For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to go to Glastonbury Festival.
I’ve even been offered the option of buying a guest ticket from my friends for the past four years, and four years in a row something major has come up to stop me going. 2017 however, this was NOT going to happen. I would get to Glastonbury come hell or high water. And I did. I bloody got there.
If you’ve never been to Glastonbury before, and chat to people who have about it, they will tell you about the music, and the vastness and the enormous crowds and the amazing food and the mud and the crazy costumes and random secret areas and the buzzing atmosphere. But without actually going, you can’t quite grasp this as a sum of all the parts. The complexity and thought and creativity which has been put together into, what is realistically just three days of partying.
I know this sounds a bit evangelical, and for a lot of people the idea of camping in a slum, with ridiculous toilets and surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people is hell, but trust me, if you ever get the chance to go, just do it.
Admittedly, we did have the luxury of camping with the medics, in a lovely campsite off-site with showers and proper loos and the ability to actually walk around your tent without tripping over. In the heat on Tuesday and Wednesday, the ability to wash was certainly appreciated! There was also something so nice about being able to head back to the campsite for an afternoon nap, or to get some lunch, or refill the old plastic alcohol bottles. Plus Will and Kate had a palace of a tent, so it worked out as the best base.
I was at Glastonbury with my friends Will, Kate and Chris, all of whom have been many years before and worked each time, though this year we were lucky that all of their shifts were done by the Wednesday, so though they were there for a week, we had time to see all the main bands all together across the main three days of the weekend. It was also fantastic that my littlest brother Ned managed to work in a bar close to our pedestrian gate, so I got to experience my first time at Glastonbury with him as well!
The first day is an assault on your senses. Bright colour and art adorns everything, most of which you don’t see the first, or second time you walk past it. The food stalls line the “streets” the link each part of the festival (which by the way, I had never even started to believe was as big as it is!). There are people, everywhere, but everyone is glittered up, wearing fancy dress and are in such. good. moods. Seriously, I’ve never continuously seen so many happy people, the buzz from that alone is incredible. Each section that you walk through usually has a central stage, with art and attractions and things to see and stumble upon in between. They all have a different vibe which changes throughout the day and night.
My highlights included:
- MUSIC – we saw so many bands the I love, but I especially enjoyed Lorde, Birdy, Alt-J, The XX, George Ezra, Rag n Bone Man, Kodaline, Ed Sheeran, Goldfrapp, London Grammar and Nick Mulvey (which was a highlight as Ned and I were right on the front row for and our family managed to watch us on telly throughout!)
- COMEDY – On Saturday afternoon we went to see both Jonathan Kay (where we somehow ended up on stage singing Bohemian Rhapsody) and then Stephen Frosts Improv Allstars, which was basically all the people from Who’s Line is is Anyway doing stupid improvisations. I was crying with laughter until I couldn’t breath, bloody loved it.
- FOOD – Along with the delicious meals we cooked ourselves (even if Chris was convinced my vegetable curry would kill him) we also had some great organic burgers, churros, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, falafels, icecream and pizza, though the food options at Glastonbury are honestly endless!!
- THEATRE & CIRCUS – The place to be to see street acts, clowns on stilts on bikes, the best fancy dress, a guy giving cricket commentary on all passers by, circus performers…you name it…
- CRAFT & HEALING FIELDS – There is so much to see and make and do, you wouldn’t know where to start. We made little clay ornaments during the heat of the day, this is the place for a daytime wander around!
- CINERAMAGEDDON – Johnny Depps famous new feature drive in cinema, with the worlds strangest and marvellous assortment of cars.
- ARCADIA – The gigantic spider shaped DJ stage was really something to see – complete with acrobats, zorbing balls and a lot of fire and smoke.
- WEST HOLTS & BROTHERS BAR – On Thursday night, this was the place to be. We spent the night dancing to the best old school classics, witnessed a proposal to Robbie’s classic Angels between a very drunk couple and generally just had one huge drunken singalong amongst the flags before the main festival kicked off.
- THE STONE CIRCLE BONFIRE & FIREWORKS – Wednesday night sees the opening of the festival with three huge bonfires, burning of the phoenix’s and an amazing firework display!
- THE PARK – The rainbow tower helps you navigate around the site, and the park has loads to see, plus the stage is smaller, less crowded and behind leads up to the sign. We headed up there twice (it’s quite a steep trek) – once in the boiling heat on Wednesday and again on Saturday night when we couldn’t get into Shangri-La or Block 9 because of the crowds.
However, as immense and all-encompassing and inexplicable as Glastonbury is, I didn’t once feel unsafe or annoyed or bored, and that’s quite something to say for 6 days worth of entertainment.
In fact, one teeny little thing I might just have left off my list was the fact that I had to somehow ditch Will and Kate on Friday afternoon and pretend I was meeting up with one of my friends. For an hour or so I wandered around finding new things to see, then headed for a few drinks with Ned at Bar on the Green. Not because I was fed up with their company, no, but because WILL PROPOSED! As one of their special places together, up by the Glastonbury sign he asked Kate to marry him (after Chris had to smuggle in the ring past the security without Kate seeing and I had to pretend like nothing was happening after Chris hurriedly pulled me to the side and whispered the plan quickly in my ear). I was so honoured to have been there to celebrate with them and I literally am so excited for their wedding, it’s going to be incredible!
What an amazing way to spend a few days on a farm in Somerset. To have finally got to Glastonbury and experienced the magic myself, I know it won’t be my last time!