Are the campsites separate from the Festival?
Where is the best place to camp?
This is far and away the most Frequently Asked Question of all so please excuse me if I dwell on the subject for a little while. I suggest that anybody who doesn't get excited about looking at lots of photos of vast grassy acreages filled with nylon and canvas might like to move right along to the next section at this point because every year since I first started this project in 2004 I have made an annual tour around the site taking photos in the various camping fields so that I can actually show you what they are like as well as giving you a little description of a few of the pros and cons of each one and how best to access them.
When people find a campsite they like they tend to return to the same spot year after year. In fact a survey of festival goers a few years ago showed that no less than 60% of return visitors had gone back to the same place they were camped the previous year, so it's well worth giving this subject some serious consideration in advance rather than leaving things to chance when you get there.
Take a look at the 2022 Site Map for reference and we'll work our way anti-clockwise around the site starting in the top right hand corner. To give you a rough idea of how quickly the various fields fill up all of these photos other than the one of the Spring Ground disabled campsite were taken sometime between 10am and 1pm on the Thursday in either 2017 or 2019.
Cockmill Meadow (Family Camping)
Cockmill Meadow is entered almost immediately from Gate B but this is quite difficult to access for the majority of ticket holders unless you manage to get yourself into the Eastern "Purple" car parks, so alternatively use the "Blue" Car Parks and enter the site at Gate C, turning right up the track which runs uphill between the Acoustic Tent and the Kidz Field (you can clearly see the big helter-skelter in the Kidz Field in the photo above).
It's a long hike from the Western Gates A and D so people entering via those gates with their kids may find it more convenient to choose the alternative Family Camping area in Wicket Ground. Later arrivals will also find that Wicket Ground will still have masses of space available long after Cockmill Meadow is full.
Again Gates B and C to the East of the site offer the quickest and easiest access to this area.
Spring Ground (Disabled Camping)
The Disabled Camping area is reserved for people with permanent disabilities and their carers and Campervans are also allowed in this field for disabled visitors. Make sure you register well in advance in order to be able to camp here. There are more details on facilities for the disabled together with some useful links for first hand experiences later on in Part 4. - photo courtesy of Dawn Fletcher-Park
Lime Kiln Ground
Wicket Ground (Family Camping)
The Beat Hotel was situated at the bottom of this field with music playing until 3am so, assuming the new San Remo venue which replaces it keeps similar hours in 2022, then earplugs would probably be a good idea if you fancy an early night. You will also find that this field can suffer from 24 hour traffic noise as the main access road for the site runs behind a fence along the bottom of the field. However, the area doesn't get as congested with foot traffic as it once did prior to the John Peel Tent moving to its current position in 2016.
Incidentally the caravan in the photo above doesn't belong to a member of the public. It's one of the campsite steward bases which are to be found in all but the very smallest camping fields. These friendly volunteers are the first port of call for resolving any camping issues that you may have.
Like Pylon Ground, a proportion of Rivermead also appears to have been allocated to crew camping in 2022.
One thing you do have to remember if you camp in Bushy Ground is that the Park Farm farmhouse and dairy unit lie between Bushy Ground and the remainder of the festival site and, as the farm is out of bounds to festival goers, you will have to navigate your way around it in order to find your way to and from your tent each day, which can be a bit of a faff.
Bushy Ground is easily accessible from either of the Western Pedestrian Gates A or D.
The quickest way to find your way to Oxylers when arriving at the festival is via Gate A, from which it is a relatively easy downhill walk through Silver Hayes, but it's also very accessible from Pedestrian Gate D once you've navigated your way around the crew camping area at the bottom of Dairy Ground.
South Western Camping
The remainder of the public camping fields which we haven't covered so far are all to be found within the South Western portion of the site and these are all reasonably handy to reach if you park your car in the Western Car Parks and enter the site via Pedestrian Gate D. You will find that it is a very long hike through the festival site to get to these fields from any of the other gates, and especially from Gates B & C in the East.
I was actually very surprised at how much space was still available when I last made my Thursday lunchtime meanderings through this field in 2017. Most of the people who were arriving at that time seemed to be herding straight through here in search of non-existent spaces in the more popular fields to the south of the site, most of which had already been choc-a-bloc full since the Wednesday afternoon.
Please note that on every site map which was produced between 2007 and 2015 this field was known as Paines Ground and vice versa with Paines Ground called Dairy Ground. Quite bizarrely, nine whole years later, somebody realised that these fields had been labelled the wrong way round and so their names were switched in 2016. So if somebody recommends you to camp in Dairy Ground please remember they may well be referring to the field next door.
South Park 1
South Park 2
Park Home Ground
Like its neighbours, Park Home Ground slopes gently and it also has the advantage of being right next to The Park entertainment area, which occupies a tree-lined portion at the top of the field. It's also just a short hop over the disused railway track to the Other Stage Field. And as an additional bonus in 2019 it had the new Co-Op store at the bottom of the field for all your mid-festival retail requirements.
Pennard Hill Ground
One of the most popular camping fields is Pennard Hill Ground, which we can see here looking uphill from the railway embankment with the tipi field, Glastonbury-On-Sea and the lounging area further up the slope behind it. This is where I camped with a group of friends for three of the four Glastonburys between 2008 and 2011.
”Pennards” has the reputation of being a bit of a party zone as it's the closest public camping area to both the Stone Circle and the late night "Naughty Corner" in the South Eastern portion of the site. It fills up very quickly and there is usually very little space left here by the Wednesday lunchtime so you really need to be quick off the mark to get yourself a decent sized pitch here.
Major drainage improvement has since been undertaken to alleviate the problem should we be unfortunate enough to see a repeat of such extreme rainfall and in recent years the area at the bottom of the field has been cordoned off for crew camping.
How can I tell which fields still have space when I get there?
If you are still not certain where you want to head for when you arrive at the site then ask the campsite stewards, who should have up to date information as to which areas have already reached their maximum capacity. There are usually large maps of the site at each of the pedestrian gates and at the camping steward bases, with the fields which are designated as already being full shaded out.
If you tune your car radio in to Worthy FM as you approach the festival site you will find that they will be giving out details of which fields still have plenty of space for you to camp.
On several occasions I’ve also seen people pitching tents in areas which are designated as fire lanes. Please don’t do this or you’ll only find that you are asked to move your tent to somewhere where it isn’t blocking an emergency access.
Can I save space for my mates?
If you must tape off an area for friends who are arriving later, head for one of the less popular camping fields where space isn't going to be at such a premium. It would be polite to put up signs around your patch saying something along the lines of "Space saved for friends arriving Thursday, Thankyou". Your neighbours are less likely to think you're just being greedy. Also make sure that the tape you use is highly visible to prevent tripping and don't tie it to your tent so that if somebody does trip over it they won't take your tent down with them.
Any other camping tips?
Try to pitch your tent away from toilets and pathways if you want to avoid unpleasant smells and having your tent trampled into the ground. The temporary tracking is great for getting around but is also incredibly noisy if you camp nearby and the sound of boots clomping along throughout the night will drive you insane. The same applies to the slamming metal doors at the longdrop toilets.
If at all possible pitch your tent with the door facing downhill and/or away from the prevailing wind. This will prevent a pool forming in your porch if it rains or if the wind gets up. It's also much more comfortable to sleep with your head pointing slightly uphill.
If the weather is sunny then most tents become unbearably hot by 8am. If you want to have a bit of a lie in every morning then try to pitch your tent to the West of trees, hedgerows or other large tents and structures so that your tent is shaded from early morning sunlight. Alternatively some tents are made from reflective or black out material and tend to stay cooler for longer. Others have openings at both ends in order to create a through-draft.
Not all guy ropes are essential in anything other than stormy conditions and the more you have pegged out the more likely people are to trip over them and damage your tent. And please don’t tie guy ropes together or block the paths which naturally form through the campsites with other obstacles. People have to get in and out of the campsite somehow and blocking their access and exit is not only anti-social it is also dangerous in the event of an emergency. If you want to minimise the number of people walking past your tent then simply pitch it away from the main pathways and as close to your neighbour’s tent as possible.
Can I stay in a Tipi?
Yes, special tickets are available for groups of people who want to share the ethnic experience of living in a tipi for the duration of the festival. These cost £1,150 in 2022, which sounds a lot but the tipis comfortably accommodate 6 people, so you are effectively paying a little over £38 a night each for your accommodation for 5 nights.
Tickets for the Tipi Village usually go on sale in late October or November at the same time as those for the Campervan Fields and Worthy View, although unlike Worthy View there is no pre-sale for Coach package ticket holders.
Security - Is there much crime?
However the introduction of the Super Fence and much better security both around the site, in the car parks and also in the neighbouring villages, all but eradicated one of the issues which seriously threatened the very existence of the festival. Muggings at the festival, for example, fell from 157 in 2000 to a statistic which is hardly ever reported nowadays.
Do's and Don'ts to make sure that the risk and potential impact are minimised:
Don't take anything that you can't afford, or wouldn't want, to lose.
Don't leave anything visible in your car and open the glove box to show it is empty.
Don't leave anything valuable or attractive to thieves in your tent.
Don't padlock your tent. This is an advertisement to any thief that there is nobody home and there is something worth stealing inside. A padlock is no protection against a knife and then you have a slashed and ruined tent into the bargain as well as anything you may lose.
Don't keep all your money in one place. Use two wallets and keep one with some cash and a spare debit or credit card safely locked away so that if you do lose one it won't completely ruin your Festival.
Do use the Property Lock Ups.
Do get to know your neighbours, look out for one another and report anything suspicious to the police or campsite stewards.
Do take all of your gear out of your bags as soon as you set up camp. Thieves are opportunist and if they can't grab a bag and run within a couple of seconds they generally won't bother.
Do keep your valuables in your sleeping bag at night. Many people have woken to find their tent open and their trousers missing together with their wallet, phone, car keys etc.
Do kick up a fuss if somebody comes into your tent during the night. If you don’t then you’ll probably find that your friends and neighbours are the next people to be paid a visit.
What are the Property Lock Ups Like?
They are free to use although a donation towards the charities and peace organisations who run them would be appreciated if you can afford one. They operate a cloakroom style ticket retrieval system but will also ask for details of your name and address in case you manage to lose your ticket and so that they can verify that you are the genuine owner of the stuff you leave when you come back to collect it. It's a good idea to take a photo of your ticket as a back up precaution in case it goes missing.
The picture above gives you a good idea of what the Lock Ups look like. You can store anything in there from a wallet to a bicycle. The lock ups are open 24 hours a day but they close at midday on the Monday so make sure you have collected anything you have left there by then.
How easy is it to find your way about?
Getting lost at Glastonbury is all part of the fun and in all honesty there are some parts of the site where I still have to look at a map and think twice about which way I need to go in order to get to my desired destination. If you do end up going slightly wrong then the chances are you'll stumble across something random and unexpected so it's never really a massive deal.
If you still have no idea where you are then ask one of the stewards in the pink hi-viz jackets or just find your way to the nearest Information Point where they have far more detailed maps available for your convenience and the staff will be able to show you exactly where you are and give you directions on how to get to wherever it is you want to be.
A third track, known as Stage Road runs from Vehicle Gate 5 in the northwest and provides vehicle access to the Silver Hayes and Pyramid/Other Stage backstage areas. However, when it re-emerges from the other side of the Pyramid Field it is available for pedestrian use and continues past the Cider Bus, the Kidz, Acoustic and Theatre Fields and on to Pedestrian Gate C in the East.