The 50th anniversary of the one and only Glastonbury festival was set to be legendary. While it sadly wasn’t to be this year, we’ve got all you need to channel those Brit-fest vibes from lockdown. By Sarah Bradbury.
It’s the summer of 2007 and I’m thigh-deep in mud, desperately trying to fish out my friend who seems to have lost the power in her legs to stand upright after one too many afternoon pints of cider, wondering if I’ll make the long trek back to our camp with her thrown over my shoulder…
I don’t have any scientific data to back up the claim but anecdotally believe my one and only experience of Glastonbury was one of the wettest on record.
Being student-levels of skint meant our only chance of going was to volunteer for Oxfam in exchange for a ticket. As staff, we were bussed in early on the Tuesday to catch a first glimpse of Worthy Farm’s rolling green hills, already filled with all the magical flag-adorned infrastructure, but not yet populated with pissed-up festival-goers of all ages.
By Thursday afternoon however, thousands of wellied-feet coupled with incessant downpours had already churned the valley into one giant mud pit. Toilet blocks over-flowed to form rivers of filth running through camps. It was impossible to park your bum anywhere that wasn’t inside your own tent. Walking anywhere was, well, like wading through sludge – attempt it too quick and you may lose your boot forever.
We had to work three gruelling 8-hour shifts to earn our free spot – I ended up doing two back-to-back. So a bleak 16 hours was spent shivering hopelessly at the gates handing people wristbands and questioning whether this was really the best way to have fun. But – it was worth it.
The atmosphere, the people, the music. Arctic Monkeys, Bjork, Chemical Brothers on the main stages all blew my mind but I equally loved ducking between the smaller tents and stages to soak up the sounds of acts I’d never heard of and talking nonsense to strangers around the stone circle.
While I am a self-confessed festival nut, I never did get a second go at a (hopefully a less soggy) Glasto experience but that was one I’ll never forget. For this year, I won’t be the only one missing out, as sadly the 50th anniversary has been usurped by this bugger of a pandemic.
But don’t despair! Whether you planned to be there or not, we’re here with our handy guide to recreating Glasto from your humble abode this weekend.
First up, how to get that festival feel:
1. Study the Glasto and BBC schedules carefully, noting down each of the acts you’d like to see and checking for any clashes. Then toss the plan aside and leave it to fate which performances you’ll manage to catch. You’d have totally underestimated the hour it would take to get between stages anyway and who knows what hidden gem of an artist you’ll discover in your spontaneity.
2. Stock your cupboard with a truly random assortment of snacks from energy bars to haribo to Ritz crackers then blow all your money on an overpriced vegan burger from Deliveroo. Remove everything else from your fridge and fill it only with cider. To drink anything else would be sacrilege.
3. Go the full hog and set up a tent in your living room or garden (might just want to warn the neighbours), draped with all manner of fabrics, don your fav fancy dress and plaster your face with glitter which will hopefully inexplicably linger until well into next week.
4. You wouldn’t squander precious hours queuing for the shower if you were there “in real life” so embrace your own sweat and filth this weekend, doing what you can to stave off the worst with (biodegradable!) face wipes.
5. Get your buddies involved watching online together, via Zoom calls or perhaps in a socially-distanced arrangement in the park. If it doesn’t work out though don’t worry – it’ll be closer to reality if you spend the vast majority of your time wondering if they are lost, have abandoned you for someone/something more sparkly and interesting or have fallen down the long drop…
6. To get that strung out festival feeling, make sure you stay up most of the night before passing out for a few hours then wake up at the crack of dawn (you really never can sleep in a tent) and tuck straight into one of those ciders, a handful of crackers and a cereal bar, ready to do it all again. Repeat until Monday morning when you’ll have to keep your camera off on your work Zoom call and blame patchy WiFi issues…
Now down to business with what’s on:
First stop, hit Glastonbury’s dedicated virtual festival page
Find a bona fide treasure trove of delights on their website here. We’ve picked out some of our favs below.
Check out the BBC’s streaming of classic Glasto sets
They’ll be playing stuff the whole weekend from Thursday till Monday across TV, radio and online. They’ve even got a dedicated iPlayer channel playing back to back sets from yesteryear. We’ve got our eye on Radiohead on Thursday night, Beyonce Friday, Adele on Saturday, David Bowie Sunday and Amy Winehouse on Monday. All the deets are here.
Tune into Spotify playlists of the 2020 mainstage acts
You can find tracks from Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney who would have been lighting up the Pyramid Stage plus Dua Lipa, Anna Calvi, Fatboy Slim and AJ Tracey on the Other Stage, FKA Twigs on John Peel Stage and Manic Street Preachers on Park Stage. Playlists can be found here.
Explore live-streams for areas from The Glade to the Unfairground
Don’t miss a special tribute to Andrew Weatherall from the Glade and Friday’s Unfairground’s 10th anniversary live stream from 10pm-2am featuring Dancehall, Reggae and DnB. You can also watch a documentary going behind the scenes at the John Peel Stage in 2017 and listen into Left Field debates.
Immerse yourself in the V&A’s virtual exhibition
The gallery is the permanent home to the Glastonbury archive and you can now get online access to Glasto-related memorabilia, such as old posters, programmes, interviews, passes and photographs. You can also read about how organisers have repurposed festival gear to support the NHS’ efforts in tackling the pandemic! Take a peek here.
Upload or browse punter photo memories in the portal
It’s fascinating to get a glimpse of other’s experiences over the years. Add your own highlights here (just do a quick check for anything that could be too incriminating…😬).
Join in streamed dance classes hosted by Glasto Latino
Sweat out the hangover with a bit of everything from Salsa to Tango and catch video clips from 2019. Find them here.
Enjoy “communal Twitter drinks”
And special guest mixes from The Park’s Stonebridge Bar.
Join the Glasthomebury Facebook page
It’s an unofficial grassroots virtual fan community started by Glasto fans that’s raising money for a bunch of charities including Mind and the Trussell Trust. They’re encouraging setting up camps in home and gardens and watching the fun together. Join in the magic here.
Have a listen to R.A.E
The artist was announced as the winner of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition 2020! The South-east Londoner might not get her chance to bask in the glory of her win from an open-air stage but can still check out her unique blend of 90s infused hip-hop and R&B on tracks like “Damn Jermaine” from her 2019 EP.
Are you going full-on into virtual Glasto this weekend? Share your plans! Got a fav memory from being there? We’d love to hear it!