My name is Jessica, I am 29-years-old and I am a live-music lover and before this year, I had never been to Glastonbury. When I was younger, I couldn't afford it and I was just not enough of a die-hard music fan to a) save up and b) (more importantly) to deal with the wet, knee-deep-in-mud fields, lack of showers and camping. And the loos.
I’ve also had a slight fear of the vastness of the area. I mean what if you lose your friends and then can’t find them again because your phone’s run out of battery and you’ve had a few too many? Finally, holding me back was the fear of potential weirdoes that may be lurking round every corner having ingested every substance illegal or not, that they are able to get their hands on.
However, as I’ve got older I’ve got curiouser and curiouser until the only thing stopping me was the shower issue. And then this year, I was invited by my mother to go with her and my sister. We would be staying in a caravan WITH A HOT WATER SHOWER and so, I went.
Here’s what I learnt...
Image credit: Jessica Meins
1. The “Vibe” at Glastonbury is one of the best I have ever experienced
I am loath to use the word ‘vibe’. If you hate it, replace it with atmosphere. What I mean is from the first time I walked through Gate C on Friday morning, I could not stop smiling and it rarely left my face throughout the whole weekend. Not only is it a veritable feast for the eyes - every turn holds a new entertainer/foodstuff/uniquely-dressed festival goer – but 90% of everyone I came across or interacted with was happy and laughing and kind and willing to help others. If I had got lost, I would not have been worried; because I felt sure someone would help if I needed it.
2. Rain and mud are not that bad
On Friday it rained; big, fat, wet drops of rain that soaked everything through. We were watching an energetic set by the Vaccines. Lightweight raincoats on, we danced and sang and didn’t really care that our faces and legs were soaked. I ended up caked in mud from my knees downwards, trainers unrecognisable. But it didn’t matter. And when it stopped raining we sat in the sun and dried off. I know on this occasion we were able to go back to our caravan and shower off the mud. But really, I wouldn't have minded much if I hadn’t been able to anyway. As long as you take enough clean clothes and layers that you have something new to wear tomorrow, the mud becomes part of it. Nothing that a baby wipe can’t fix.
Image credit: wix.com
3. You can eat like a King
Gone are the days of burgers and plastic hot dogs. Now the street food in our cities is fresh, tasty and varied, as it is at Glastonbury. From pulled pork to Vietnamese cuisine, curries, wraps, veggie options, cakes, cafes and desert stalls. At Glastonbury, you can eat (and drink) anything you can think of.
4. Most celebs I’ve ever spotted in one place
Over the course of the weekend, I walked past Greg James, Daisy Lowe, Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof, Cressida Bonas, Cara Delevingne and someone off of Made in Chelsea. My mum saw Stella McCartney. All of them were of course immaculately turned out and much shorter and thinner than they look in photos.
5. Atmosphere on the main stages
Sets from Mark Ronson and Rudimental on The Other Stage and Florence, Pharrell and The Who on The Pyramid Stage were rollicking, rocking and fun. Whether you are fans of the music or not, you cannot help but jump in the air and enjoy yourself.
*Tip: If you want to get to the front of these stages try going in on the left-hand side where there’s usual a free path to walk and you can then sidle in towards the middle.
Image credit: Wix.com
6. Small tents hold unknown treasures
Whilst I loved some of the big headliners I saw, some of my favourite moments and discoveries were in the smaller tents and areas. In Poetry & Words, I discovered Megan Beech, a feminist performance poet who has an exquisite and euphonious way of putting her point across - an alliteration wizard for the 21st Century.
In the Avalon Cafe, I listened to a set from Folk-Rock-Americana trio, Foreign Affairs who put a smile on my face and a tap in my wellies.
I had been told tales of walls covered in faeces and vomit and God knows what else and whilst I will admit the scent is not particularly enjoyable, if you have good squatting muscles and plenty of loo roll in your bag, they are bearable.
8. The Healing Fields are a must visit
At certain points throughout the weekend, you may be feeling slightly lethargic (see number 9). During these times, I would recommend a visit to the Healing fields where various practitioners offer massage, reiki and other alternative treatments that can soothe your tired body.
It’s also a nice place to just be. It’s quiet up there and there are numerous gardens and areas where you can sit and relax or snooze for a little bit until you’ve regained your energy.
Image credit: Jessica Meins
9. It is very tiring
It is a long, long day if you rise at a reasonable hour and get down to site for the first main sets at 1ish. The mains stages finish around 11.30, but then you can basically party all night. I must admit I didn’t. I think the latest we stayed out was about 1.30 but I am ok with that. I wanted to enjoy all the daytime and the bands - I’m not sure I would have if I’d stayed out till 5am. Obviously, the younger lot probably have a lot more energy and drink a lot more red bull.
10. Go with people you know
Whilst going with my mum and sister wasn’t the hardest partying crowd I could have had my first Glasto experience with, they know me inside out. We didn’t argue about who we wanted to see, we didn’t leave each other and when some sort of neurosis struck me and I needed the loo every hour and a half, they weren’t too irritated by it.
I could just as easily go with my best best friends who wouldn’t berate me for wanting to go to bed at 2am or spending time in the Theatre field. Anyone who will give you some of their water, buy you a drink, listen to a band they hate, walk for hours to find the food stall that you saw last night when you were drunk. Anyone who you are happy to take to the medical tent if they get sunburn or lend money to if they lose their wallet; these are the people you want to go with. They are also the people that you will have the happiest and best experience with, but then I probably don’t need to tell you that.
Thinking about Glastonbury 2016 already? You can find out how to register to be in with a chance of grabbing some tickets here.