Part 1


Hello and welcome to this festival goer's guide to the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. I've designed it to provide illustrated answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions which pop up on social media and festival website message boards by pulling together a small selection of the ever-expanding library of photos which I have accumulated at the festival over the years.

hope that you find the advice I've included here to be informative and useful. It's an ongoing and constantly evolving project which I first dreamt up way back in 2004 in order to show new visitors (or "Glastovirgins" as we affectionately call them) what the festival is all about.  It provides visual illustrations of a lot of the attractions which make Glastonbury stand out as the UK's premier performing arts event, as well as describing a lot of the facilities which are available in order to make your festival experience even more enjoyable.

Newcomers make up an estimated 30% of the Glastonbury population every year and if you are going to be one of them in 2024 then the information provided here is predominantly for your benefit.

However there might be a few useful tips in here for experienced festival goers too and I often get positive feedback from Glastonbury regulars who enjoy reading this every year in order to help get them in the mood in the build up to the festival.

Although I have previously worked voluntarily on one of the Information Points at Glastonbury, I'm not employed by the festival or involved in any way in its organisation. So the contents of these pages are based entirely on my own independent punter's perspective.

I've been lucky enough to have attended every one of the last nineteen festivals stretching back to 1999 but I have friends who have been going since the 1970's and 80's and also one who is now in her forties and has been to every Glastonbury since she was born. So I’m still barely reaching the point where I can really consider myself to be a genuine veteran.

However, overall I have clocked up a total of nearly 200 festivals over a period of more than 40 years and so I hope that the advice I give here can be considered useful, sound and based on experience.

When is it?

In the modern era the festival is always held on the last full weekend in June. The dates of the next festival will therefore be from Wednesday 26th to Sunday 30th June 2024.

There is no entertainment on the main stages until the Friday but the pedestrian gates open to ticket holders at 8 O'Clock on the Wednesday morning and the campervan fields and car parks open even earlier. So as far as I’m concerned the festival starts as soon as I pull on the handbrake in my van and crack open my first cider on the Tuesday lunchtime and it doesn't finish until I head for home on the following Monday afternoon.

In the past Glastonbury had to apply for its license annually and we would be on the edges of our seats every year, waiting to hear whether the license had been granted. But nowadays most of the issues for objection have been ironed out and the festival organisers have a much better working relationship with the local Mendip District Council.

The festival also generates a considerable income for the local economy and nearby community projects and as a result in 2007 the festival was licensed to take place for each of the following 4 years, which took us through to 2010. After that the festival had a rolling license but this was due to expire in 2024.  So in 2023 an application was made and granted by the Council for permission to allow the festival to take place at Worthy Farm on a permanent basis. However there are regular amendments made to the conditions and a debrief is presented to the council every year to see where improvements can continue to be made.  

Traditionally there has been a "fallow" year every fifth or sixth year in order to give the land at Worthy Farm a chance to recover and to allow the Eavis family and a lot of the other people who work for the festival the chance to take a well deserved break. The festival took a year off in 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2012.
The most recent fallow year was in 2018 so in a World without Covid it would have been fair to assume that we would probably have had to find something else to do during the last weekend in June in either 2023 or 2024.  However this has been pushed back for at least another couple of years following the enforced break in 2020 & 2021.

Where is it?

It's in Glastonbury surely! Well, not quite. Anybody who hasn't been to the festival before could be excused for assuming that the festival is held either in or very close to the Somerset town from which it takes its name, but this isn't strictly true. 

The site is on the Eavis family's home at Worthy Farm, which is situated some 6 miles to the East of Glastonbury and 3 miles South West of Shepton Mallet, just off the A361 in the small rural village of Pilton. In fact a few of the locals still quaintly refer to it as the “Pilton Pop Festival” which is similar to the name of the first event held on Worthy Farm way back in 1970. The name "Glastonbury" wasn't used for the first time until the following year in 1971.

How big is the site?

Even if you've been to some of the larger and more commercial UK music festivals before, nothing will prepare you for the sheer vastness of Glastonbury. It's a full mile and a half from the farmhouse at the northern end to the stone circle in the south and it will take you a good hour to walk from one end to the other when there are more than 200,000 other people on site. It is also more than a mile across from east to west plus at least an additional mile in each direction from the pedestrian gates to the furthest extremities of the car parks.

This website gives you a really good idea of just how huge the festival site is. If you enter your own town or postcode into the Location Bar it will place an outline of the festival site over your home town so you can get a real sense of the vast scale of the place. And don’t forget that this only covers the area inside the main fence and not the car parks, campervan fields, Worthy View, Sticklinch or any of the other staff and boutique campsites which lie outside of the fence.

Here are just a few mind boggling statistics to give you some idea of the massive scale we are talking about:

• Area of Site - 1,200 acres (that's the equivalent of about 600 football pitches)
• Length of Fence - 8 miles
• Number of Stages & Venues - at least 100 hosting some 3,000 individual performances!
• Number of Catering outlets - Nearly 1,000 food stalls and over 100 Bars
• Number of Toilets - More than 4,000 cubicles & 700 metres of urinals
• Number of Rubbish Bins - 15,000
• Number of Parked Cars - 45,000
• Number of Tickets Sold - 138,000 plus 5,000 Sunday day tickets for locals 
• Number of Staff, Crew and Artists - 67,000
• Total Site Capacity - 210,000 (and that's not including children under 13, police and officials), or to put it into perspective, a similar population to a city the size of Southampton!!!

How do I get tickets?

Details of how you can go about purchasing tickets for the festival have a tendency to change from time to time and your best bet is to keep an eye on the official website in order to familiarise yourself with the procedures and dates involved and thereby hopefully avoid disappointment.

In the past tickets used to go on sale in early April. Sometimes they would sell out within a matter of hours whereas in other years you could still pick up a ticket just a couple of days before the festival took place.

For a number years now you have been able to pay a deposit during the preceding October or November in order to secure your ticket. This has been increased from £50 to £75 for the 2024 festival.  According to updates which flashed up on social media at the time, all general admission tickets for the 2024 festival were sold out within 58 minutes of going on sale.   In some previous years it's taken considerably less time for all the tickets to be sold. 2015 currently holds the record at just 26 minutes!

The full price of a ticket in 2024 is £355 plus a £5 booking fee plus a further charge (£9:95 in 2024) for postage and packing for each order (of up to 6 tickets) placed. The balance has to be paid up in full during a 1 week window at the beginning of April otherwise the ticket is cancelled and goes back into the pot for resales.

An allocation of some 24,000 coach package tickets are made available for sale 3 days prior to the main sale of the remaining tickets. So if you are thinking of traveling by coach anyway, or you want to try to bag your ticket prior to the main sale, this may be an option worth looking at.

In order to be able to buy a ticket you first have to pre-register and supply a passport style photograph of yourself as well as your name, address and post code. The photograph is printed on your ticket so that the stewards at the gates can identify you as the genuine ticket holder. Make sure you register well in advance of the actual ticket sale date as registration is closed a few days beforehand and your photo has to be examined to make sure that it meets the required standard.

When you are paying the deposit for your ticket all you generally need are your registration number, which is notified to you by e-mail, and also the post code which you entered at the time of registration. You can buy up to 6 tickets in a single transaction but you must have the registration numbers and post codes for everybody you are buying tickets for.

Prior to 2017 Credit cards were not acceptable for UK residents but this has changed and you are now able to use them. However if you use a Debit Card make sure you have enough funds in your bank account to cover the £75 deposits for everybody you are buying tickets on behalf of.

Tickets are only ever sold through one official outlet. This has been See Tickets for a number of years now. There are however "agencies" (or "touts" to you and me) who sometimes claim to have tickets or hospitality packages for sale. They will not receive any official allocation so if you give your money to these people then the chances are you will lose it.

Whatever you do, do not buy tickets on eBay,  social media or from any other private source. Tickets are personally identifiable and if you are not the person whose name and photograph are on the ticket then you run a very high risk of not getting in and you will have wasted your money.

There are usually a limited number of re-sales of any tickets for which the balance has not been paid up during the first week in April or which have subsequently been cancelled. If you are trying to pick up a ticket in one of these sales it pays to keep an eye on the various website forums and festival news as they often happen with little or no advance warning.

In 2023 two official resales took place on Thursday 20th April for coach package tickets and on Sunday 23rd April for general entrance tickets.  The number of tickets you can buy in one transaction in the resale is usually reduced from 6 to 4 and to only 2 in respect of coach package tickets. The actual number of tickets available in the resales is never officially released but I reckon if you take a ballpark figure of somewhere between 10,000 & 15,000 across both resales you wouldn't be a million miles away.

Tickets are non-transferable although you are able to change the delivery address if you move or if the details are incorrect.

If you have to cancel your tickets for any reason you can get your money back, less a £25 administration charge (or £40 if you are cancelling a coach package ticket). You have until approximately 6 or 7 weeks before the festival to do this (by midnight on the 3rd of May in 2024).

There is no refund available after this date as the tickets will have already been printed with your photograph and personal details. If you can't attend due to accident, illness or any other unforeseen circumstances then I'm afraid your only way of getting your money back after this date is by claiming on any insurance you may have which covers such eventualities.

For the last few years See Tickets have offered cancellation insurance for an optional premium (£8:50 for ordinary tickets in 2024 and a bit more for coach package tickets, depending on where you are travelling from) which is payable when you settle the balance in April.

There have been times in the past when tickets didn't start to be sent out until the first half of June and many people didn't receive theirs until a matter of a few days before they were due to leave for the festival. Naturally panic ensued but thankfully for a number of years now the tickets have started appearing through people’s letter boxes from the middle of May. However it still takes two or three weeks for all of the tickets to be sent out so please don't concern yourself too greatly if you hear about other people receiving their tickets and yours doesn't turn up straight away.

To give you an example, in 2016 my tickets were amongst the first to be delivered on 19th May but on the flipside in 2019 they didn't arrive until 14th June.

Anybody who orders their tickets online will receive a reference number and may use this to check on the progress of the distribution of their tickets via an order tracking facility on the See Tickets website. You’ll also need to enter details of your post code to access this.

Tickets are delivered in the UK by Royal Mail registered post. You’ll usually receive an email advising you that the tickets are on the way a day or two before they are due to be delivered. If you are not at home when the postie tries to deliver the tickets you'll be able to pick them up from your local postal sorting office.

When your tickets are delivered it's a good idea to check them as quickly as you can. It's not unheard of for orders to be mixed up and tickets to be sent to the wrong address. Also make sure that you have received all of the car park or campervan passes you were expecting and if you have a problem then contact See Tickets as soon as you can so that they can sort out any errors.

Overseas ticketholders who live outside of the European Union should note that whereas in the past tickets have been sent to their home address, this hasn't been the case for the last couple of years and tickets have to be picked up in person at the box office close to Pedestrian Gate A before you can join the queue to enter the festival.  

Can I buy day tickets?

Unless you live very close to the festival site then no I'm afraid you can't. There are some 5,000 one day tickets for the Sunday alone but these are only made available to people living in Pilton and the surrounding villages. Details on how to obtain them are generally released shortly after the main ticket sale in October or November.

When is the line up released?

It varies year on year. According to Glastonbury folklore the festival never used to release the line up in advance at all and you would have very little idea who was appearing until you opened your programme when you got there. I'm not altogether sure how true this is but nowadays the headliners are often announced several months before the festival takes place. 

In recent years the names of a lot of the acts appearing on the larger stages have generally been announced in March.  

Glastonbury seems to receive a fair amount of flak on social media for not releasing its line up earlier, in line with the way that a lot of the other large UK festivals do, but to my mind this criticism is totally unjustified. The fact of the matter is that Glastonbury doesn't have to release its line up in order to sell its tickets and personally I enjoy the anticipation in the build up to the main release, especially as nobody outside of the inner sanctum at Glastonbury HQ knows exactly when that first main line up poster is going to drop on the website and the festival's social media pages.

Having said that, in a complete move away from tradition, Glastonbury has been leaking a few headline names a little earlier than was previously the case and in 2023 Elton John was announced as the Sunday night headliner as early as 2nd December of the previous year. 

We then had to wait until the first major line up poster, with an additional 53 names, which was published on 3rd March, in order to discover a lot of the other major acts due to appear. This included confirmation of some strong rumours that Artic Monkeys and Guns n Roses would fill the Pyramid headliner slots for Friday and Saturday respectively and that Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf, would appear as the Sunday afternoon legend.

Over the period following the main poster drop a number of the smaller stages and areas release their own schedules individually but we generally have to wait until just a few weeks prior to the festival before the timetable for all stages and areas is completed.  In 2023 the full line up for an incredible 96 different stages and venues was released, complete with running orders and set times, on 30th May.

If you want to get a better idea of when the various line up announcements have been made every year since 2000 the "The Glastonbury Thingy" might be of interest.

Some people put together online timetables so you can work out whether any of your favourite acts are likely to be playing at the same time. The one I use is on Halvin’s excellent “Clashfinder” website which can be found HERE. You can customise it to your own requirements, highlight the acts you want to see and print it off to take with you to the festival. If you find the Clashfinder useful then buy Halvin a pint. He does it completely voluntarily.

If you have an android or iphone the festival's official app is also a good way to work out your schedule for the day as well as having numerous other features.

How do I get there?

Research shows that the vast majority of carbon emissions connected with festivals are released into the atmosphere as a direct result of punters traveling to and from the event. Glastonbury encourages all attendees to use more carbon efficient modes of transport so please consider using bus, train or even your bicycle as a means of getting there rather than simply jumping in the car. 

Back in the day my mate Chris was renowned for turning up in his Sinclair C5 but for the less eccentric among us there are basically 7 modes of transport for getting to the festival:-

By Bus

National Express run bus services to the festival from over 70 locations in  major towns and cities and from airports around the country. More details can be found on the official website as the Festival approaches or from the National Express website.

For the first time in 2007 you could buy a combined coach and festival package ticket. This was introduced to encourage the increased number of ticket holders licensed to attend that year to use greener transportation methods. Anybody choosing the package option only gets their festival ticket given to them en route to the festival site in order to discourage people from subsequently changing their minds and arriving by car. Most of the buses arrive on the Wednesday or Thursday and leave in the early hours of the Monday morning in order to avoid adding to the traffic congestion during peak departure times.  

Although there were a few teething problems with the combined coach arrangements in 2007, lessons definitely appear to have been learned and I have heard of nothing but positive experiences in subsequent years. And don't forget that if you choose one of the coach package deals you have the opportunity to secure your ticket prior to the main sale in October or November.  Nearly 24,000 coach package tickets are currently made available.

Coaches drop festival goers at the Festival’s own Bus Station, which is close to Pedestrian Gate A at the north-western corner of the site.

If you are arranging your own coach then the driver will be able to drop you off at the taxi rank, provided there are at least 15 festival goers on board. Mini buses or any vehicles with less than 15 on board which aren't actually staying in the car parks will be expected to use the drop off point at the Bath & West Showground.

By Train

There is no train station at either Glastonbury or Shepton Mallet. The railway line which used to lead to Glastonbury, prior to Dr Beeching wielding his axe in the 1960s, actually used to pass through Worthy Farm and the disused embankment now forms one of the main vehicle and pedestrian routes across the site.

The official train station for Glastonbury Festival is at Castle Cary, which is 6 miles from the festival site. Castle Cary is on the main line to the South West out of London Paddington Station. Full details of special train services are released as the festival approaches.

A fleet of buses provides a free shuttle service to all ticket holders from Castle Cary Station to the Festival. This service generally runs into the night for as long as trains continue to arrive so nobody needs to worry about being stranded overnight with all their gear on a station platform.

The free bus service will drop you off at the Festival Bus Station close to Pedestrian Gate A and return you to Castle Cary at the end of the weekend.

By Car

If you are driving your car to the festval then don't forget that you will need to purchase a Car Park sticker (cost £55 in 2024). It's best to order this at the same time as you pay off the balance of your festival tickets in early April but it is possible to buy one later if you forget to do so at the time or if your travel arrangements change. You used to be able to simply ring See Tickets and add one to your existing ticket order but I understand that nowadays they will charge you an additional booking fee which seems a bit cheeky. As a last resort it is possible to buy a car park sticker when you arrive at the festival site but be prepared to pay £5 or £10 more than face value and it's cash only at the gate if you choose this option.

While we're talking about car park stickers, a small word of caution if I may. It's sensible not to attach your sticker to your windscreen until shortly before you arrive at the festival site. This is especially applicable if you are stopping at motorway services en-route, where you will often find police pouncing on cars which are on their way to the festival in search of an easy drugs bust. Whether you have illicit substances on you or not, having the entire contents of your car rifled through is seriously inconvenient and a situation best avoided if at all possible.

Another handy tip regarding car park stickers is that the glue they use to attach them to your windscreen is probably stronger than the stuff they used to stick the heat resistant tiles onto the space shuttle. Attaching the car park sticker to a piece of acetate and then sticking that onto your car windscreen will mean you can keep the sticker for posterity and reduce the risk of an MOT failure for obscured visibility.

Remember that everybody in your vehicle will need to show the stewards that they have a festival ticket before you will be allowed to enter the car parks.

There are 2 main car parking areas and these are situated to either side of the site. The routes which you need to follow to get to them are colour coded, blue in the east and red in the west. Apart from that I’m afraid you have very little choice as to which of the dozens of car parking fields you end up in. You’ll just be stewarded into whichever one they happen to be filling at the time when you arrive.

Very few of the main eastern car parks are particularly close to the nearest pedestrian gate and you will also have to scramble down the "Hill of Death", which isn’t anywhere near as dreadful as it sounds but is nevertheless a rough and fairly steep track.

Access to the car parks to the west is comparatively flatter but since the expansion of the site in this area to include new camping fields in 2010 you may find yourself parked in one of the "Pink" car parks on the northern side of the A361. Each of the car parking fields is colour coded and numbered so make sure you keep a note of which field you are parked in so you can find your way back to your car when you leave.

In the past the car parks didn't officially open until the same time as the pedestrian gates, at 8am on the Wednesday morning. But with an unexpectedly large number of people turning up early in 2009, the roads around the site got very congested with traffic at a standstill waiting for the car parks to open.

As a result, an amendment to the license in 2010 allowed the car parks to be opened at 9pm on the Tuesday evening. Since then many thousands of people have taken advantage of this every year and have already been in the car parks and queuing to get into the site long before the pedestrian gates open at 8am on the Wednesday. 

The Festival has its own radio station, Worthy FM (wavelength 87.7FM), which often has traffic updates both before and after the festival so you can get a good idea of how long you are likely to be queuing for. Later arrivals will find themselves parked anything up to a mile away from the nearest pedestrian gate, so be prepared for a long hike. However you will probably have the advantage of a comparatively quicker getaway at the end of the weekend.

Warning - Although the actual festival site is cleared of the resident cows some weeks before the festival, this isn't necessarily the case in the car parks so mind where you are putting your feet as you skip barefoot in excitement from your car!

If you are being given a lift to the festival by a friend or relative who isn't staying then please note that vehicles will not usually be allowed to stop on the road close to the festival site. The Drop-Off Point is at the Bath and West Showground, which is sign-posted to the south of Shepton Mallet, from where you are able to get a free shuttle bus to the Festival Bus Station.

If you are arriving by taxi then there are taxi ranks at the Bronze Gate near Pedestrian Gate A and at the Bath & West Showground.  Local taxi companies are given clear instructions on how to get there in order to avoid blocking the traffic when they are dropping off and picking up festival goers.

If you are hitch hiking then please be very careful. The roads are narrow with high banks and few footpaths and the traffic can be very heavy.

By Campervan or with a Caravan

The majority of campervan drivers and people bringing a caravan or trailer tent approach the festival via the "Blue Route" in order to access the fields specifically reserved for them to the east of the site. Between 2010 and 2019 an additional 2 fields were reserved to the West of the site, but in 2022 these fields were given over to the new Sticklinch pre-erected camping area, much to my personal dismay as this had been my home for the previous 6 festivals.

Due to the muddy ground conditions in 2016 a number of campervans had to be relocated to the Bath and West showground and this was deemed to be such a success that you are now able to choose this as an alternative option. Running at least every 15 minutes, a 24 hour shuttle bus service is available to ferry people to and from the site from here.  Showers and proper flushing toilets are available at Bath & West for the use of campervan dwellers.

Please note that security will not allow you to sleep in your vehicle if you park it in the ordinary car parks. You will need to buy a permit in advance to access the Campervan fields and you must already have purchased a general admission ticket (not a coach package) against your registration number in order to be able buy one. 

Campervan passes cost £200 in 2024 and, whereas previously they weren't available until the ticket balances were payable in April, they have gone on sale (and sold out very quickly) just a few weeks after the main ticket sale date for the last few festivals.  There is often a resale of returned passes in April.

Another change in 2016 saw the purchasing ticket holder's name printed on the campervan permit in order to prevent people selling them on at a profit, as had previously been the case.  Officially the named person has to be in the van when you arrive.

You need to decide whether you want to be parked in the East Campervan Fields or at the Bath & West Showground at the time you buy your permit.  The option for the East Fields is also split between "Quiet" and "General".  My van was parked in the "East Quiet" Fields in 2022 and 2023 and I honestly don't understand why they are named as such because they are actually comparitively close to the all night noise from the South East corner.  They are however nearer to Pedestrian Gate C than the "East General" Fields and so there is less walking involved getting in and out of the festival each day.

Due to the narrowness of the lanes accessing the fields around Worthy Farm, vehicles which are more than 8 metres in length (not including any towing vehicle) must choose the Bath and West option and buy an oversized plot which is priced at £300.

The festival has capacity for approximately 6,000 campervans. 75% of these are able to be located in the fields on the Eastern side with the remaining 25% catered for at the Bath & West Showground.  However the introduction of the Showground option doesn't really seem to have reduced demand for the campervan passes and they always sell out within a few minutes when they go on sale.

The rules as to what does and doesn't constitute a campervan seem to change from time to time so check out the Campervan Information on the Official Website and keep an eye out for last minute changes in arrangements, which invariably seem to happen. As a general rule of thumb you must have fitted beds and permanent cooking or washing facilities in order for your van to be allowed entry so an old transit van with a mattress and a bucket in the back won’t cut the mustard I’m afraid.

Family and friends can usually camp with you. Officially they are only able to pitch their tents behind your vehicle and within the allotted 8m x 7m space but this never seems to be enforced particularly rigidly as you can see from this picture of the encampment I had set up with friends in 2023. Awnings are allowed provided they are reasonably sized although a friend of mine reckons that he gets away with erecting one which is so large that the stewards are often a little concerned that he might be planning to start up his own dance tent!

The Campervan Fields are one of the few parts of the festival which are positioned outside of the main fence. However the fields are still secure and are protected from possible intruders by some of the fencing which used to surround the main site before the “ring of steel” superfence was introduced in 2002.

You will have to queue and run the gauntlet of security searches each time you enter the festival and it can be a bit of a hike, or indeed a bus ride if you are coming in from the Bath & West, so it's as well to take everything you need for the whole day and use the Property Lock Ups to store anything that you don't want to carry around with you all day. Some people actually go as far as pitching a small tent inside the festival so that they have somewhere more convenient to store warm clothes and other gear or to have a quick power nap during the day.

There are toilets, water points and some catering facilities in the Campervan Fields, although it is often felt that these could do with being more widely available and better maintained. Unfortunately the organisers of many festivals appear to be under the impression that all campervans have the luxury of an onboard toilet and the sanitation provisions in these fields can sometimes be somewhat inadequate as a result.

If your van does have a loo then there are chemical waste disposal points in the campervan fields. Please dispose of your waste into these rather than pouring the contents of your toilet cassette into the composting loos.

Also please note that the "No Glass" rule applies just as much in the Campervan Fields as it does in the rest of the festival site and your van could well be searched to ensure that you have no bottles or other glass items when you arrive. It's as well to leave any sharp knives which could be perceived as weapons at home as well. This always seems a bit silly to me as you can stab somebody with a tent peg but you can't slice a tomato with one. Rules are rules however! I've actually had my bread knife confiscated at another festival.

There is no electrical hook up available in the Campervan Fields and generators are banned so make sure that your leisure battery is fully charged up before you arrive and be sparing on how much juice you use in order to make it last for 5 or 6 days. If you are worried that your battery won't last for the whole festival then it might be worthwhile investing in a spare one or a solar powered trickle charger. If you absolutely have to run your engine to recharge your battery then please keep it to a minimum and do it at a time of day when you are not going to annoy your neighbours with noise or fill up their vans with toxic exhaust fumes.

Although there are fresh water taps in the campervan fields they can be quite a long walk away from where you are parked and you certainly won't be able to drive your van to them.  So ideally you should arrive with enough water in your tanks to see you through the weekend.  If this isn't possible or if you are likely to run out of water, make sure that you have an Aquaroll or some other means of easily transporting water from the taps to your van.

The Campervan Fields are open to punters from the Tuesday lunchtime nowadays although you won’t be able to access the main site until the pedestrian gates open at 8am on the Wednesday. If you are arriving on the Tuesday you may well find that the caterers in these fields sometimes aren't up and running yet so take enough food with you to at least keep you going until the Wednesday morning.

The question is often asked what order the Campervan Fields to the east of the site are filled.  As a general rule of thumb, the earlier you get there, the closer you will be parked to Pedestrian Gate C.  However for a rather more accurate guideline I came across the following from a lady named Fiona Ingram, who I understand is the overall manager of the campervan fields:- E21 is mainly on a steep slope but the flatter area at the top of the field is reserved for accessible camping, staff and friends and relatives of the Eavis family.  Quiet Camping is then filled in the order E20, E23, half of E24, E19, then the remainder of E24 and finally E25.  General Camping is filled as a clockwise horseshoe in the order E18, E17, E16, E15, E14.

By Motorbike

There is secure parking for motorbikes provided free of charge at Bronze Gate near to Pedestrian Gate A in the north western corner of the site and you can store your helmet and other motorcycling gear in the Property Lock Ups. See the official site's guide on taking a bike to Glasto.

By Bicycle

Punters who cycle to Worthy Farm are allowed to take thier trusty steed into the festival and use the Property Lock Ups to store it safely. Some people actually use their bikes to get around the site, although this does become difficult and rather dangerous once the paths and trackways become congested with pedestrian traffic.

For the last few years Glastonbury has introduced an initiative to get more people to cycle to the festival. Cyclists have the use of their own designated camping space in the Darble camping field close to Pedestrian Gate A, with private showers and lock up facilities.

There is also a luggage delivery system available to and from the site for cyclists to use from various pre-arranged locations. 

I read that somebody was actually planning to cycle all the way to the festival from Stockholm in 2023.  Hats off if you made it Sir!

By Air

Admittedly not the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation but if you live overseas or a long way from Somerset you might want to look in to the possibility of flying rather than traveling by land and sea. My friend Riff often flies down to the festival from Newcastle and this is what she has to say about her experiences (prices are circa 2019 so expect infaltionary increases):-

"The nearest airport to the festival is Bristol International from where you can sometimes get a coach transfer direct to the festival. National Express also run coaches from London Heathrow - see the official website for further information. Alternatively you could either share a taxi or hire a car at the airport. The cost of a taxi from Bristol is roughly £60.

The easiest way to travel to the festival by public transport is to get the Airport Flyer bus into Bristol city centre and get connecting transport from there. The fare on the Airport Flyer is £7 single or £11 for a return. This service stops at Temple Meads train station and Bristol bus station. Buses run direct to the Festival from Temple Meads and trains to Castle Cary. National Express coaches also run to the festival from the bus station.

When you leave the festival, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport. Bear in mind that you will be competing with all the other festival traffic heading towards Bristol and the M5. If you are using public transport, you will have to change onto the Airport Shuttle bus in Bristol in order to get back to the airport.

When you arrive at the airport you might find you have a bit of trouble checking in your rucksack. Unless your rucksack and all its loose straps are fully self-contained you may find that you are encouraged to join the "Non Standard Luggage" queue. Bristol is a relatively small airport and doesn't have much capacity for dealing with non-standard baggage so having to queue a second time could well add an extra 30 minutes onto your check-in time. I've seen situations in the past where people have been in danger of missing their flights as a result of this delay."

What should I take with me?

There is a comprehensive recommended kit list on the Official Website. Wet wipes might sound an odd item to include, and have come under some criticism lately for not being particularly environmentally friendly, but you can get bio-degradable or reusable ones nowadays and they are an absolute godsend if you don't fancy slopping water round your tent or baring your dangly bits for a wash in full view of 200,000+ fellow campers.

Don't forget sunscreen and a hat. The festival is held on the weekend immediately following the summer solstice so the sun is at its strongest and, apart from the obvious health issues, sleeping on rough ground with sunburn is no fun at all. We had unusually hot Glastonburys in 2010 and 2017, when literally thousands of people ignored the advice to slip, slap and slop and had to be treated for sun stroke and heat exhaustion as a result. 

On the other hand it can also get surprisingly cold at night so a good warm jumper or fleece is essential for those night time shenanigans in the Naughty Corner and up at the Stone Circle. Avoid denim jeans as they take a long time to dry if they get wet. You're much better off with cargo pants made of cotton or technical synthetic materials which are lighter and will dry quickly and they also have plenty of big, secure pockets for all your essentials.

Always remember the age old festival goers' saying that "there is no such thing as bad weather - just inappropriate clothing!" As long as you have clothes which keep you shaded when it's sunny, warm when it's cold and dry when it's wet then you will be fine. There are dozens of stalls selling all manner of clothing if you need to add to your festival wardrobe.

Personally I also enjoy a few creature comforts and would add things like a tent light and a camping chair but these are by no means essential if you are traveling light. Another handy addition is an empty fabric conditioner bottle which, because of the wide neck, makes a very adequate unisex in-tent toilet for when you get caught short and don't fancy having to get dressed to go marching in the rain to the nearest loo. Lads with reliable aim can usually make do with a plastic milk bottle. Alternatively, “Travel Johns” are also available from camping stockists. These contain a gel similar to that found in disposable nappies.

But having said all that, the most restricting factor on how much gear you take is whether or not you will be able to carry it, which, in a seamless piece of journalism, brings me on to:-

How do I carry my gear?

I really can't emphasise enough just how BIG Glastonbury is. Remember that you could have to carry all of your gear a very long way up and down hills and over rough (and sometimes muddy) terrain. Possibly as much as two miles in each direction. So make sure that you have the means to transport your gear safely without bags splitting or you or your trolley collapsing. If you are arriving by car then it is always better to make two or more trips than to end up stranded in the rain halfway between car and camp site with your gear strewn all over the ground.

Back in my camping days I had an 80 litre rucksack which I had also used for backpacking around Asia and was therefore easily big enough to carry my sleeping bag and more than enough clothes for a week. My rucksack had a waterproof cover which I could just slip over the top if it started to rain. If you don't have one of these then make sure you pack everything into sealed plastic bags before they go into your rucksack so that if you get a soaking between the bus or car park and your chosen camp site, you will at least be assured of having dry clothes and bedding when you've got your tent up.

A good few years ago I also invested in this "Sack Truck":-

Note the large inflatable tyres (which are often covered with genuine Glastonbury mud) and sturdy tubular steel construction, which are essential in order to deal with the rough and uneven ground. I got it from my local garden centre for the princely sum of £17.99. I have used this at every Glastonbury since 2003 and plenty of other festivals as well in order to carry a five-man tent, a double airbed, a collapsible chair, all my other camping gear and 48 cans of beer with room to spare. It can also double up as a three-seater bench or even a Heath Robinson shower if you strap a water carrier to it and squat underneath the tap.

Other successful means of transporting gear are wheelbarrows, wheelie bins or basically anything else that is sturdily constructed and has large wheels, but make sure you have plenty of rope, straps or strong bungee cords in order to hold everything in place over the humps and bumps. Sledges also seem to work well in wet conditions.
Definitely out are suitcases and airport style wheelie bags, shopping trolleys, or lightweight collapsible trolleys, which I know from personal experience tend to collapse of their own accord just when you least expect or want them to.  

The recycling areas become a graveyard of broken sub-standard trolleys on the Wednesday and Thursday of the festival.  I was actually quite alarmed by the number of trolleys people brought to the festival in 2023 which were simply not up to the job and which unsurprisingly lost wheels or buckled under the weight they were carrying at the first bump on the track.  

So seriously folks, unless you are going to invest in something which is guaranteed to get your gear to your campsite in one piece then only take what you can put on your back, because if you don't then the chances are you are going to end up carrying it anyway.

What if I forget to bring something?

Other than a very small Co-Op in Pilton village there aren't any shopping facilities within easy walking distance of the festival.  But don’t worry! There are several General Purpose stalls on site. They might be a little more pricy than your local Lidl but they are extremely useful for replacing those everyday commodities which you somehow managed to leave at home or run out of during your stay.

As a new development for 2019 The Co-Op opened a store onsite, which was located at the bottom of the Park Home Ground camping field. They didn't have any booze on sale but there were plenty of options for fruit, sandwiches, bags of ice and mountains of Pot Noodles. 

Unfortunately in 2019 the Co-Op didn't seem to get the message regarding the ban on single use plastics but this was corrected in 2022 with 100% compostable packaging being used.

You can read The Co-Op's announcement of this development made during the lead up to the 2019 festival here, including news of the fact that they were looking to open the new village shop, which had been absent since the previous one closed its doors in 2012.

If you absolutely have to leave the site for supermarket supplies, regular buses run to both Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet. Check out the festival website or have a chat with the helpful people on the Information Points for timetables showing when these run.

Go to Part 2