Forty-six years since its beginnings, this was Glastonbury’s rainiest year yet. And with the rain came mud, and with the mud came chaos. The sudden onslaught of 180,000 festivalgoers, who all seemed to descend on the festival before the gates even opened this year, ended in 12-hour traffic jams, closed-off motorways and towed cars.
And the journey to the car park is only half the battle. The site is an enormous 8.5 miles in perimeter, so the trip from your car to the tent can add another hour, even two, to your quest. So after trekking through mud, sweat and sometimes tears, you’d be forgiven for questioning why anyone forks out £230 to endure all this. But as soon as you drop your bags, head up to the Glastonbury hill, crack open a cider and watch the sunset, you realise why it’s all worth it.
The festival is set in 900 beautiful acres of the Vale of Avalon, a site which holds much religious and mythological importance. Said to be where King Arthur is buried and where the Holy Grail lies, the sprawling fields of Glastonbury are sacred and spiritual. For five glorious, limitless days, it becomes a magical, fantasy world to which you can escape. And as you wander and explore, whiling away these days in utopia, the mud will just cease to matter.
You’ll be awash with music, absolutely spoilt rotten for choice. With over 80 stages and 2,000 performances to soak up, there’s always something in which to take delight. Everyone from Bowie to Beyoncé have graced Glastonbury, but if you don’t fancy the rush of the main stages, you can chill at the Acoustic Stage or boogie in Dance Village.
Yet you may just find yourself lost in the Healing Fields with the wand-makers, the fortune tellers and the happy, wholesome hippies that roam there. You might stumble across a wedding, or find yourself on a blind date. You may even find yourself in a naked hot tub at the Rabbit Hole, the hidden Alice-in-Wonderland field that you need a secret password to get into and a fancy dress to be allowed entry. There is no knowing and no telling.
There really are very few rules at Glastonbury. You are free to camp where you wish, wear what you want and bring whatever alcohol you desire. Even the normal rules of society are thrown out the window. This feeling of freedom is contagious and brings people of all backgrounds, ages, races and ethnicities together in a beautiful unity. You’ll be witness to the weirdest and most wonderful human interactions at Glastonbury, and you’ll most likely find yourself asking why life can’t always be like this.