Glastonbury: Heaven or Hell?

Which camp do you fall in?

MOST POPULAR

Hell by Hannah Swerling, Commissioning Editor

For me, Hell is a field in Somerset in June. Don't get me wrong, I love music. Who doesn't? But mud and crowds and self-conscious zaniness do nothing to enhance my enjoyment. 

If Glastonbury could just be me, the music, a handful of friends, a nice, clean guesthouse and some great food and wine, I'd love it! But I'm not sure that would work for the organisers. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

My sense is that people's feelings about Glasto are pretty black and white – you either love it or hate it. Those who love it do so with a kind of hysterical zeal that I truly cannot understand. They are evangelical to a point that makes me feel extra curmudgeonly about my hostility.

Experiencing music live is special. Many of my most memorable experiences have been at gigs. That whole lose-yourself-in-the-moment, collective fangirling, sing-along-to-every-word euphoria is exhilarating. But then you get to hop in a taxi home to your own lovely bed without 175,000 strangers getting in the way. 

MOST POPULAR

Here are some things I have hated/hate in life. Having to play hockey in the rain at school and spending the rest of the day being muddy. Being stuck on the Underground when there's overcrowding. Watching reality TV contestants maniacally protesting about how whacky they are. Sleep deprivation. Combine all of those things, charge £220 for the privilege and ta dah! You have Glastonbury.

On Wednesday, it begins, with thousands of welly-wearing revelers heading to Worthy Farm for 5 days of iffy weather, fetid portaloos and forced fun (I told you, curmudgeonly) and I am just so grateful that I won't be there. I will still dance to Santigold, sway my arms to Adele and sing along to Cyndi Lauper, but I get to do it alone, at home, not wearing wellies. That, to me, is heaven. 

Heaven by Lena de Casparis, Culture Director

This weekend will be my fourth time at Glastonbury, so I can tell you from experience Hannah – it's absolutely bloody brilliant. 

No where else on earth would you get to squeeze yourself between a crowd of women - and men - all dressed in big blonde wigs and cowboys boots and sing along to Adele belting out Hello. Totally friggin' awesome, right?

If you've never been you'll have never danced like there's no tomorrow at Shangri-La, nor watched the sun come up from the stone circle. 

Yes, it is expensive, but view it this way, over the four days I'll see at least five brilliant gigs a day (often more) – so that's just tenner a pop. And paying £10 to see Savages and Sigur Ros do the biggest gigs of their lives, well, that seems like an absolute bargain to me.

One of the best things about being part of team Glastonbury – is the feeling of seeing bands before anyone else has heard of them.

Every year I stumble across some tiny stage with a unknown act playing some acoustic gig.

Of course, I add them immediately to my Spotify as soon I get back in to phone signal (another divine thing is not being tech reliant for those four precious days). And then greatly enjoy later telling friends 'I saw them at Glastonbury' when said artist becomes huge. A bit smug? Yes. But best feeling ever? 100%.

Of course, you have to deal with a bit of rain (only sometimes – the sun shines a lot more than it's made out), but anyone that lets a bit of water and mud get in the way of the adventure – well, they are fools.

For me, the very best thing about Glastonbury is that you're in it together – all 170,000 of you (along with Kate Moss and Alexa Chung) in some big fields in Pilton, Somerset - having the best weekend of your lives. All together on a pact to have fun.

No where else do you feel that sense of huge collaboration. 

So, when I'm there, this weekend singing along to Lapsley and jumping up and down to Lady Leshurr  – I'll think of you Hannah – and I'll know exactly what you're missing. 

Read Next: