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Glastonbury 2014: What Makes Glastonbury Unique?

Lisa Ward


1) It’s safe even when there’s 150,000+ people on site

Despite the mass crowds that gather on Worthy Farm crime is minimal. This was unexpectedly tested one year when a friend of mine left her wallet in her tent. We were camped in the north west of the site and hit the south east side before she realised. On returning to the tent we found everything untouched even though her wallet was left just inches from the tent opening.

2) Tea and cakes in the Green Fields

It’s easy to get sucked into the more mainstream vendors of the central site but a trip to The Green Fields opens up a host of home baked goods, herbal teas and vegetarian cuisine. What’s more the Green Fields often offer a more laid back ambience allowing you to relax and escape the mayhem for a while.

3) It has community spirit

Mick accurately sums this up with his anecdote. He told me “a couple of years ago we arrived at our usual mid-morning on a very warm and sunny Wednesday. We’d parked in east car parks and arranged to camp on the most western part of the site. I was loaded to max with a big tent and rucksack and we were all struggling in the heat. I’m a not-weak looking person but as we’re struggling up hill towards the old railway track this guy walks beside me, takes the big tent on his back and kindly walks it a mile or so with it – he was sweating buckets but he said “I’m going this way anyway””

4) It’s a festival which doesn’t stand still

Not only does Glastonbury offer the most eclectic line up around but it’s constantly evolving. Be prepared for new adventures to crop up in every corner, especially in the late night areas which offer a diverse array of pyrotechnics, and for surprises galore in the heaven and hell themed Shangri-La. Elsewhere Arcadia finds a new home in the park and you can be certain the bins will have had a new coat of paint.

5) The diversity of the crowd

There’s aren’t many festivals where folkies can rub up against hipsters who are trying to move aside to let those in fancy dress pass through. The crowd is as eclectic to look at as it is to talk to and Glastonbury is perhaps the one place on earth where what you do for a day job is the last thing anyone cares about.

6) Sunset at Stone Circle

There’s something quite magical about the late night party which sees people trek up to Stone Circle to watch the sun set across the land. It’s also the best place to listen to the cheers make their way around the site and back up the hill. For me, Wednesday at Stone Circle feels like a sense of ‘coming home’ a tradition sparked by a tip from a stranger that has remained part of my pilgrimage each year.

7) Getting lost after hours

It doesn’t really matter where you wander late at night a new adventure awaits. One of the few festivals with no cut off limit where they kick you back to the campsite and close the arenas, the late night allows you the time to explore an entirely different side of the festival life.

8) Searching for Alan

Who is Alan? Does he even exist? No one knows but I can assure you at some stage over the course of the weekend, you’ll find yourself shouting for Alan at the top of your lungs, yet for some reason never finding him.

9) Michael Eavis

If I have to explain this one, you probably shouldn’t be attending…

10) Inadequate camping space and tosspots with flags blocking the view of the main stage

There’s always one person who’s a bit down on festival life, but be warned camping space near the Pyramid Stage areas comes at the cost of less space and the need to arrive early. Fields further away from the main areas do however offer more space and the ability to arrive slightly later in the day. Meanwhile I can’t deny the flags are slightly annoying, but what better marker to use to find your friends at after a trip to the bar.

(with thanks to @realbenroders, @see_emilyplay, @sarahsteggles, @theskink and @cozmickk)