Glastonbury Advice: How to Survive the Best Festival in the World

Glastonbury was without a doubt one of the best weeks of my life. And I don’t bold text lightly. I went with my boyfriend and our best couple friends and managed to have fun whatever the weather was throwing at us. You can read more about my first time at Glastonbury here, or read on to find out what I learned and how I’ll survive Glastonbury next time…

The weather at Glastonbury

I experienced cold, rain, torrential rain, storms, thunder, sunshine and extreme heat during my five nights at Glastonbury. Trust me, you need to be prepared for all weathers, including snow most probably. Good wellies are a must, as is a rain jacket, flip flops, umbrella (maybe) and a ground sheet for your tent.

You can buy all the essentials there, if you need. They literally had everything in the shops – the boyf bought some wellies for £15 that served him well. I also bought some long socks for £3 and neon face paint for the same.

Glastonbury Advice
Glastonbury crew waiting in line – good job we had a bottle of Jager to entertain us

Glastonbury food

There are a ridiculous amount of food options at Glastonbury. From falafel wraps, to salt beef bagels (arr yes), to milkshakes, burgers and hotdogs. Every cuisine you could want, you can find at Glastonbury.

Me and my chums did take a few things – we made ourselves a sausage breakfast one day, and some hot soup another. We also took plenty of sweets to keep the energy up and some homemade flapjack which was especially enjoyable sat in a mucky field.

We also had a stove and a percolator – yes, that’s the type of camper I am – so we were treated to freshly brewed coffee every morning.

Next time I probably won’t bother taking the sausages and other food. It wasn’t that expensive to buy from the stalls and it saves a lot of time, hassle and equipment, although I did enjoy my morning brew.

Food was around £5+ per dish.

Read more: The Best Food for Festivals

Top Glastonbury Advice
Not much business for the ice cream man for the first few days…

Drink for Glasto

I will learn from my mistakes and on my next time at Glastonbury Festival I will definitely take more booze. We had a few bottles of spirits and a carton or two of wine between four and kept panicking we’d run out. We didn’t realise you were actually allowed to take alcohol into the festival you see. From my previous festival experiences I thought it would be for the tent only.

Of course being in Somerset meant we drank plenty of cider along the way. There was a delightful range in Brother’s Cider available and I also tried some West Country home brew, which was a warm cider that made me want to vom immediately.

Beers were around £4.50 a pint.

Read more: The Best Alcohol for Festivals 

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Help for Glastonbury

Drugs at Glasto

From my previous posts on Bestival, EXIT, Field Day, Eastern Electrics and Parklife I know what you kids want to know: can you take drugs into Glastonbury? The official answer is no. The other answer is that I didn’t have to go through one check to get in there. That’s not saying you won’t have to though, so don’t get cocky.  I can’t imagine anything worse than arriving at Glastonbury all pumped and ready to go and then being turned away while your mates go in. Imagine!

So, although I’d say you’re pretty safe getting them in it’s not really worth it. Leave it up to someone else and buy them in there if you’re that desperate. I can guarantee you’ll be on such a natural high anyway you won’t need any drugs at Glastonbury.

Advice for Glastonbury Festival
Yep, there was mud. Yep, I got stuck in it…

Keeping clean at Glastonbury

My friend paid £17 to wash and dry her hair at one of the hairdressing stands – there was some misunderstanding and I got mine for £5, thankfully. So we split the cost. For this grand sum we got to use their ‘solar heated’ showers – just a bag that had about as much heat in it as an ice lolly – their shampoo, hairdryers and straighteners.

I was enraged at the time of paying, but after three days of rain, grot and grime I was feeling grim and that £11 was possibly the best I could’ve spent. I was a new woman.

Next year I will be taking my own solar powered shower though at just £3 according to Google shopping search. Might even get to wash the bod then too.

There were rumours of body showers, but I have a feeling they were just for families.

Read more: Beauty Tips for Glastonbury Festival

Glasto toilet situation

Yep, it was as bad as everyone says, but you know what? You kind of get used to it. Now whenever the smell of boozey piss and poo hits my nostrils as I wander through life I’m reminded of happier times at Glastonbury Festival.

Make sure you take toilet roll around with you, and baby wipes if you fancy a quick body rub in the portaloo while you’re there. A torch is a must if you’re out at night – there can be some nasty surprises on those toilet seats I warn you now.

If like many of Glastonbury’s festivalgoers, you decide to give the toilets a miss towards the end of the festival, make sure you find a quiet spot to do your business and not up against my tent.

At night it’s only natural to want to use the ‘ensuite’ as well – if you know what I’m saying.

Read more: How to Avoid Festival Toilets in 8 Simple Ways

Top tips for toilets at Glastonbury Festival
Hanging out by the poo sucking tractor

The site

Glastonbury Festival site is huge and I camped in the wrong spot. Study the site map carefully before you go and decide where you want to be before you go. I got overexcited at space and just plonked down in the first available one, but it meant we had to trudge across the camp to get to where we wanted to be for the stages, big mistake.

The site is 1,000 acres. You will walk for miles at Glastonbury and still not see it all. There are many entrances and exits and if I was going to give you one piece of Glastonbury advice I’d say to make a plan before you go as to which field you need to head to to camp.

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Advice for Glastonbury

Tent choice

I stayed in a 3-man with lilos set out on the floor. It was quite cramped, but only because when we arrived on the first day everything we owned that wasn’t in a bag got caked in mud. To try and keep the muddy stuff apart from the clean took a lot of effort – in the end we just gave up.

Also, because we set up in the rain and just wanted to get in our tents we didn’t do a very good job of it. Top tip: take the time to pitch your tent exactly how you want it. We couldn’t get out of ours as we’d pitched too close to our friends and had to adopt a baby-out-of-the-birth-canal movement every time we wanted to – not good for emergency wees in the middle of the night.

Having a stand up tent would be a joy – and possibly worth the investment for Glastonbury 2013. Have to see how much money I have at the time.

Glastonbury Advice and help
Mud mud mud mud mud…

What to take to Glasto

Check out my Glastonbury Kit List, as well as the article below…

Glastonbury essentials

Good luck. Let me know if you have more tips or questions below and I’ll do my best to help or pass them on…

What to take to Glastonbury

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  1. I still can’t believe that after having lived in the UK for almost 7 years I didn’t manage to go to Glastonbury once 🙁
    I went to other festivals like Reading, Download and V, but in same ways I’ve always managed to miss what it seems to be the biggest one. One more reason to go back I guess. 🙂

  2. There are free communal showers (subject to a small donation) in the Greenpeace field near West Holts stage (Jazz World as was). They can be a little temperamental and get completely rammed in the morning (try the afternoon instead.You can only use the shower gel/shampoo they provide (which is like non scented ecover type stuff, is not offensive and gets rid of the dirt/mud/other stuff).

  3. Hi Vicky, love all your Glasto posts. Getting excited for next week now reading this.
    Could I just ask, do you remember whereabouts the place you went to for the shower/hairdryer ect was? I applied for that ‘Vanity Van’ to wash my hair but no reply, I think it got booked up so quickly. However I’m one of those pathetic girls who just needs to give my hair a good wash and would like to find an alternative 🙂

    1. Hi Jenna! There are loads of them around, don’t worry. My advice would be to find out what time they open on the first day and then when you decide you need a wash get down there early. I was camping near the John Peel stage and there was one there, but honestly, they’re everywhere. Have a brilliant time!

  4. From one Vickie to another 2011 was almost my first Glasto experience and agree with you on many of the points. I am braving it this time husband and 2 kids in tow, hmmmmm.

  5. This blog may well be the best thing on the Internet, you have my eternal gratitude. As tickets were so difficult to come by this year (2013), only myself and one other friend could get tickets. Said friend has since gotten herself pregnant (we couldn’t be happier) but it does mean that I am going it alone on my first ever festival and this blog has just been endlessly helpful. I hope to see you there amongst the other 130,000 lucky bastards that got tickets!

    1. Ooo that’s exciting! You’ll have a brilliant time regardless. I think a few people go on their own – you could check out the forums on if you’re looking for a pal, or just enjoy meeting randoms while you’re there. Either way it will be brill!

      1. Reckon that at 74 this may be my last Glastonbury – still I’ve been going since 1985, probably around my 10/11th time I guess. My first one was mud mud mud so had a baptism of fire and have since been to a few muddy ones but a few brilliantly sunny ones too. There are hot showers at the bottom of the kids field (still there I think), which used to be both sexes mixed, possibly still are, haven’t been for a few years. They are free but you need to get there early, before 7, or queue for hours. In the early days you could have fires and they supplied fire wood. I’ve volunteered several times in the 90’s which was great and free. Decided not to go with Oxfam this year as I wanted my free time. Going alone but lots of friends are going. Your comments are very helpful.

        1. Wow, love that you’ve been so many times! I might apply to go with Oxfam next year, but yes, I’d imagine it’s hard to steer yourself away from teh action to work. Hope you have a great summer!

  6. There are flushable clean(ish) porcelain toilets at the top of the hill after the back of the pyramid stage field. Pleasant enough smell, comfortable enough seat and quite quiet of people. A necessity since discovery for my fussy bottom

  7. 2013 will be my 6th visit so i reckon that makes me fairly experienced and i dont think iv heard a better review of glastonbury than this one.

    1. Yay, thanks Paul! That comment has literally made my day 🙂 Very jealous you’ve been six times – I hope I’m like you one day! Have fun in 2013…

  8. Tip for weeing in the night. Take a fabric softener bottle and a funnel. It’s a bit undignified, but practical. Esp if you really need to go/can’t find torch/camped too far away from loos. Leave a little bit of softener in the bottom of the bottle, and the wee won’t smell over night. Make sure you empty it every morning, though! And don’t position over your sleeping bag!

  9. But, but… Vicky, I keep looking for your Glastonbury Kit List and I can’t find it 🙁 Can you please tell us where it is?
    Otherwise, BIG THANKS for all the advice, it is priceless!

    1. Thank you, and it will be coming soon, don’t worry! Sorry, it’s not there yet… but it will definitely be up in time for Glastonbury 2013 🙂

      1. Oh. Thanks for the reply. I thought it’s already here, there, somewhere… 🙂
        No problem! I will follow your posts.

  10. love glastonbury ,i ve taken all my children there as its such a great experiance ive been lucky enough to get a ticket for me and my 26 year old daughter this year,ive done v fest,guilfest,i.o.w,vanfest and big day out in sydney but glasto is the best,,,if you want food go to the green fields for a great choice at great prices… im 56 now so i hink it may be my last………..dont grow up,grow sideways

    1. Noooo, don’t ever let it be your last! Very jealous you’ve been so much and congrats on getting a ticket 🙂

    2. Hi There
      Hope you dont mind me asking but…
      I i just seen your post about you taking your kids to glast
      Im taking mine this year aged 3 and 7, and i am starting to feel a bit nervous (and excited) about it we are going with a group of friends who are also bringing children
      Can you offer any advice please :o)
      Thanks Sarah

      1. There’s a kidz field with all sorts of stuff for kids to do. I’m working this year with Puppet Stew helping kids make puppets. Only adults with children and under 16’s are allowed in and it closes @ 7pm. You’ll find a safe and friendly environment for kidz of all ages.

  11. Hey awesome post! I cant find your glasto kit list though? I will def need it as Im coming from Australia haha thanks

  12. There is a she per toilet for the ladies near the pyramid stage that I’m told are quite well kept, if you want a shower there is free that green peace run though in 2010 they had to stop them because the warm weather had caused water shortages, as for camping we camped up on a hill last time with the bad weather the worry was that it might flood.

  13. Vicky, i’ve been lucky enough to get tickets for 2013, so will be off to my 7th Glasto next year. You’ve put some good advice up.
    I would suggest when you get there and try to find a camping spot – keep walking! When you’re a bit fed up walk some more! It’s nice to get away from the stages a bit so you can have some chill out time!!
    Also, if it’s a really muddy year it helps to keep a spare set of clothes in the car – it may be a trudge back, but it’s nice to have the option of dry clothes!
    Finally – the toilet situation. It’s normally grim around the campsites, especially the long drops!! The portaloo’s by the main stages are actually the best and are kept fairly clean!!
    Have a great time if you’re heading back next year!!

    1. Ooo good tips, especially on the clean set of clothes in the car. Like it. Well done for getting tickets! I’m not going in 2013, sad times. Got a lot going on and can’t commit this early! I know I’ll regret it though… have fun!

  14. all good advice we have been going 20 years ,6 years ago we bought a camper van and we put up a awning,its heaven,although its a bit of a trek back up the hill to the campervan site its well worth it

    1. Wow 20 years! You’re my hero. Ah yes, that’s a good idea. The one thing about Glastonbury is not being able to predict the weather, and I guess that’s useful whatever happens. I hope you have a brilliant time this year. 21st anniversary – that calls for a celebration 🙂

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