Glastonbury Festival takes place in June and is held in Pilton, Somerset within walking distance of the iconic Glastonbury Tor. While Glastonbury is known throughout the world for its music, the festival also plays host to comedy, theatre, cabaret, circus, dance events and many more things that are best left to be discovered upon arrival.
The Early Days
Around 175,000 people now attend the festival annually which makes it the largest greenfield event in the world. This differs greatly from its beginnings in the early 1970s when around 12,000 people headed to a completely unknown commodity. The festival was an intermittent event until 1981 and then after that watershed year, it has only gained in popularity. Now it is held every year, except for a break every fifth year, so that the attendees, the organisers and even the land, can recover.
Glastonbury is a major undertaking in terms of infrastructure, with transport, water and electricity having to be put in place every year. With so many people on site, security is also a major concern. Many of the staff work on a voluntary basis which has meant that over the years the festival has raised millions of pounds for good causes. Most people camp at the site, in anything from a tiny tent they brought along with them through to luxury (glamping) yurts. A big part of the fun for many, however, is roughing it up for the best part of a week with their friends.
Glastonbury headliners are always leading rock and pop bands but there are thousands of other artists who appear during the 5 days of the festival. The site itself is vast, covering over 1,100 acres, so while the Pyramid Stage is where all the main events take place, there are hundreds of different areas and arenas featuring all types of entertainment as well as bars, food courts and markets.
Headliners in 2016 on the Pyramid Stage were Adele, Muse and Coldplay, with special guest appearances from Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and Michael Eavis himself during Coldplay’s Sunday headline slot. Expect the unexpected is the unofficial motto at Glastonbury, and rightly so.
Glastonbury is almost as famous for the weather as it is for music. With the notoriously changeable British Summer sometimes bringing sunshine and heatstroke to the attendees; but more often than not, bringing downpours which can turn the site into a mud bath. Whatever else you plan to take to Glastonbury, welly boots and a waterproof jacket are the first two items on your shopping list.
By train, the closest station is Castle Cary. If bus is your preferred choice then you need to get to either Bristol or Bath and then you can take a local bus route from there. There is parking at the festival too, however this cannot be booked in advance and needs to be paid for in cash at the gate. Where possible they recommend car sharing to save on petrol and space. If you want to travel in style to the festival, why not charter a helicopter and travel stress-free. You can arrive cool, calm and unruffled, ready to enjoy the show.
Glastonbury is the type of event fans either go to year after year, never missing any of the big name acts, or it’s something that people have on their bucket list as a once in a lifetime experience. If it’s the latter for you, make sure you don’t miss out on such an amazing event. With this year’s event just over, you better start planning for 2017 in the coming months. Tickets generally go on sale around October time, with headline acts already confirmed as well, according to Mr Eavis (AC/DC and Daft Punk are the two rumoured names being mentioned most).Tickets cost around the £230 mark, but you get 5 days of camping for that, plus the thousands of artists and acts you get to see, as well as the memories that last a lifetime.