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Glastonbury: a user’s guide

Ten tips on how to get the most out of the weekend

Hazel Sheffield | July/August 2013

The cattle of Worthy Farm have been herded to safety for the return of the grandfather of music festivals after a fallow year. And you needn’t be a first-timer like Jagger or Richards to have trouble finding your way around a hundred stages scattered across the Somerset countryside. So here are some tips.

DO be early. The traffic and photo-ID tickets make getting in the worst bit. And the early bird gets to camp on higher, drier land.

DON’T rely on your phone, which will only last about a day. Set a meeting point that is safe and warm, like the Tiny Tea Tent.

DON’T forget the suncream. The mud may get the headlines, but in 2011 hundreds of fans were treated for heat-stroke.

DO heed the rumours. The secret sets are the ultimate: my money is on The National at the Park stage. Or even Daft Punk.

DO dig out the jubilee bunting to celebrate a very British line-up, including the Rolling Stones, Mumford & Sons, and, more promisingly, Portishead and Jessie Ware.

DON’T visit the Stone Circle at dawn. It may be a sacred space, but it’s full of zombies by sunrise. Go later for panoramic views.

DON’T bring umbrellas, flags or banners. People further back will thank youwell, maybe not literally.

DO watch some of it on telly, for a bird’s eye view of the whole thing and close-ups of the sweat on Nick Cave’s brow.

DO make a plan. Be early for bigger acts (Johnny Marr, Nile Rodgers), moving in as the previous act comes off.  And seek out hidden gemsPhoenix (perky French pop) on the John Peel stage, or Solange, Beyoncé’s cooler sister, in the Park.

DON’T stick to the plan. No other festival can match these sprawling suburbs, full of five decades of subculture. You may find yourself down a rabbit hole in the Park, under the legs of a fire-breathing spider in Arcadia, or in Glastonbury’s version of the afterlife at Shangri-La. ~ Hazel Sheffield

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