It’s that time of year again when every newspaper, magazine and website is filled with ‘what to take to Glastonbury!’ articles.
Now, if you’re going, you’re probably already set by now. But I am reminded anew that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE ARTICLES SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO A FESTIVAL IN THEIR LIFE.
It annoys me without fail every single year. Oh yeah, let’s all wear pale floaty dresses* and big floppy hats** and gladiator sandals*** to Glastonbury. OK, FINE – if you are never actually venturing outside of the pristine VIP area.
Here is what you will actually need.****
TENT? – I actually think it’s questionable whether you need one of these at all. In all my years of festival-going (many), I have never actually taken my own tent. They’re a massive ballache and you will pretty much always find friends you can crash with.
A PARKA –One of those really proper, massive ones (I got mine in Oxfam a decade ago). I have also never taken a sleeping bag to a festival, as this is a far more useful multi-purpose alternative.
WELLIES – I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but I didn’t take any to my first Glastonbury. I’d been to Reading and loads of other festivals, and was convinced that my usual Converse high-tops would be fine. They were not fine. I wanted to kill myself. I ended up queuing for hours and paying £30 for a pair of crap, too-big wellies – which at the time seemed like a bargain, I wanted those wellies so badly. Those other festivals do not take place at working farms. People are not ‘just being dramatic’. Even if you take nothing else, take wellies to Glastonbury.
DRY SHAMPOO, FACE WIPES, EYELINER – You need no other beauty products. OK, maybe toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant – but that’s literally all you need.
FOOD IN A CAN – You are guaranteed to run out of money and be hung over. Keep a can of something gross stashed somewhere secret (one with a ring pull so you can open it – don’t do anything silly like bring can-openers and sh*t). I promise you that at some point you will be so desperate that it will taste like heaven. I remember my friend Lou and I huddling in a tent on a Monday morning and eating an ‘all-day breakfast’ in a can with our HANDS and trying to do it quickly so we wouldn’t have to share with the others as one of the best meals of my life.
AN AMAZING/RIDICULOUS VINTAGE DRESS – There are always loads of press and photographers at festivals, and it’s fun to have your picture taken. I have been in all sorts of random publications through my stupid festival outfits. My tactic is generally just to wear something ludicrous (wedding dress, prom dress, an 80s evening dress that used to be my mum’s) and wear it all weekend, reveling in the fact that it’s filthy and falling apart. It’s not like I’m going to wear it anywhere else again, anyway.
A BUMBAG – It sounds uncool but the odds are that someone’s stuff will get nicked at some point in your festival experience, so keep your important things with you at all times. You can incorporate it into your festival look. I even invested in a second-hand Gucci one just to make my sensibleness seem a bit more glamorous.
AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR – So you can regale the campsite with your musical stylings. JUST KIDDING.
Other assorted advice (which, ahem, may or may not be based on personal experience):
· Don’t take mushrooms on the first night and spend the whole weekend going ‘Will it never end? Will I ever go back to normal?’ whilst weeping and trying to find your friends/tent/mind.
· Don’t break up with your boyfriend because he talked at you annoyingly all the way through PJ Harvey (when he KNOWS she’s your favourite) and thus not have anywhere to sleep for the next three days. Wait until you get home.
· Don’t set up camp next to the Amnesty International tent, who play ‘Get Up Stand Up’ on a loop THE ENTIRE TIME. You will begin to think you are actually going mad.
· Do go to Glastonbury as a worker if you can. I worked on a stall for two years and it was the best fun, plus you get better toilets.
· Don’t believe anyone who says you can go on that bungee jump thing for free if you are naked. Honestly, someone falls for this every year. Don’t let it be you.
* which will be filthy within MINUTES
** which will blow away and either be lost forever or covered in crap within MINUTES
*** do I even need to explain?
**** and this is written by someone who once turned up at a festival wearing a wedding dress, veil and trainers, carrying only a bag full of booze and nothing else, and survived the full five days.