It can’t really be that time again, can it? It seems like the mud has only just dried on our boots since the Stones put on their mind-blowing set at last year’s Glastonbury Festival. But yes, we’ve checked the calendar and Glastonbury 2014 is just around the corner.
This year the world’s biggest green-field music festival promises to be as amazing as ever with bands including Metallica, Manic Street Preachers, Massive Attack and MGMT – and that’s just a few of the Ms!
So in this year’s PAAM Volunteer Software Glastonbury Festival blog we’ve decided to put our efforts towards a more overall guide to the great musical extravaganza that is Glastonbury!
Green Glastonbury Travel
For the past decade, Glastonbury organisers have been championing a reduction in visitors’ carbon footprints. As usual, anyone choosing to arrive by public transport will automatically become a Glastonbury Festival Green Traveller, meaning discounts on merchandise and meals as well as the chance to walk away with a prize!
Let the train take the Glastonbury strain
First Great Western will be laying on extra services and extended trains to Castle Cary station during the festival. Check out the website for details www.firstgreatwestern.com
Glastonbury ticket holders will then be able to jump on a free shuttle bus that will take them from the station to Pedestrian Gate A.
Or get on a coach
Once again Glastonbury has partnered with National Express to allow festival-goers to travel from more than 70 locations around the country right to the festival gates.
Did you know that travelling by coach produces around five times less CO2 than driving a car? Now you do! Check out the website for more details www.nationalexpress.com
Glastonbury Pedal power
By far the greenest way to get to Worthy Farm is by bike. Glastonbury has partnered with two organisations, Pow Wow and Tor 2000, in order to get visitors emitting nothing but the air in their lungs this year. Pow Wow is providing guided tours from Bristol to Glastonbury through the fabulous Mendip hills. Learn more at www.powwow-pedal-power.org.uk/glastonbury
Tor 2000 also wants to see more visitors in the saddle this year. Anyone cycling to Glastonbury will have the option of staying in the cyclist-only camping area, and both organisations will take the strain by providing a pick-up and drop-off service for luggage. Phew!
Heading to Glastonbury by car
For those who just can’t bear to leave the gas-guzzler at home, it’s well worth doing some planning beforehand. Prepare for traffic delays and keep the radio set to the latest travel news. Although the organisers would like people to abandon the car altogether in favour of greener transport, think about car share options and make your impact on the environment (and the traffic jams) a little less damaging.
Where to camp at Glastonbury
Most festival-goers opt for life under canvas at Glastonbury. Although ticket holders are permitted to camp in any of the designated festival fields, it’s worth thinking about what sort of festival experience you’re looking for.
Those wanting to party into the early hours may wish to head for the popular Pennard Hill Ground, but if a bit of shut-eye is preferable, consider somewhere on the more peaceful periphery such as Hitchin Hill Ground or Limekilns.
Last year Glastonbury introduced pre-erected accommodation at Worthy View, just a few minutes’ walk from the action. Although sold out for 2014, it’s worth keeping an eye on the festival website for last-minute cancellations. There’s nothing quite like lazy roughing it!
Families are advised to erect their tents at the Family Camping Fields at Cockmill Meadow, which is close to the Kidz Field, or at Wicket Ground on the northwest of the site. It’s important to remember however that the family sites fill up quickly and there is no booking system, so get the kids there early to claim your patch.
Disabled camping is available at Spring Ground, to the west of the site, for those who are registered disabled.
Those seeking a more unique Glastonbury experience may like to think about a pre-erected Tipi. These are located in the Tipi Village, near the Stone Circle. Tipis offer a very cosy, albeit back-to-basics, elemental camping experience, and visitors will need to bring mats and bedding as well as any other creature comforts. Unfortunately, the Tipi Field is sold out for this year, but any cancellations will go up on the festival website.
A slightly more elegant, and comfortable, Glastonbury experience comes in the form of the campervan or caravan. There is a slew of rules involving this posher option however, so a visit to the FAQ page on the official Glastonbury website is a must before heading off in a mobile home.
Unofficial campsites should be avoided. The Glastonbury organisers have no control over camping areas not under their jurisdiction and have warned visitors to be wary about parting with cash for these unauthorised operations.
Facilities at Glastonbury Festival
Although Glastonbury wouldn’t be Glastonbury without mud, smelly tents and the occasional unwelcome surprise in a portable loo (think pop-up pirate), each year the facilities get better and better, and this year going to the loo will be easier than ever. Hurrah!
Visitors will be able to choose from long drops, compost loos, portable toilets, WaterAid latrines, flushing toilets (!), urinals and Sheepees. Yes Sheepees: female urinals lovingly attended to and decorated by WaterAid volunteers, who are even on hand to explain to the perplexed lady newcomer how their “penis” works.
All toilet facilities have hand-washing or hand-sanitising facilities, which the organisers urge visitors to use in order to avoid catching any nasties. Unfortunately the water supply at Glastonbury is simply incapable of providing all stinky campers with a shower, and therefore packing biodegradable wet wipes is a must for anyone who wants to make new friends over the weekend.
Foodies will be pleased to know that there will be more than 150 stalls providing delicacies from every corner of the globe, and those looking to pick up random craft goods will find it a challenge to see everything that is on offer, from wood carvings to ethnic trinkets and other treasures.
Getting cash is also becoming easier. NatWest has five ATMs, which take all major credit and debit cards and charge no transaction fee, situated near the Farm House.
Expect to queue for your poor planning though. There are other cash machines dotted around the site, but we believe all will have a transaction charge.
And finally, for those who cannot possibly last a weekend without their iPhone; WiFi and charging points will be available at a number of EE charging centres around the Glastonbury Festival site.
Don’t forget lots of annoying boasty status updates for all your friends at home…yeah, we didn’t think you would.
General Glastonbury Festival advice
You’ve spent a lot of money on a ticket, taken some time off work and travelled all the way to Worthy Farm for possibly the best music festival in the world. The idea is to have fun, so here are just a few tips to help make it all an exquisite experience, rather than a dreadful disappointment.
Plenty of booze is available onsite, usually at London prices. If you bring your own, remember you will probably lose any more than is deemed appropriate for personal consumption to an official at the gate. All glass containers will also be taken away, and ID is essential if you want to buy a beer, but look under 21. Always drink plenty of water, and please don’t abuse other festival-goers if you do overdo it; they saved up for their tickets too!
Are illegal. Enough said. Fireworks, laser pens, flares, professional film equipment, guns, knives, RPGs etc are also a no no. But you knew that.
NEVER take your BBQ into your tent! Other than perhaps having to watch your festival home go up in a whoosh of flames, carbon monoxide poising is a very real danger. Keep it outside and well away from the canvass.
Are beautiful, but because of the risk of fire and due to them being harmful to livestock, organisers have asked people not to bring them. They will not be allowed past the gate if spotted.
Rock bands are loud. Dance music is loud. Remember to wear ear-plugs and give your ears a break by not standing next to the PA stacks for the whole festival. And please leave your own sound systems at home – they’re irritating, and this is Glastonbury Music Festival after all!
What to bring to Glastonbury
The rule of thumb is only what you need, and only what you can take home again.
Obviously a tent, sleeping bag and clothes for wet, dry, hot and cold weather are essential – gotta love the British summer.
Stuff to keep you clean without access to a shower; any medication you might need (and lots of sun cream!); a camera; a torch; ID and of course, your festival ticket.
If you’d like a few more tips about what to take to Glastonbury Festival you could do a lot worse than checking out our Festival Survival Guide which includes a long but handy list of festival things!
Giving a bit of thought to what you need before filling up a rucksack is well worth the effort. And remember you are going to have to carry it all!