So I just posted on the blog how we survive our time on the road and in the fields with no electric, camping with any ED family. To see hoe we do it see here.
With all the practicalities of camping aside how would you cope with ED at the biggest festival in the UK?
I know many ED families shy away from festivals and large events in summer when they know they will be separated from the normal ‘safety nets’ you might have at home.
I am here to demand you get those Glastonbury tickets booked!!! its the most incredible family experience you could wish for and you really don’t need to worry about keeping cool and safe!
Glastonbury is HUGE!!! It literally is a a city and can take two hours to walk from one side of the site to the other! There are hundreds of stages, areas and fields to explore and the festival lasts a whole five days! Like Disneyland you can’t expect to do it in one visit!
We have been working Glastonbury as a family for over a decade and still we haven’t visited many of the areas if offers.
But like any city you have all the facilities an urban community relies on.
When on site at Glastonbury you are told not to ring 999! This is because emergency services are already on site and ready to help.
There are fire, police and medical ready and based around the site, with fully stocked chemists and a fully working hospital!
There are stewards and security on every corner armed with radios and contact with these services, you are literally never for than two minutes from help.
The hospital is fully working too, with 250k people on site the hospital and medics have delivered babies, patched up cuts and breaks, pumped fluids into dehydrated festival goers and even restarted the odd heart! it all happens here just like it does anywhere else.
Of course they call in outside services when needed but as a rule you must always use what’s provided! it takes so long to get in to, and across site from the ‘outside’ that the onsite peeps are essential and they really know what they are doing too!
Glastonbury is at its heart a hippy and green festival and within that there is an entire field dedicated to healing.
The healing fields comprises of hundred of different clinicians and practitioners from massage to midwives..gong baths to laughter therapy… its all here… have a wonder through and chat to homeopaths, aromatherapist and some of the more weird and wonderful … it’s surprising what ideas and potions they can offer to help.
The Homeopathic Network are a firm staple of Glastonbury and have their own ‘hospital’ on the main road through the site, offering free consultations for everything from sun stroke to wasp stings, muscle pain to anxiety! They ask for a donation but it’s totally voluntary.. many of the irritations that come along with ED in the summer can be treated here.. you don’t need to suffer because you are at a festival.
The welfare team at Glastonbury are utter legends! period!
Not just there to sooth those who have over indulged or are suffering any mental health problems, they are there to offer a safe space, quiet, water, suncream and best of all spraying water on everyone when they are boiling!!!
They literally stand on the road and spray you!!!.l.. to cool you down!!… legends I tell you!!!
The Samaritans are also on site, but I found when William was little he often would totally melt down when he started getting hot (he still does actually) just having somewhere to go and sit with no questions asked was so helpful and the Welfare team became Williams sanctuary. They have different posts around site with the main ones offering cushions, mattresses and blankets in cosy tents to cocoon you.
It’s worth noting that they are very good at making sure kids don’t get put next to adults who are maybe struggling through adverse effects of drugs and alcohol.. they are professional enough to quietly make sure you get what you need when you need it without having to ask.
SHADE & REST
With hundreds and thousands of stalls, tents, stages and sculpture there is always somewhere to sit in the shade.. it’s that simple! everywhere is pretty and beautiful.. the shade comes as standard.
Thousands of benches are put out every years to sit on and many of them have built gazebos and flower arches to sit under.
Some places are busier and noisier than others of course.. but no matter if you are at the main stage or meditating by the stone circle you will find shade
I ensure we integrate shade into our pitch design, everyone does, the whole of Glastonbury is designed to take every kind of weather in account.
After years and years of attending the festival we have found some special places to find solitude.
Our favourite places to go for shade and rest are as follows;
This magical little area is sited halfway up the left hand side of the stone circle field. Its one of the only permanent features on the site. A little gap in the trees makes way to a stream in which a stone dragon has been built.
A favourite place for crew children before the festival starts, there is a gentle stream running through the leafy little treeline. its perfect for a little paddle and sit in the cool of the trees. expect a few hippies burning incense but as a whole its generally unknown and a magical little spot.
The Peace Garden and Dome
On the other side of the stone circle field ( Dragon field) opposite the secret dragon, you will find the Peace Garden and the Peace Dome.
Now I am very aware this all sounds like a hippy-fest of the highest degree but I promise its not like that at all. Yes there are lots of things that smell of incense and lots of talk of peace and the environment but you don’t have to have a head of dreadlocks and bare feet to be welcomed. In fact both these areas are not manned all the time and are left totally in your trust. Glastonbury is the only place I have even been to where EVERYONE returned to face value.. your job, your age, gender of anything else becomes unimportant its a very freeing and liberating feeling.
So the peace garden is just stunning and you won’t believe it has been built just for that weekend. Honestly it is dismantled and redesigned each year!
With ponds, straps and bridges, pagodas, giant chairs and little winding trails its a wonderful place for refuge, picnic and shade.
The Peace Dome is near by the garden although not part of it. often you will find it slightly down the hill but clearly visible from the garden.
It’s as you’d expect, a huge dome with nothing but a circle of candles and hanging sculpture and lantern. The flame from the lantern originates from the Hiroshima explosion and was taken from the burning wreckage at the time. The candles and lanterns are all lit from the flame and you are invited to visit and light a candle too.
Its a wonderful experience and is very educational as well as powerful.
The space is quiet and calm and worth visiting at least once… early evening is out favourite time to visit so you can watch the sunset from the same hill too.
Please don’t think that these are the only places to go.. the festival is full of these special corners of rest and shade.. everyone finds there own.. thats the beauty of it.,
Glastonbury is very much invested in water and its importance. Something ED families know only too well.
Over the years they have developed more and more waterless toilets which are surprisingly much more pleasant that the porta-loos or traditional long drops.
They work in partnership with Water Aid and they do an awful lot of work with the festival goers and provide the water points across site.
This year the festival banned single use plastic which meant everyone had to bring their own reusable water bottles. The festival put in hundreds of water refills points to ensure folks have plenty of water to drink.
Campsites have water points for filling up containers and all toilet blocks have washing facilities and soap/cleanser.
There are also a number of lovely water features around site which add another dimension to the site.
REST OF THE FESTIVAL
WHAT TO TAKE
So thats the practicalities of what the site offers now all you have to do is to plan your packing list. As you know the British weather is totally unpredictable and you need to prepare as much as you can. But saying this you also do have to pack wisely.
Walks from the car parks into the festival site can be long and tiring. Investing in a trolly is a great tip, you can pull along your heavy stuff and then in the festival you can throw the kids in it and let them fall asleep while you have a dance. ( you can also buy or make canopies for them.. portable shade!)
Yes the booze is pricy on site at £6 a pint!! but not as bad as other festivals. However you are allowed to take limited amount of booze with you… but no glass or plastic bottles!!.
Decant spirits and wine into reusable containers and look at cans of beer/cider rather than bottles…remember how heavy it is though before going mad!
The co-op has a very useful and well priced shop on site where you can buy booze and ice at supermarket prices.
You don’t need to go mad with packing food if you don’t want, snacks and drinks are probably your priority. You can buy the most incredible food on site and it doesn’t all cost the earth.
Glastonbury is the FA CUP of pitches to win, so they literally choose from the worlds best food traders. They all have to buy sustainable and local produce from the onsite markets, so you know the costs have to be maintained across site.
You may be on a very tight budget or run out of cash.. in this case you can find free basic food at the hare krishna tent daily and the 50p tea tent is open 24 hours and serves basic hot drinks and cakes at the very cheapest of prices.
The co-op super market on site offers food and drink at supermarket prices as well as offer meal deals of sandwiches and crisps as you’d find in your local highstreet store.
Ok you are going to be in a field for more or less a week… keeping clean is challenging.
Try looking for a collapsable bucket or bowl, soap in plastic container and a flannel for strip washes. Many plump for baby wipes but seeing the mess millions of these make afterwards I would never recommend them. A bowl and flannel is lighter and doesn’t take up much more space than a box of wipes ( you will need a lot to keep a family clean for a week) I promise you will feel much cleaner after a proper wash and you can even wash your hair too if needed.. you cant do that with baby wipes.
There are showers in the Greenpeace area and the kids field offer free bathing for children.
But its ok to get dirty for a few days.. its a standing joke among Glastonbury crew that you don’t realise how much you smell until you reach the first services on the way home!
For other ideas on how to camp at a festival with ED look at the first part of this blog here
Stages and Stuff to do!!
I want to give you a whole wonderful paragraph that gives you the smallest of tastes of the magic that is Glastonbury, but its impossible.
I know its a cliche but you really have to do it to get it! There is a reason why tickets sell out in seconds and that people of all ages come year after year..( note kids can go to every part of the festival… I have raved with a 2 year old on my shoulders and felt totally safe) .. It simply is magical and you will never forget it… even in the muddy years you will remember, with a full heart, the people you met and the things that you saw and were amazed by.
It is said to be the best show in the world and I really believe it to be true. If you don’t like the stuff on the main stage then don’t worry that is less that 3% of the program.. its not just what you see on the telly!…
I haven’t been to the pyramid stage for 4 years! in fact I haven’t left the green fields.. my Glastonbury is very much based in the Green Crafts field, the Healing Field, Avalon ( more alternative and folk music) Circus, Theatre, Tipi and Kids fields. My hubby prefers the dance areas, Arcadia and Shangrila, My teens love the Pyramid and the Other Stage.
My 5 year old simply wants to paddle in the stream and run around in the peace garden , although she does love the pirate ship ( yes a full sized ship) and kids field where everything is free!!!
Just check out the website and research the stories and photos of those who have walked the Glastonbury fields… it won’t take long to persuade you!
Just do it!! theres no need to worry about not managing to keep cool or hydrated.. all that is sorted. Glastonbury is a city and has all the things a cart has but just in a very different way… come play with us in the field of Avalon 2020.
We came home as always, tired, smelly and full of love… its our very best time of the year and wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so very blessed that I could make this into my job and that my whole family can do it with me.
I run a workshops pitch in the Green Crafts field where we set up a lovely area and charge the public to come and make things with us. We all muck in, even Kitty (5) its an adventure form start to finish…
ps: you need to register here so you can apply for tickets next year x