What I Bring to Glastonbury: Music Festival Survival Guide

What I Bring to Glastonbury: Music Festival Survival Guide

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Eleanor Büsing
Jul 13, 2016
Last year's festivities: crop top, false eyelashes and face paint all accounted for. Naturally.
(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

By the time you read this, Glastonbury Festival* will have come and gone. I'll be back home, (hopefully) dried off, and wistful about the weekend that was. But right now, I'm T minus three days to one of my favorite events of the year, and I've got packing on the brain. I thought I'd take you on a little tour of the contents of my backpack, so you can see what I take on a summer festival getaway.

*For the uninitiated, Glastonbury Festival is a five-day music and contemporary performing arts festival held (nearly) every year in Somerset, England. 175,000 revellers descend on one of the most beautiful pieces of land in the Southwest, come rain or shine. Whether you're watching on TV or attending in person, Glastonbury is an important fixture in the British cultural calendar. This is my second year attending, and I could. not. be. more. excited.

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

The Essentials

At the very minimum, you'll need a tent and sleeping bag. Extras that are nice to have include an air mattress, pillow (though I never bother), and ground sheet if the weather is meant to be wet before you pitch your tent.

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

Footwear Basics

First and foremost, you want a good pair of wellies. I've got two, a tall pair and a short one, and on the day I leave I'll decide which the forecast calls for. Beyond that, you'll wear a pair of old running shoes for dry days, and some flip flops for skulking around the campsite.

Note: only bring footwear that can be easily washed, or that you're prepared to chuck afterwards. No shoe escapes Glastonbury unharmed.

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

Clothing— Practical

Check the forecast: you want to be prepared for everything the weather might throw at you and more. A good-quality waterproof jacket is paramount, as are warm layers, extra socks, a hat for cold weather and one for sun, and sunglasses.

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

Clothing— Fun

Feel free to skip this if you're a camping purist or only here for the music (what?), but to my girlfriends and me, this is the most fun part of festival prep. Glastonbury is the one time in an adult woman's life where she can dress like a Pixar character on steroids, and nobody bats an eye.

My "festival capsule" includes a monogrammed jacket, metallic jeans, sequinned leggings, neon tops and a dash of leopard print. So a bit of a departure from my usual style, then.

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

Toiletries

Unless you've splashed out for a fancy campsite with showers included, hygiene will be, er, minimal, this week. That means a plethora of wipes (I do different kinds for body, face, removing makeup, hands, etc) and dry shampoo. But we're not animals— so remember the regular stuff like toothbrush, deodorant, etc. The good news is, everybody else in in the same boat, and after a day you don't even care about showering. It's kind of freeing, really.

My festival makeup bag will be stuffed with the kind of thing you'll never see on my face in London: glitter, neon body paint, fake tattoos and false eyelashes.

Food & Drink

My festival crew tends to buy our food rather than cook it at camp, but Glastonbury is great for either. You can find anything your stomach desires at one of the many food stalls, or light a campfire and cook your own meals.

The day before we leave, I'll whip up a batch of Heidi Swanson's fabulous oatcakes, which make a great tent breakfast. Hardy fruit, like oranges, will be similarly well-received by vitamin-deficient friends after a couple days. And while I try to eat pretty healthily over the week, there's definitely a place in my festival diet for candy and cookies. During a rainy afternoon spent playing cards in somebody's tent, you'll be glad you brought them.

Glastonbury is one of the only UK festivals which allows bringing in alcohol, so long as it's been decanted into plastic bottles. So my friends will divide up the duties (and weight) between us, with some of us on spirits, some on cider, and others on mixers. It take a village!

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

Miscellaneous

All those things that make your festival experience exponentially more comfortable. Toilet paper (there being any in the port-a-pottys), garbage bags and ziplocks for all your muddy stuff/laundry, a water bottle, all the portable phone chargers you've got (I keep my big one in the tent and carry a smaller one during the day), earplugs so you can actually get some sleep, painkillers for your inevitable hangover, a tent light and/or flashlight and extra batteries.

(And before you ask: yes, those are disposable cardboard funnels that allow women to pee standing up. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.)

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

So that's it! No doubt I'll forget something, but once you're living in a field, surrounded by music and great friends, there's a freedom that comes from having less.

Are you a festival-goer/camper? What are your top packing tips? Share below!

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