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Glastonbury Area Guide

  1. The Green Fields – This is the place to come if you’re still in search of a chai latte and a group hug. Expect to leave with a new outlook on life and a temporary tattoo.
  2. Field of Avalon – Here be child-friendly activities and a huge helter-skelter which means that only the visually or otherwise impaired will struggle to find it. The helter-skelter was built in 1932 and had a cameo role in the Beatles’ video for ‘Free as a Bird’.
  3. Silver Hayes – This area started life as a simple dance tent back in 1995. Over the years, the tent capacity grew from 2,000 to 10,000 and then the big tent became a village which then spilled out into a whole area. Dance is the future.
  4. William’s Green – William’s Green, which is designed to feel like an English village green, centres on a 16m-tall totem pole with signs pointing to all of the festival’s different areas. There’s also a pharmacy here so it’s a good place to come and get your bearings and some more moist wipes…
  5. PS. Don’t get too tied up with cartography, as the Glasto website reminds you: if in doubt, have a wander. (You’re going to have to get used to this kind of logic-free hippy thinking.)

‘Free love does not come cheap but talking about it will only depress you.’

Glastonbury: home to Worthy Farm, a herd of sometime rocking cows and, every June (excepting fallow years or years when there aren’t enough port-a-loos in the UK*), around 135,000 revellers. But how do you blend in amongst the halter-neck-wearing, dreadlock-toting, patchouli-smelling, temporary residents of Glastonbury?

Presumably a love of live music is a must?

Not at all. A love of camping, mud, wellies, kale and craft ales, however, is. Although after his performance at last year’s festival, a love of James Blake might also find its way into that list.

What line should I take on the controversial Saturday headliners, Metallica?

Point out that hard rock is not what Glastonbury is known for and certainly not the vibe that a lot of repeat customers were expecting or paying for. In defence of the decision, organiser (and one of the world’s least likely Quakers) Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily recalled the amazing ‘energy’ in the valley during Rage Against the Machine’s 1994 headlining slot. Bluffers should point out that 1994 was 20 years ago now and that, arguably, headbanging went out with Kurt Cobain. Or maybe Quo. Though perhaps Metallica are the antidote/penance for the softly, softly pop-folk approach of 2013 beardy headliners Mumford and Sons. If you’re determined to gain access to the mosh pit on Saturday night, then make sure you cast your eye over the Bluffer’s Guide to Metal first.

What else is there to see and do?

Cabaret, circus tricks, painted bins, the RSPB stand, a life-size bird’s nest, comedy acts, art installations, crying children, crying adults and, for the first time this year, the English National Ballet. What you won’t be able to do this year is watch England’s last 16 match in the World Cup, if they get that far (which is about as likely as seeing Jim Morrison on stage with Jimi Hendrix), because finishing either second or first in their group means the match will clash with the Saturday or Sunday headliners respectively. And Eavis has put his foot down and said no to the footie. That’s Eavis, not Elvis.

Okay great… But Glastonbury is huge. There must be some logic to its madness?

The festival is divided into a few interestingly named areas (see sidebar) which are housed in the same bit of field year on year. So naming the area-come-hamlet you’d like to visit and vaguely pointing into the horizon (yes, Glastonbury is that big) should persuade people that you’ve seen it all before.

What if I get lost?

It’s really not important if your directions turn out to be wildly inaccurate. Claim that you were a little inebriated and so somewhat disorientated the last time you were there. If it still looks like your afternoon is going to end in an argument rather than a chai latte and a group hug, then forcibly instigate that hug while saying, ‘Chill out man, we’re in Glastonbury,’ in your best John Lennon impersonation.

MAXIMUM BLUFFING VALUE

There a few festival essentials which festival goers should bear in mind.

  • Bring loo roll. Bundles of the stuff. Or better yet, industrial-size packs of wet wipes, as they’re multipurpose and waterproof.
  • Don’t ever mention how much money you’re spending on top of the already ruinous ticket price. Free love does not come cheap but talking about it will only depress you.
  • Finally, don’t forget that official phone sponsors EE offer free phone charging for all, regardless of your network. Even in this alternative universe where strangers are not assumed to be dangerous, you should never underestimate the power of staying connected. This year they’re also selling magical charging sticks which you can trade in for new magical charging sticks free of charge. Bluffers should purchase one but only refer to it in this whimsical way because although being tech-savvy won’t impress Glastonbury folk, having a working phone will.

DO SAY ‘I was here in spirit during the first-ever festival in 1970. Quintessence were like really quintessential, man. But Bolan stole the show.’

DON’T SAY ‘I’d rather be watching the England game…’

 

Happy Bluffing!

Emma Smith

 

*This was just one of the reasons that Glastonbury festival didn’t take place alongside the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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