This time five years ago, I was busily laying out heaps of fringed clothes on the bed in my spare room. My house was spotless, I was skinny (gym hours) and I had just had my hair chemically straightened by an Asian man I’d never met before (or since).
We were getting ready to hit the road for Glastonbury, a six day affair, involving ferries, long car hours and a journey into the British countryside and festival landscape. I was very excited. So excited I couldn’t sleep and this meant that as we set out on our 6am start for the ferry, I was already exhausted.
People still balk when I explain that Glastonbury is practically a week long affair. The campsite opens on a Wednesday, and if you’re not there in the morning you battle the space race which may see you set your tent up at the bottom of a hill (flooding), beside the portaloos (stinky) or in some cases, and I actually witnessed this, in a pond.
Because we were travelling from Ireland we left the day before and so you need stamina. You need your festival game on. But… when you get in the zone, there is nothing and I mean nothing, better, warmer, more welcoming than the Glastonbury atmosphere, as you party with a quarter of a million like minded individuals all waving colourful flags and wearing funny woolen hats.
Five years ago, I had no children, was not married and had not long been made redundant. I was in a very different, free type of place. In a few days time we will be setting off to grace Glasonbury with our presence once more. Here’s five things I’ll be doing differently and some tips that may help you enjoy your own Glastonbury (or any festival) experience.
1. Arrival Time
This year I’m cutting my festival time in half. I’m flying in on the Friday and out on the Monday. This is completely cheating, but I’m not prepared to leave my almost two year old for a week, while I go party in wellies. I am of course lucky that my friends will be going before me and will have things set up, but they have also changed the time they will be arriving and as seasoned festival goers will be at the campsite gates at 8.30am on the Wednesday morning. This means they will be first in the space race and can enjoy a great camping spot, stress free set up and can kick back with the cans from Wednesday afternoon on. I’ll never forget 2011 when we trudged in ever closing in circles around the entire campsite searching for a spot to pitch our massive six man tent among the puddles and mud.
2. Pack lightly
Glastonbury is a hard one to judge as it can be a total wash out or decide to take part in a Spanish heatwave. Obviously we’re hoping for the latter, but we’ll be packing wellies and raincoats as our main attire and skimpy stuff for underneath. The one thing I won’t be doing is dragging in a rucksack of clothes – my friends will be doing it for me (Ha). No, it will be much lighter this year – because I’ve learned that less is more and my budget has been too slim to buy much (sigh).
3. See more music
You will see more music from Glastonbury on BBC than you will when you’re there. Fact. This is because you will usually end up in a pub or nestled in a muck free corner you’ve found, or because there’s an act you want to see but they’re three kilometres away and your mates aren’t that really into them anyway. You will make your way out to the main acts at night – just like hitting the town on a Saturday night. But this year, I’ll be making sure to catch the music during the day too and making a special effort to go and see acts that appeal to me. That’s what we’re there for afterall.
4. Get less drunk
Festivals are for drinking, but getting rat-arsed is a no no. First of all, the showers are… well I don’t actually know. I’ve never seen them at Glastonbury. Second of all, there is no snuggling up with a Netflix, gulping back painkillers while speed dialling for a takeaway recovery. Having a bad hangover at a festival sucks. And one other word: LONGDROPS. Gag, gag, gag. Much better to pace yourself and enjoy the whole weekend. After last time’s personal performance on the Friday, I could barely drink for the rest of the weekend I was that wrecked. Not happening this time.
5. Relaxing the f**k
This brings me back to the start of the post. Can you believe I actually got my hair chemically straightened for going to Glastonbury? Who does that? This time round, there’ll be no high maintenance, 17 outfits, gas powered hair straightner Nicci. (Just kidding, the gas powered straightners ARE coming with me, it’s the only time I get to use them!) I am so chilled about going you wouldn’t believe it. And this is a great space to be in. Because that’s what Glasto is all about. Peace. Love. Music. And drugs. As long as you take enough drugs, you’ll be grand.
I CAN’T WAIT!
Disclaimer: I will not actually be taking any drugs. This post is not sponsored by any backstreet pharmaceutical giant. Featured image source: glastonburyworld.co.uk