When you think of Glastonbury you probably think of the music but there’s a reason that ‘It’s not all about the music’ is probably the most uttered phrase by regular Glastonbury goers – it’s because it is true.
There is so much else to do at Glastonbury and here are just 10 things:
1/ Drink a Brother’s Cider
Something of an institution at Glastonbury, Brother’s Cider is a drink that must be drunk, at least once every festival. Situated in the West Holts Field, this cider is just what is needed on a sunny day in Somerset. That said, it is just as tasty on a rainy day too. The Brother’s Cider guys are local to Glastonbury as well so you can even feel like you are supporting the local community as you sip your cider.
It might sound cliche but watching sunrise at the Sacred Space, otherwise known as the Stone Circle, really is something that every Glastonbury goer has to do at one point. The atmosphere is electric up there but it does get really cold so consider bringing your sleeping bag or lots of jumpers with you.
If sunrise should be seen from the Sacred Space, then sunset must be watched from the top of the Park field. Climb the hill at the far end of the field and look out over the festival site. The views really are spectacular. We always head up there on the first night. There’s something quite amazing looking down at the lights of Glastonbury below and all the tens of thousands of festival goers on site. It gives you a real sense for just how big the site is.
Make sure to grab a drink and possibly some food on the way up there. Your bound to be breathless by the time you stop and will want to avoid climbing down again for a while! 4/ Take a stroll up to the Circus and Kids Fields
I always try to stroll up to the Circus and Kids Field areas at least once during the festival. The atmosphere up there is a little more sedate and there’s always lots of weird and wonderful things going on. From a random piano player pitching up next to the bench where you are eating, to ‘seagulls’ (or people dressed as them!) pretending to steal children’s food, it’s all go in that corner of the festival but in a very friendly way. There’s also some excellent food stalls up there to check out too.
5/ Eat with the Hare Krishnas
The Hare Krishnas have had a tent at Glastonbury for many years now. Acting as a safe haven for anyone who just wants some space to chill out, they also serve food and it is totally free of charge. Usually there are two dishes – some sort of daal and a porridge. I’m not much of a fan of porridge but the daal is delicious. Although the food is free, please give a donation if you can afford too. The Hare Krishnas do a lot of work feeding children in India so the money will go to good use.
If your reason for heading to the Hare Krishna tent is just to grab some grub then it is worth sticking around to listen to the Hare Krishna’s chanting their mantra. There’s something quite mystical about the while experience.
The Leftfield is Glastonbury’s main area for political debate and discussion. As you may have guessed from its name, the speakers tend to steer towards left wing ways of thinking. There are some great discussions and excellent speakers. I was lucky enough to hear the late great, Tony Benn, speak in his final year at Glastonbury and Billy Bragg is often there too.
The Green Futures area always has a pretty relaxed and chilled out vibe but this is especially apparent at night time when the field is lit up with fairy lights and the tents have live music of all varieties playing from small, unknown bands. It is an Oasis of calm from some of the more hectic nightlife near by.
The shopping at Glastonbury is brilliant. From the Farmers Market selling organic fruit and veg (perfect to cure that hangover!), to market stalls selling clothing at reasonable prices, there’s something for everyone.
There are also several camping stalls across the site so if you realise you’ve left your sleeping bag at home, or you have a tent disaster, don’t worry – there’s bound to be somewhere where you can pick up what you need.
9/ Take a class
When you stumble through the festival gates with all your gear for the week, a steward will try to hand you a booklet to carry. Don’t be tempted to ignore the steward. This booklet they are trying to give you will be your programme.
In addition to including the line up, a map and write ups of some of the bands, it will also include details of classes taking place at Glastonbury. That’s right, Glastonbury offers a range of classes including yoga, aerobics and crafts classes. You can also pay extra to have a massage. I have never had one but imagine it might be quite nice on the Sunday when everything is starting to ache a little!
10/ Explore the craziness of the South East corner
Shangri-la, Block9, the Common and the Unfairground all make up the South East corner of Glastonbury. This is the area known for its night time entertainment and if I’m honest, utter craziness! I can’t even really put into words how mad it is and it changes every year anyway. However if you fancy raving in an amphitheatre one minute, looking at ironic and satirical political adverts the next, before being yelled at by a teacher to ‘go home’, then this is the place for you. Each year it is different and just seems to get crazier!
If you enjoyed reading this post about Glastonbury, I’ll be posting many more before the festival. Follow the Plan Pack Travel Facebook page to get updates as they are posted.
Are you a Glastonbury first timer? Do you have any questions about the festival? If so then post them below or email me on the address on my contact page. I’ll include them in my Glastonbury FAQ post which will be coming very soon.