shitting for the whole festival. This is NOT recommended! They had ‘issues’ for a few days after the festival too.
What to see.
Assuming you’ve got there on the Wednesday or Thursday, all the main shit won’t be open, but there are tons of bars and small tents that quite often play good live music and have some big names show up. Have a wonder around, get your bearings. Check out all the smaller stuff that’s going on. Trying to find a late night party on the first night isn’t that recommend as you can spend ages on a wild goose hunt without avail.
Once the festival starts proper, seeing chilled out music at one of the larger stages is a good idea to start the day and ease your self back into it. The West Holts stage often has some cool stuff on early on, but also stuff around the dance area and the glade can be quite chilled early on too.
Remember I said check the clashfinder and mark down all the stuff you want to see? Well in reality you are only going to be able to see about 10% of that stuff. Soz. Glastonbury is huge and it can easily take over an hour to walk from one side to the other. Don’t stress yourself out marching from one side to the other in the vain hope you might catch the last 10 minutes of that band that looked ok on Youtube a while back. You won’t make it and even if you do it’ll just annoy you that you missed the first 45 mins. Check the guide for stuff that’s local to you and see that. You’ll have a much better time. If there is stuff that you really must see, leave at least an hour before it starts to get there.
Generally speaking, the best things you’ll see at Glastonbury are always in random little tents you walk past and hear something rad coming from inside. Always check these out, these are often where you’ll make the best memories. Glastonbury really isn’t about the main stages.
As the evening approaches, try to start slacking off the big stages and hunt out the more alternative areas such as Shangri-la, Block 9 and Arcadia instead. These stages go on the latest, but don’t usually go much later than 3am. As the bigger stages finish around midnight, the crowds trying to get to these areas can become horrific. I’d strongly recommend heading there no later than 11pm so you can get in cos this is where the best parties happen.
Once you’ve maxed out your raving and it’s time to head back, make sure you fill up your empty booze bottle with water from one of the drinking taps and take it back to your tent. It’s never about being dehydrated as that makes your hangover ten times worse. When you get back to your tent, you’ll want to start chilling. Drinking some Berocca now will help you come down a bit and hydrate you, which can really take the edge off tomorrow.
The next morning.
You’ll wake up when the sun hits your tent and turns the temperature up to about 45°C. You’ll be in a sweaty daze not quite sure what happened last night, but it’s important to try and get up if you hear your mates up. Sitting or laying outside is guaranteed to make you feel better than trying to sleep for an extra hour in your sweaty stinking tent.
Brushing your teeth will make you feel better, and you probably forgot to do it last night, so do that.
Have some of that food you brought with you. Even if you’re really not hungry it will help. Wash it down with some more Berocca, and once that’s down you might consider a Bloody Mary to help return you to the living.
Then repeat everything you did yesterday! Done!
So it’s all over. You’ve made some memories and they’ve promptly been erased by the booze, and if you’ve followed this guide, you’ve probably had some of the best times of your life, but all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for you, leaving Glastonbury can be a terrible experience, and not just because of your 5 day hangover.
Coach: If you are leaving by coach, you should have a time you need to be at the pick up point, but be prepared, these can be wildly off schedule. Make sure you take enough water. The crowds and confusion here can also be overwhelming. Sometimes it’s fine just to get on any bus as long as it’s going in the general direction of your home town. You just need to get the hell out of there.
Train: The best time to get out of there if you’re traveling by train is 6am on the Monday morning. And that means being at the shuttle bus pick up at 6am. I know that sounds nasty but this is when the regular shuttle buses start to run, and you can expect a wait of about an hour-ish at the train station, which is actually a good waiting time in relation to leaving any later.
Car: Contrary to other advice or logic, if you are driving back, leave as late as possible. If you leave before 5pm on Monday, the traffic is mind-crushingly bad. Also the later you leave it, the more time you have to recover from your hangover, which can only be a good thing. There are usually cafes still open at Glastonbury until quite late on the Monday.
So there you have it, your full ‘how to’ Glastonbury guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and find it useful. Remember to share and leave comments if there’s anything I’ve left out. The most important thing to remember when you’re at Glastonbury is that you are in the best place in the whole world at that point in time, you lucky bastard.
Remember, leave no trace. Some poor bastard has to pick that shit up when you’ve gone home.