I fear I would be failing in my responsibilities as a seasoned festival-goer to not pass on some words of advice to anyone who has booked their first ticket to Glastonbury festival, or they’ve been looking at photos of sun-bronzed revellers enjoying recent Glastos.
It’s not always that good. They were damn lucky.
Glastonbury isn’t normally like a holiday in the sun with some great bands thrown in. More often than not it’s an ordeal. A trial of drugs, beer, endurance, bad toilets. Pot Noodles, mud and filth where a few swimming proficiency badges may come in handy.
You usually have to work damn hard to enjoy yourself, goddammit.
And if you don’t believe me, allow me to show what two previous Glastonbury festivals looked like – and it’s not a pretty sight:
Here’s the thrills that were in store for festival goers attending Glastonbury 2007.
It started a little overcast. And then rained for just about all of the festival.
Ah yes. The toilets. Lovely.
Rain and thick, gloopy mud. Lots of it.
By Sunday the whole site was a wet quagmire with a biting wind that was enough to break Everest-ascending veterans.
People shuffled aimlessly about in wellie-sucking thick mud and tried to huddle under whatever shelter they could find as the rain ceaselessly pelted down. It was miserable.
You know that Verve song called, “The Drugs Don’t Work”? Well, that’s what happened right here.
No drug could relieve you from the dystopian gloom that was Sunday night at Glastonbury 2007. I know because I tried them all.
The scene of devastation on the Monday morning when the sun finally came out.
A scene from The Somme perhaps?
The site looked more like a muddy lake with God knows what lurking in its muddy depths.
Leaving the site past submerged tents. Rarely had a bath felt so good than when I finally made it home.
And it got worse…
If you think 2007 looked bad, wait until you feast your eyes on these scenes from 2005, where things got so bad people were treated for trench foot!
It started off so well though. For the first two days I was there it was glorious sunshine all the way. And then…
After a night of extremely heavy rain, the site had transformed into a Tribute To Mud.
Sleeping revellers woke to find a stream running through the middle of their tents, with their clothes and belongings floating away downstream into the dark night.
During the night’s torrential rainstorm, folks were forced to abandon their tents as a cascade of water ran down the hillside and formed a substantial river.
There were reports of portable toilets toppling over in the mudslide and emptying their contents into the water flowing into people’s tents. Now there’s a thought you don’t want to leave in your head for too long.
After what must have appeared as Biblical retribution, many threw in the towel and just went straight home in the morning.
Wading between the stages.
This is the kind of fun that was Glastonbury 2005.
Now, I don’t want you to think I’m in any way bitter at those sun-tanned people who came back from a wonderful Glastonbury festival in the years I#ve decided not to go.
Oh no sir, not me.
But if I end up going next year and it turns out to be another mud nightmare, I may have some harsh words to say to Him Upstairs. That is all.
Read people smugly recalling 2013-5’s sun-baked festivals on the Glastonbury 2013 thread on urban75 or chat about the 2019 festival here.
…or relive the full Glastonbury 2005/2007 experience with these archive photo features:
GLASTONBURY 2007: THE PHOTOS
Around the Green Fields
Craft workshops and bands
A very muddy Saturday
Friday night to Saturday morning
Iggy and Trash City
Saturday night, Sunday morning
Sunday, the final day
GLASTONBURY 2007: FEATURES
Backstage at Glastonbury
GLASTONBURY 2007: THE AFTERMATH
Glastonbury aftermath pt 1
A Monday morning muddy trudge
Glastonbury aftermath pt 2
More mud-drenched deserted scenes
Glastonbury aftermath pt3
To the Green Fields and the Stone Circle.
Glastonbury aftermath pt 4
A wade around the Other Stage.
GLASTONBURY 2005 PHOTOS
120+ photos in and around the site
5 Comments on “Warning to Glastonbury festival first-timers – it’s not always that bloody good (see: great mudfests of the past)”
Congratulations on reaching “grumpy old man” status! 😉 They’ll learn, as we did, no need to spoil their surprise. 🙂
Am I out ‘grumpy old man’-ing Editor by moaning about his comparisons to the Somme? Probably, but how ever bad it was AFAIK there weren’t German guns raining bullets and mortar fire from behind the Pyramid Stage. There wasn’t a war, nobody died, it was just a muddy music festival.
Of course no one can control the weather, but given that people part with over £200 to go to Glasto, this particular site does seem to turn to a quadmire awfully quickly. Assuming moving from Pilton Farm is unthinkable, is there really nothing that can be done to improve site drainage?
I only went to Glastonbury once. back in 1989. EVen then, I was shocked at how ill-organised such a long-established event was. My friends and I took 3 hours to drive from an address next to Highgate Cemetery to the outskirts of Glastonbury, and as long again to get in. The next morning, we looked around the site, then decided to sell our tickets for whatever they would fetch and head home.
I’ve recently read this article which I highly recommend, (I’ll provide the link below) which goes through different ways to overcome a hangover and festival recovery, I actually recommend trying Milk Thistle, as a student it works to help me overcome copious alcohol consumption and helps me to recover for sports and exams etc I’ll thoroughly recommend checking it out…
As we never managed to get tickets for the festival, we finally have someone that relieves us… 😉