If you combined a Disney World made for adults, a carnival, a music festival, a spiritual center and a worldwide cook-off together, you would still not wind up with the creative, mind-blowing concoction that is Glastonbury. Ripped out of a page of the most wild story book ever, this festival reigns as one of the most sought after experiences in the world.
As I have stated in other forms of media, Glastonbury is hands-down, the best festival I have ever attended in my life. The activities, music, people, and vendors made the festival what it is. I knew that going into this, I would have a tough time writing about everything to give a full review — especially because in the six days that I was on the farm, I do not think I even had the opportunity to see half of it. The emotional connection that I feel toward the festival is only a small version of what some people feel after 25+ years of attending. For some people, this is what they look most forward to every year. A magical, happy, loving community forms on Worthy Farm, and people across the globe gather to celebrate its energy.
I have an infinite amount of things to share about the festival, but in this particular post, I will stick to a standard review.
Glastonbury Festival Quick Facts
Crowd Type: Families, Old, Young, Newbies, Veterans & Everything In Between
Music Genre: Rock, Rap, Dubstep, House, name it and you can find it
How To Get There
Getting to Glastonbury is not the easiest. You have the option of either flying into London Airport and taking a coach bus down to Glastonbury (approximately 4 hours without traffic), or you can fly into Bristol Airport and work out transportation to the festival (approximately 1 hour without traffic). The festival does give you some options to transport in/out, and there are other third party vendors that can accommodate you. It is all incredibly organized, you just need to be able to make a decision about what works best for you economically and with timing. It is HIGHLY recommended to arrive early, because the lines going into the festival can take up to 4-5 hours. In addition, the earlier you go, the better spot you have to set up camp. And the closer you are to all the stages, the less time you waste in a day walking back and forth.
Camping at Glastonbury is one of the most fun parts of the festival. Each area designated for camping has a feel of its own, similar to the rest of the festival. Each area is sectioned off, like neighborhoods in a large city. Unlike many U.S. festivals, you’ll park your car and walk yourself and your belongings to your camping area. Camping is also included in the price of your ticket. If you choose to use a campervan instead of a tent, you may. This will allow you to be in a separate campervan field.
For those who are traveling a long way or would like to avoid the hassle of a tent, an area called Worthy View provides pre-pitched tents for a totally stress-free experience (but then again, what’s a festival without a little scrambling?). Similarly, you can book a Tipi and stay in the tipi village.
Glastonbury even goes as far as to offer a family camping area and a disabled camping area. There are free 24-hour property lockups located on the farm as well, so that you are able to protect any valuables you might have. All of the camping information is available online at the main Glastonbury site.
Known as the worlds largest music festival, Glastonbury caters to 175,000 attendees each year. Anyone at the 20th anniversary of EDC Las Vegas in 2016 experienced a crowd of 150,000 (including “headliners” and crew), and might recall how brilliant a gathering of that size can feel. However, when you account for the Glasto crew (who also makes a portion of the crowd, especially when off-duty), this number can stretch up to 215,000. In other words, there’s a TON of people. The good news about the capacity is that because there are so many stages, activities, and different areas, you can leave a more crowded place to seek a smaller one…or vice versa. There are, in fact, several places throughout Glastonbury which will make the festival feel small.
The crowd at this festival is partially what makes it so great. I saw infant children, likely not more than a couple of months old, all the way up to an elderly crowd, easily placed in their mid 70s. Glastonbury promotes and encourages an overly diverse community, so there really is not much that you will not see. Cross dressing, costumes, body paint, masks, nipple covers and bananas suits are just some of the excitement in the crowd here. The festival is centered around both music as well as community, and the crowd represents many subsets of both.
I’m not sure what you would not be able to find at Glastonbury. Vegans, tea-drinkers, crepe-eaters, Asian fans, jerk chicken enthusiasts and pizza go-ers would all be pleased with the selection at the festival. There is not one particular area that is designated for food, but instead, there is food throughout the entire festival. There are lines of vendors that surround each stage. There is a food square located near the West Holt stage, and there are vendors along the pathways while walking in any direction. Your typical vendors will have a basic set up, where you are able to order quickly and pay to eat at the counter. However, there are also more intricate vendors who choose to set up their space as a full-blown shop, complete with lighting, tables, some music, and a relaxed atmosphere.
I enjoyed a cup of hot chai in a nice ceramic mug Thursday morning. I was surrounded by lighting, couches, books, and decorative pillows. I couldn’t believe I was at a music festival. No matter what cuisine you are in the mood for, Glastonbury will have you covered. If you’re a sweet tooth, there are plenty of candy, ice cream stops and bakeries as well.
Things To Do
An easier list would be one of things not available to do at Glastonbury, but that’s not nearly as fun. Here’s a small list of things you can do at Glastonbury:
- Play bingo
- Watch a circus/cabaret performance ANY time of the day
- Make a drum or spoon
- Get a massage in the Healing Fields
- Play “get on the table, get under the table, get back on the table” at the Stone Circle while 200 people cheer you on (and win a free shot)
- Relax at a sauna
- Watch a piano performance outside in the middle of a field
- Go to a laughing yoga or naked yoga class
- Answer a riddle correctly at “The Rabbit Hole” and crawl in to a secret, private entrance
- Watch the Dalai Lama speak, and then sing him “Happy Birthday”
- Go to an indoor club at night in Shangri-La
- Check your email at a Wi-Fi tractor
- Get your entire body face-painted and transformed into an animal of your choice
- Catch a “Special Guest” performance and find an awesome headlining act
- Check out “Loo with a View”
- Watch an incredible firework performance at the Stone Circle to kick off Glastonbury
- Check out a fire/spider performance while watching the headling DJ at Arcadia
- Dance at the silent disco
- Get in a mud fight (because at Glasto, there’s bound to be mud)
- Go swimming in a swimming pool
- Go rock climbing
With the amount of space that there was at this festival, it would be nearly impossible for someone to know what was going on everywhere, at all times. This list is just a small sample of what was available at Glastonbury, what I experienced. If you find something new that I just have to try, please let me know. I’m looking for an excuse to go back!
What Makes this Festival Different?
The fact that I cannot even sum up this festival in words is a direct point to how different it is. I will try my hardest to make this list concise.
- The Fields – Glastonbury is not only large in capacity, but it is gigantic in size. There are 27 areas in total that comprise this magical farm, most of which have more than one stage or place to see some live music. When at full capacity (usually by Friday or Saturday), it can take up to one full hour to walk from one area to the next. Of course, this depends on where you are and how many people are walking, chatting, hi-fiving, or eating along the way.
- Never-Ending Fun – No matter what you like to do or what music you like to listen to, there is always something going on at Glastonbury. Whether it is 5am, 8am, or 11pm, something is going on somewhere. Shangri-La, The Common, and other areas boast nightclubs or outdoor venues which blast music until late in the morning. The best part? Outside of those areas and in the camping grounds, that music cannot be heard.
- “Anything Goes” Mentality – While I have been to other music festivals in the past, there is nothing quite like the mindset that one has at Glastonbury. Nobody tries to hide anything at Glasto. In fact, I just enjoyed a video of Lionel Richie, where a man is full nude, standing on the shoulders of a friend, singing along. Nobody forced him down, security likely stood by and laughed. Everyone is all accepting, loving and encouraging. The mentality here is far beyond what I have ever seen before, and thats a huge part of what makes it so special.
- Everything is a Performance – From the clothing vendor shops to the trash cans, everything in Glastonbury is done up as if it were all one grand performance. It all seems to be part of one large magical fairytale that never ends until you walk out of the grounds Monday morning. I’ve seen groups of ninjas walking around, old Grannies riding around scooters blasting music, and a several large marching bands walking through the crowd, playing their favorite tunes. Anything and everything that can be seen, will be seen. All you have to do is keep your eyes open.
- THE PEOPLE – I’m sure that its been said tons of times about different cities in the world, and different festivals, but the people you will meet at Glasto are what makes the festival what it is. Everyone is smiling, happy, loving, supporting, giving… everyone has such a sense of community because they truly care about this festival, and it is a part of who they are. The people at this festival are who made it this way. You will never meet better people in your life, than you will at Glastonbury. You’ll see huge groups of friends that came in from around the world to reunite, you’ll see people beginning new friendships, and you’ll even see relationships begin. Everything that takes place at Glastonbury is beautiful and magical, just like the rest of the festival grounds.
As I re-read this review, it makes me sad. Not just because I am no longer at Glastonbury, but because theres no way that this review even slightly captures the essence of this festival. My only suggestion? GO AND SEE FOR YOURSELF. Glastonbury is a festival that no matter what age you are, you’re guaranteed to enjoy it and want to go again. I encourage every single one of you to do whatever you can to get there… whether it be work, volunteer, or saving money. You will not regret it.
My overall rating for this music festival: ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THIS WORLD. I haven’t even seen half of the festival, so I know I need to go back to see more. I couldn’t pick something to change, because the festival is forever changing. The only festival I anticipate to be on this level is Burning Man, and I will write a comparison review after I attend the festival this August. (Edit: Please click HERE to read about Burning Man)