So you've done it. It's taken blood, sweat, tears and probably every electronic device in your household, but you've managed to bag yourself tickets to the best festival on earth - congratulations! You're in for one hell of a weekend and a festival experience like no other. Inside those perimeter walls, Glastonbury is a whole new culture, so prepare for the party of a lifetime with my top ten tips for first time Glastonbury goers.
1. Make A Plan
Looking at that colossal lineup can be incredibly intimidating. You've only got so many hours in a day and the choice can be very overwhelming, so my best advice would be to write out a brief plan before you go. I went through the list of acts systematically and wrote a chronological list of the people I hoped to see. Even if two of your favourite bands clash, write them both down along with their location as you never know where you'll actually end up at the time. I'm so glad I took the time to do this, it was a life saver because even with their guide, the full timetable is very difficult to sift through once you're there.
2. Be Prepared Not To Follow Your Plan
Although having a brief plan can help you battle your way through that huge lineup, your greatest festival memories will probably come from the things you didn't plan or expect. Glastonbury has a way of taking your plans and throwing them into the fire, but that's all part of the magic. Remember that you almost certainly won't see everybody you wanted to, but you might just end up seeing something better.
3. Decide Where To Camp Before You Arrive
The sheer size of Worthy Farm can be very overwhelming, and when you arrive all you'll want to do is dump all of your gear and crack open a drink. But be prepared to walk! Different camping areas have different atmospheres, so do your research beforehand and decide where you you want to pitch up ahead of time - it'll make things so much easier and less stressful.
4. Invest In Some Luxury
I know, I know. I've just told you about the amount of walking you have to look forward to and now I'm telling you to pack more gear, but some things really are worth it. In my opinion, a larger tent is a must because the camp sites get very busy and you can't guarantee any space will be left around you to spread out. This year I also brought along a tiny gas cooker (which I could fit in the palm of my hand!) and it changed my festival experience completely. What a luxury it was to have hot tea and noodles from the comfort of my own tent and without shelling out half of my funds - so bite the bullet and treat yourself!
5. Make Friends With Your Neighbours
Important for any festival but particularly for Glastonbury, get friendly with the people camping around you. The site is huge so it's likely that you won't be spending a lot of time in your tent, therefore it's good to have the piece of mind that people are keeping an eye out for your gear when you're not around. On top of this it's nice to get a little camp atmosphere going as that's all part of the experience.
6. Mud Is The Only Guarantee
On my first Glastonbury we couldn't have asked for much better weather. It was hot and sunny every day and ice cream and short dresses were on the menu most of the time. Despite this though, there was still mud on the main walkways after a few days. The sheer amount of traffic makes it almost impossible to avoid and even though Glastonbury do a great job of setting up solid metal walkways, be prepared with wellies and old clothes, especially if rain is expected.
7. Leave Your Valuables At Home
Even though Glastonbury is on the whole a very friendly and safe festival, in my opinion it's best to leave what you can't afford to lose at home. Take an old brick phone for communication and a cheap or disposable camera. Make use of the free 24 hour property lockups for your cash and cards and just keep your wits about you.
8. It Isn't A Fashion Show
Contrary to what the likes of Vogue, Kate Moss and the festival-chic section of ASOS would have you believe, Glastonbury isn't London fashion week. Sure, if you want to go all out then go for it, and there are people that do so, but the point is you don't have to. Experiment if you fancy it, or take clothes that are fit for the bin if you prefer. By Sunday most people have given up entirely and resigned to their old painting jeans and kaki coloured rain mac anyway!
9. Embrace The Flags
Just like the mud and the long-drop toilets, Glastonbury flags aren't going anywhere. Yes, you may end up behind someone waving a giant piece of cloth declaring their love for a band you've never heard of, but that's all part of the atmosphere. Plus, who can deny that they look pretty spectacular in front of the Pyramid? So take a deep breath and remember that there's always the BBC coverage when you get home for a HD look at your favourite artist, but while you're actually there, just take it all in, flags and all.
10. Set Up SMS Alterts For @SecretGlasto
This is the absolute best piece of advice I can possibly give you if you're heading off to Glastonbury festival. Head over to IFTTT.com and set up SMS alerts for the twitter account @Secretglasto. It's really easy to do and will mean that you receive a text (yes, even to that rubbish old brick of a festival phone) every time this gem of an account tweets. They give updates and confirmations of any secret sets that are going on throughout the weekend and thanks to them, I've managed to see some of my favourite bands which hadn't been announced on the official lineup, including The Charlatans and The Libertines! Best of all, it's 100% free (but be sure to check with IFTTT.com and your mobile operator in case this changes).
So there are my top ten tips for making the most of your week in musical, cultural, arty, foodie paradise. Above all though, just go out and experience as much as you can and remember that you probably won't get to do everything. Glastonbury is a place for chancing it, for wandering around, stumbling upon impromptu raves and underground bars, for making new friends and learning about new cultures and beliefs. No two Glastonbury experiences are the same but you're certain to have an incredible time - good luck!