Steve's Guide to Glastonbury Festival


Glastonbury is the “largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world”. It is truly huge with about 200,000 people attending for the five days (from Wednesday to Sunday) making it, while it is running, something like the third largest city in the UK. The music acts are, of course, some of the best in the world. All of the main groups from the past 50 years have at one point or another performed here making this one of the most important festivals in the world…and truly an incredible experience.


Getting Tickets

This is, of course, the trick. You need to get into the ticket lottery about a year ahead of the festival you want to attend. You need to not only provide your details but also a specific size and format of picture. When the first round of tickets goes on sale you will be notified to apply on-line. If you are unable to purchase tickets in the first round there is generally a second round in early spring.

There is private camping available which, if you have the money and don't feel like “roughing it”, is HIGHLY recommended. You don't have to go for the on-site private sites such as the wig-wam site as there are several others operating off-site that are cheaper and possibly much nicer (we stayed with PraxisTent Solutions who offer a wonderful service including pick up/drop off from the bus terminal as well as their own toilets and (hot) showers – and they are not that expensive).


Everyone needs to make sure they bring wellies (rubber boots) and rain gear as it is pretty much guaranteed to rain at one point or another (a good idea is having things that will keep anything you have that cannot get wet waterproof such as plastic bags…). Also make sure you bring sun cream and both light and warmer clothes (it does get cool at night). We also brought portable seats with us which is pretty much a must unless you plan on spending your time passed out on the ground…(many do). These also have the benefit of keeping you out of the mud if it is raining.

If you are planning on camping (which, by and large, most are) then you need to make sure you have a decent tent, but not so decent as someone will want to steal it. It should be as waterproof as possible…Lightweight is good as remember you will have to walk from wherever you enter the site to wherever you camp and this can be up to a mile away.

Arranging Transport

Getting to and from the Glastonbury site is difficult as it is located on small roads in the middle of the countryside. The best bet is to let someone else do the driving such as catching a coach from wherever you are coming from and to leave the same way. I would strongly suggest you do NOT drive yourself and taking a train you should be aware that the local train station becomes VERY congested. Traffic is the lightest on Wednesday morning and gets busier as time goes on.

At the Festival


Getting to the site you enter by presenting your ticket (obviously) whereupon you will be given a bag full of information including a map of the site and, more importantly, a list of performances. It is this list that I studied on the first day to get a general understanding of who was on when and to make plans for the coming five days though every day I reviewed what I had selected and adjusted appropriately…If it is important to you to see certain things it is good to make some effort here.

Where is my tent?

Unless you have reserved an outside campsite or on on-site tipi when people arrive they very quickly make their way to finding a campsite and unless you are there when the site first opens on Wednesday you will likely not have a lot of choice as to where you will be pitching up…I suppose the advice I would offer is as follows:

  • Go for an area up on the side of a hill (water flows DOWNHILL)
  • Do NOT, under any circumstances, pitch anywhere within 100 metres of a toilet!
  • Pitch in the middle of a field, not the edges…
  • Finding your tent in the middle of the night can be VERY difficult so try to remember where it is…Flags, remembering surrounding tents, are all very helpful…

Tents A-Plenty...


This is probably something to really think about. I would not even consider leaving anything in your tent that you are not going to regret someone stealing. Having said that, I would not worry too much about having your mobile phone/camera stolen from your person if you are careful (much like any other big city). There are plenty of police wandering around the site, should you need them.


Some of the Toilets

In a word: Scary. On site facilities are truly unbelievable get even more unbelievable as the weekend wears on. There are occasional groups of portable toilets which tend to get VERY full with the…solids…rising above the seat (of course, you also have to find one where the door actually shuts and/or has a latch). Using the drop toilets are scarier as you climb up to use them with the metal stalls having a gab between the ground and the door and brown stains that could be mud but could also be something else…The smell coming from all of this is incredible.


More Toilets...and mud?


There are hundreds of stalls selling everything from the expected burgers to hummus, steak, sushi…You name it. It should be noted that prices are quite expensive and, of course, queues can be very big indeed.

Food Available Everywhere...

Getting Around

It is a VERY big site so it is a good idea to always have a map with you (things change from year to year as well) though there are a few information booths located on the site where they can provide you with information on whatever you want to know. There are also signposts scattered everywhere as well which will provide general directions. I would allow about 30-45 minutes to get from one end of the site to the other (if the crowds are not too big).

What to See

There is lots to see at Glastonbury in addition to the music, which, of course, is excellent.


Pyramid Stage

All the big acts come to Glastonbury with the facilities very good indeed:

  • Pyramid Stage - The main stage where the biggest acts can be found. The ground is sloped up away from the stage meaning you can sit some distance away and still get a (relatively) clear view of the stage with the exception of the extreme back of the area (near to the the family camp ground) where there are a few trees. The speakers ensure you will be able to hear it no matter where you are…Grass abounds. In my opinion, sit about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way back to the right of the seating area so you are up enough to be able see and hear clearly.
  • Other Stage - Slightly smaller than Pyramid, the Other Stage is in a rather bare, flat, field surrounded by food and drink stalls but some of the big acts also play here. For some reason some of this area even bends around so you can't even see the stage! Not really somewhere where you can sit on the grass…
  • West Holts Stage - When I attended this largely had “world music” playing. Can be VERY loud. Again, flat and surrounded by places to eat and drink but a small amount of grass.
  • Dance Village - Not my scene, but basically a series of (large) tents playing dance music.

There are numerous other stages serving up everything from poetry to cabaret…



There are lots of things to see outside of the music acts…

  • Shangri-La - Interesting art pieces and acts including a number of very lively night clubs. Expect a nightly performance of some kind.
  • Sacred Space - Hum, well, some stones arranged a-la Stonehenge with a bunch of people sitting around smoking strange substances. Don't think I missed anything…
  • The Queens Head - A “pub”, but in reality, a big tent with great live acts that happens to also serve alcohol. Be aware that bigger acts will easily fill the tent leaving people blocking the paths all around it…
  • Cinema Tent - Throughout the weekend this tent plays recent releases with a VERY good sound system (we saw the movie Coraline…in 3D) and a very good screen indeed. Can be a bit hot if the sun is out as the tent has to be closed up to be dark enough to see the film! You can bring collapsable chairs, but be considerate and sit near the back if you do…

Interesting Things Everywhere...

Further Information

For further information, see: