When to shower, who to hug, how to get served … 24 things we learned about the world at Glastonbury 2024

Estimated read time 9 min read

You should never flex about how much sleep you got
If someone had a headache, you would never reply: “That’s funny, my head feels great.” For some reason, any mention of insomnia will unleash a chorus of: “I slept like a baby!”; “Soon as my head hit the pillow!” It’s annoying at any time, but at festivals, the sleep-deprived hit critical mass, and they will turn. If you can sleep through anything, keep quiet about it. Let your bright eyes and dewy complexion do the talking.

Natural deodorant is no match for outdoor life
In any bucolic idyll, you might be tempted to eschew chemical assistance in favour of tea tree or bark or whatever. Fine, go for it, but after half an hour in a festival field, stomping between stages, don’t expect to smell like anything but your own sweet self.

Scissors bar.View image in fullscreen

There is limitless demand for a lesbian bar
Scissors, co-created by Laura Woodroffe, is the first lesbian bar in the festival’s history. I know, weird: were the 80s asleep? Anyway, it had it all – a hairdresser, a pool table, a secret nightclub – and anyone would join that queue. But how many people would stay in it all weekend? A lot, as it turns out.

You should shower before you go to bed – even at home
It feels so wrong, like eating cereal for dinner, or wearing your clothes inside out. But once you’ve broken with the custom of the morning being your clean-time, you’ll find this is liberating, actually. Particularly if you never liked getting wet in the first place, you can go to sleep and forget it ever happened.

Adults, given a ball, will play with it (see also: given confetti, will keep it)
They think they’re so grownup, adults, with their time-keeping and their protein shakes. Throw a giant inflatable football into a crowd of them, however, and they’ll play keepy-uppy with the demonic intensity of a cat.

You shouldn’t wait for a ­musician to tell you to hug each other; just do it
Cynic you: “Tsk, they learn this in stage school. Any time a performer needs a bit of a breather, they tell everyone in the audience to turn round and give each other a hug.”

You, hugging your friend: “Man, I love this friend. Why don’t I hug them more often?”

You, hugging a stranger: “You seem nice, would you like some chewing gum?”

Why not synthesise all these selves and just hug people more often?

10,000 steps is so last decade; if you can walk 10k, you can walk 30k
Think big. Stop being in such a rush, with your transport and whatnot.

If you lose your voice, you should try not talking
It feels like such a badge of honour, losing your voice after yelling all night, and then you get into clarifications (“I wasn’t screaming at the Bootleg Beatles, I was screaming at Little Simz”), and then you essay a fake apology (“Sorry I’m so husky, I’ve been having an insane amount of fun, you see”). The thing is, though, nobody can hear you.

Get that Brat look.View image in fullscreen

What Brat Girl Summer means
Charli xcx defined the brat as someone with: “A pack of cigs, a Bic lighter and a strappy white top with no bra,” and it’s her album, so she should know. However, it’s taken on a life of its own, with people making their own Brat merch and appropriating the post-Covid idea of a Hot Girl Summer. To have a Brat Girl Summer, yes, first smoke and wear no underwear; beyond that, there’s no list of rules to break, but whichever one you do, it needs to be in a knowing and triumphant way.

Being in a girl band makes you immortal
No, no, I don’t mean Mel C looks great, or the Sugababes can still pull a surprising crowd. They just all have a quality of undimmable life force that makes it really hard to imagine them subject to that oldest of human frailties: mortality.

It’s up to you if you like Coldplay …View image in fullscreen

A certain type of man will cross the road to tell you why you shouldn’t like Coldplay
He probably won’t be part of your group, but he’ll overhear you talking to your friend, or maybe on your way to see Coldplay. He’ll explain how they’re very hackneyed, actually, and more like children’s entertainers these days. But then he’ll double-back and say even at the beginning, they were rubbish, and he’ll list some other bands you should like instead. These will be nothing like Coldplay. In the old days, before the internet, if he was in your house, this man would throw your Coldplay CDs out of the window. You shouldn’t have let this man in your house. In the really old days, before Coldplay, this man would have crossed the road to tell you why you shouldn’t like Philip Larkin.

In a crowd, you must learn when to stop pushing
Fortune favours the brave and all that; you definitely shouldn’t stand at the edge like a dormouse, daydreaming about the mosh. But being able to judge the exact number of dirty looks you can take before you accept your place in the crowd is a life skill, which will also serve you at busy stations and royal events.

Men’s football puts people in a bad mood; women’s football puts them in a good mood
It was a constant matter of debate, whether or not Glastonbury would show the England game on Sunday evening, and half-fans thought they should, and full-fans thought they shouldn’t, because it would stink the place out if they lost, and non-fans didn’t care, and all fans of women’s football said: when they screened the Women’s World Cup at Green Man last year, England lost, and everyone still finished in a wild good mood. QED.

The crowd watching Peggy Gou on the Park Stage.View image in fullscreen

The moustache is back (again)
When young men first started sporting moustaches, it was so that, if they got lost, you would know to return them to east London. For a while after that, it was ironic, and then all the men started doing it for charity. Now they’re just doing it because they think it looks nice, which a lot of them do. Well done, moustachioed men.

There’s always one person who overperceives risk
In normal life, this is the person who’ll tell you your shoelaces are undone, or that the zip on your bag is open, and you have to rectify the sloppiness and thank them, even though you were pretty happy as you were. At festivals, these people go into overdrive and see danger everywhere, their minds constantly fast-forwarding to the moment where the bin attracts a rat and then, wham, everyone has cholera.

I watched, rapt, at LCD Soundsystem, as a woman told her friends that someone had better pick up that orange, in case someone trod on it. One did pick it up. But now what? Sadly, the second lady had a low perception of risk, and she threw it and it hit someone on the head. It would have been better to leave the orange where it was.

There’s always your next meal to look forward to …View image in fullscreen

It’s OK to settle, with food
Don’t sweat it, if you had a mac and cheese that tasted like elastic bands made of Dairylea. Your appetite is infinitely self-replenishing. It will find love again.

Come on, what’s not to like?View image in fullscreen

Fireworks never get old
You might think that unpredictability is the main component of excitement, and therefore fireworks, being entirely predictable, are no longer for you. This is incorrect. You know what Gandhi said – even a single indoor sparkler is better than no sparkler.

You know the notion: take your litter home with you? You can take your festival personality home with you as well
Perhaps you were warmer and more open, in the festive environment; readier with a smile, more tolerant of loud noises and unexpected turns of event, more positive in outlook. You know you can also be like this at home, right?

Pick up your litter – and your festival personality.View image in fullscreen

There’s a right and a wrong way to lend, steal, borrow or unplug a charger
Let’s imagine someone needs a charger: emphatically do not start: “Let me have a look.” First, find out exactly what they need; USB-C, lightning or micro or something else? Do they need the base or just the lead? The minute you say you’re going to look for something, in their heads, that means you’ll find one: so when you don’t, you’ll live on in their heart as nothing but a massive disappointment.

If you ask to borrow something, don’t over-invest in the lender, because they probably won’t have read my first rule, and the likelihood is they won’t have one.

In a power-sharing environment, never unplug anything below 25%.

There’s a trick to getting served
This is the scene; you’re right at the front of the bar, but there are 20 of you and only three staff; if you’re not confident you can be served next, field it. “That person’s next,” you say, winningly, pointing to your neighbour. You’re then guaranteed to be served after that.

You need to learn some people’s names
Anyone you’re going to see regularly – if you like the same coffee place, regularly go through the same turnstile – introduce yourself, remember whatever name comes back. That way, if you ever want to say “thank you”, it’ll sound like you mean it.

You should alternate your shoes
Always take two pairs with you, and switch them. It keeps your feet on their toes.

… and share your sunscreen
You can go wild with generosity: it’s like the magic porridge pot, sun cream – it never runs out. Also, if you have your act together, packing two of any light essentials (sunglasses, lip salve, vape juice if you’re that kind of lowlife, wet wipes) will make you much more popular than you objectively deserve to be.

And stretch … Joe Wicks leads an exercise class at Glastonbury.View image in fullscreen

It’s goodbye novelty yoga, hello (again) Joe Wicks
Power ballad yoga was the end point of silliness for the apparently ageless meditative exercise that seems to need to constantly refresh itself with goats and nudity. Joe Wicks, on the other hand, once the saviour of lockdown, now bringing his workouts to festivals, needs nothing but his own alarming energy.

Source: theguardian.com

You May Also Like

More From Author