At 3am my alarm went!...and I hit the snooze 3 times - despite it being a 'christmas' kinda day a boys still gotta sleep. At 3:20am I was finally awake enough for conscious thought to take place and it hit me - GLASTONBURY IS HERE! I was wide awoke in nano-seconds.
I had a massive shower, ensuring maximum cleanliness was achieved (for obvious festival related reasons) and then ate a healthy and vast breakfast (again for obvious reasons). At 4:15am my friends picked me up and off we went to Glastonbury Festival, which - for those of you not in the know - is not actually in Glastonbury, but in Worthy Farm, Pilton a couple of miles away. Rumour has it 'Glastonbury', not Pilton, was chosen as the festival name as it sounds better... who knows.
We arrived at the festival site at approximately 6:15am and got in a queue. Doors opened and we more or less strolled in right away. As we arrived so early, we managed to get an unbelievably good tent spot just off Pennards Hill, a stones throw away from the Other Stage and The Park area.
Now I won't bore you with the ins and outs of the following 5 days. I did way too much to fit into a single concise post, so I will summarize high level areas below. This will hopefully help those of you wondering whether you should or shouldn't do Glastonbury in the future, make a decision.
1) Hygiene - Don't worry about the stigma regarding lack of decent toilets and showers. Bring wet wipes, deodorant, toothbrush/paste and dry shampoo - this is your survival kit! To be honest, you will probably have so much fun that you will semi-forget about hygiene anyway. I didn't shower for 4.5 days, I used my survival kit and had a load of clothes to change into daily / twice daily - not a problem. As for the toilets... honestly, they are not that bad. They are cleaned once a day and come with vast amounts of anti-bac for all to use. I was worried about the toilets, but needn't have.
2) Camping - If you're scared of 'camping' as it's too uncomfortable, then follow this advice. Camp on highish ground - so if the rain does come you're not sat in a bog. Bring a decent sized tent, blow up beds, sleeping bag and a pillow. Perfect. I did this and slept well all week, which was a surprise as I was in a busy/noisy part of the site, however as I did dance and sing solidly 24/7 my body probably grabbed any sleep it could get with glee!
3) Food - Bring £50+ to spend on food. The food stalls at Glastonbury are from all over the world - Paella from Spain, Boulangerie from France, North African Tagine from Egypt etc - and they all sell truly stunning food. Don't be scared by slightly higher asking prices on what appear to be 'burger vans'. These are not your average British burger vans, they are selling shit hot food that really add to the experience. A good game is to see how many different types of food you can fit in in the 3-5 days you are there, I got to double figures!
4) Festival site - The site itself is mammoth - miles wide X miles up/down - and is full of surprises. Music, food, street artists, readings, craftsmanship, games, drinking, pubs, clubs, skate parks, a stream, celebrities, lecture theater's - it has it all. Even if you are not interested in a single musical act at Glastonbury, you would get your moneys worth from walking around the site, there is no doubt about that. For instance, on Sunday morning me and my two friends were entertained by a magician / comedian who was juggling a chainsaw, machete and two balls whilst fire eating - dreamy. That is how to spend a Sunday morning, hungover after watching the Stones and partying all night! Yes please.
5) Music - Although Glastonbury is a festival of 'Contemporary Performing Arts' - meaning that the festival is much more than music - the main reason that I, and most people go, is inevitably the music. This year I saw a range of musicians. From large acts such as The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys and Dizzee Rascal (who was surprisingly good for those of you now turning your noses up) to up and comers such as Peace and Palma Violets. Masses of DJ's also played throughout the night and a load of bands are watched in passing at a bandstand here or acoustic tent there, I didn't even discover the names for the majority of these. Ultimately, if you like music you should go, there will be loads there for you regardless of taste. So go you fool! The music for me was absolutely unreal, I'm a stereotypical not very emotional British male, therefore I rarely dance. The music was such that I rarely stopped dancing for 5 days.
6) Underlying messages - Festival organisers, Michael and Emily Eavis, are huge promoters of changing the planet to be fairer and greener. Greenpeace, Oxfam and Wateraid all have a strong presence and it is interesting to listen to the reps from these org's and here their messages. It is important to stress that the reps are not pushy, sales types but just there to spread the word and put across a point of view. I personally think that our capitalist society should be greener and fairer and so was particularly interested in this.
So there you go, hope the above whistle stop tour of my first Glastonbury experience is enough to persuade any of you festival virgins to go and do it. It truly was/is amazing and as many of your fears were probably my own a few weeks ago, all I have to say is 'go and try it'.
If you do go, please remember - love the farm, leave no trace.