Glastonbury revealed the bulk of its main festival line-up today, featuring an all-male headline set that has drawn criticism from music fans online with Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses, and Elton John announced as the weekend’s top dogs. Still, there’s much to be excited about.
The women are there and you don’t need to squint to find them. Lizzo, Lana Del Rey, Blondie, Raye, Weyes Blood, Christine and the Queens and heaps more are billed for the megawatt festival which returns this June 21 – 25. And, to be fair, festival co-organizer Emily Eavis told the Guardian that gender balance was a priority and a female headliner was initially planned but eventually canceled due to a conflicting touring schedule. She added: “It changes all the time. But next year it’s looking like we’ve got two female headliners, so fingers crossed.”
Now you know who you’re going to see, more or less, and your ticket are in the bag (tickets went on sale in October and sold out within minutes) the only thing you need to worry about is how you’re going to experience it all in one go. And the rain, of course… there’s always the rain.
With some strategic and sensible packing, the right attitude and a versatile wardrobe, you can not only survive one of the most iconic music festivals in the world but thrive in it too. We’re here to guide you through Glastonbury until the very last song plays on Sunday night.
Pack like a pro: don’t forget the snacks.
When packing your bag, the quickest way to eliminate non-essential items from the pile is to remember that everything you bring, you have to bring back with you. Enthusiasm carries you and your heavy luggage through Glastonbury’s gates on Wednesday morning, but when you’re a brittle shell of a human on Monday morning, you deserve an easy exit. Limit your belongings to one backpack, and one holdall bag full of snacks, and leave one hand free to share the weight of the tent with your camping gang. Need more guidance? Check out our guide on how to pack for any festival.
Getting there will be a trip
No matter where you’re coming from, you have a long journey ahead of you and can expect serious traffic. If you’re using the coach service, use this time to stock up on shut-eye. There will be plenty of time for drinking, so hold your horses until you’ve found the perfect camping spot (up next). If you’re driving, be very kind to your designated driver. Buy them treats, shower them with praise, and let them have the final say on the playlist.
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The perfect camping spot should be uphill
It’s easy to get stressed out about snagging a spot in the coolest campsite but each area fills up on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if you don’t get your top campsite, be tactical in where you pitch your tent. Our number one tip is to aim for an uphill spot to avoid any possible flooding. The rest, is about compromise.
If you camp along a pathway, you’ll hear snippets of hilarious conversations all weekend long which might keep you awake at night but will make for good anecdotes later. If you camp near the portaloos, you’ll have to face the wrath of the stench but preemptively get ahead of the queues at peak times. If you camp near the entrance, you’ll have a long walk into the main arena but your exit on Monday will be made a bit easier. Before you commit to hammering in those pegs, let it be known that Pennard Hill Ground is the ‘lively’ campsite, Lime Kiln & Hitchen Hill are generally on the quieter side.
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Function versus fashion: prepare for rain and mud
There are two types of Glastonbury; the wet kind, and the dry kind. If the forecast is for rain, don’t cheap out on a raincoat or underestimate the power of a solid welly boot. The wonderful thing about wet gear is that you can rock your best-sequined garms beneath a waterproof exterior and do a sparkling reveal once you’ve found shelter in a dance tent. If you’re pairing wellies with shorts, wear knee-length socks or roll your boots down because calf burn is real. If the sun does decide to make an appearance, keep layers tied around your waist because sun-scorched skin at night is no reveler’s delight.
Create your own first aid kit: here’s what you need
During your five-day stint, you will endure the following: sleepless nights, irregular meal times, dance marathons, explosive hangovers, bouts of dehydration and the constant threat of hayfever. While prevention is the best cure, preparation is the best remedy. Pack a ziplock bag with painkillers, anti-nausea medication, gentle laxatives, electrolyte powders, antihistamines, plasters, heartburn medication and the all-important anti-diarrhea medication. You and your bowels will communicate like never before at this festival.
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The most essential ‘essentials’ are…essential
At all times, have the following on your person: a reusable water bottle, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and sun lotion. Bring a portable charger pack but remember that your phone is not an essential item – live in the moment! Phones are infamously unreliable in festival situations, so wear a watch and on your first day there, pick out different landmarks or stalls that will act as your official meeting spots all weekend long. If your gig plans vary from your friends’ plans, all you have to say is, “see you around midnight in front of the katsu curry stand,” rather than constantly trying to find signal. Or, even better, bring a tall, personalized flag so your friends can spot you from the back end of the Pyramid Stage.
Fight the FOMO and pace yourself…
With over 1100 acres and close to 100 music venues or stages to explore, you might feel like you have to be everywhere at once and do everything that Glasto veterans told you to do. But, a little tip from the top, you can’t do everything. Due to the size of the site and with over 210,000 people to wade through, splitting half a set might suck the enjoyment out of the night. So be flexible with your timetable and accept that you simply cannot be in two places at once. Fun is on tap 24 hours a day at Glastonbury, so if you need to sneak a nap in during the day, fight the FOMO and rest safe in the knowledge there’s a lot of fun in your near future.
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…But don’t waste the day away at the campsite
Watch the sunrise at Stone Circle. Warm-up by the fires of Arcadia’s Pangea. Watch Yusuf / Cat Stevens perform at the Sunday ‘legend’ slot on the Pyramid Stage. Experience a moment in music history when Elton John plays his last ever UK performance ahead of his retirement on Sunday. Find the tunnel under the railway track that connects the Greenpeace Field and Green Futures. Get into Shangri-La early and got lost in there for the night. Dance until 6am in the NYC Downlow. Find the new hidden gem micro venue No Average Groove in the Silver Hayes area. But most importantly, throw out the rulebook, and enjoy your lucky self.