It’s that time again, when every last hack from every last publication, from Guns & Ammo to Decanter, is doling out advice as to how to tackle the world’s largest festival: who to see, what to pack, where to pitch up and how to have The Best Week Ever. But you shouldn’t listen to any of them - you deserve better than their hackneyed guidance. We’re the only ones who care about you. We’re the only ones you can trust.
So here’s DiS’ guide to the next six days on Worthy Farm - a collection of heartfelt tips (and sarky snipes) from Christian Cottingham, Mark Muldoon, Marc Burrows and Dom Gourlay to help you through to the other side, trenchfoot-free. You’re welcome.
Bring a massive Fuck-Off Flag or Thing On A Pole
It's difficult to underestimate the essential ubiquity of the traditional Glastonbury Massive Fuck Off Flag (MFOF) or Thing On A Pole (TOAP). Indeed, the history of the festival is the history of things on poles. Legend has it at the first festival, back in 1654, no-one could watch T-Rex due to someone with a tent pole with a MFOF featuring a picture of glamourpuss hippie Marc Bolan and a set of bowling pins bearing the legend 'TEN BIN BOLAN'. In subsequent years it became traditional to affix John Peel to the top of a tent pole and parade him through the site. Over the years the discarded tent poles used to hoist the diminutive DJ legend have been collected and used to assemble the 'John Peel Stage' in his honour. Which ever way you look at it, it is your duty as a Glastonbury attendee to block the views of as many people as is humanly possible.
That gazebo you were planning on taking? Burn it.
Don’t be that guy, the one effectively land-grabbing a vast chunk of campsite so that you and your mates can sit in the shade drinking away the afternoon mere metres from your stuff. You’re at the greatest arts event in the world - this isn’t the time to get parochial. And no, that view of the Pyramid Stage you’ve annexed doesn’t count as ‘experiencing the festival.’
Of course, if you want to pitch-up beneath one of the pylons then go right ahead. You’ll probably be fine.
Stop bringing your own beer
Come now, are you really still planning on dragging that trolley of six 24 packs of Carlsberg/Strongbow Dark Fruit (lager for dinner, cider for dessert) from car to camp again this year? Take DiS's advice, and bring boxes of red wine instead. The smart-shopping alcoholic alighted on boxed wine over bottles ages ago, like the smug middle class family loudly priding itself on doing its main weekly shop at Lidl nowadays. Think how many festival problems it solves: much less to carry, supposed to be drunk at room temperature, you can carry that box right down to the front for Arcade Fire, and you're much less likely to need a pee just before they come on. And if you can forgo the whole drinking temperature thing, DiS swears blind that it's never had a single hangover off this stuff. For additional Glastonbury points, put one of your boxes in a 24 hour property lockup on the other side of the site to where you're camped. That way, you're never too far away from a top up when you're rushing off to NYC Downlow for the rest of the night.
Stop by the Circus Tent...
Honestly, this one could change your life. Banish all notions of clowns clutching juggling balls and think instead about women lifting fridges with their nipples or trapeze artists wielding chainsaws. The things you see here will repeat on you for years.
...And the Green Fields
It’s amazing how many people barely venture south of the Other Stage, instead clinging territorially to that spot they’ve marked out for the headliner seven-hours hence. But hey, their loss: for those who bother making the trek - and it can be quite the trek - it’s this area that gives Glastonbury a lot of its character, rough-edged and weird and a merciful respite from the branding elsewhere, and from the people that like that stuff.
Lost your friends? Make new ones
Your phone’s going to die. And even if it doesn’t it’s not going to work: 150,000 people in a field in a county where humans are terrifyingly outnumbered by farmyard animals and the local telecommunications infrastructure is little better than tin and string, all simultaneously attempting to call their friends? Best of luck.
So just accept it: that meet-up isn’t going to happen. Fuck it, they were boring anyway - this is a GREAT chance to ditch them and find some better ones.
Get VIP Entry and stay backstage
Everyone knows the main festival is for losers. If you can wrangle a VIP or All Areas pass, then what the hell are you doing tramping about in the mud watching old hippies and smelly indie bands? Hang out back stage, there's probably wi-fi, you can give a nod to Edith Bowman, have a crack at chatting up someone from the cast of Hollyoaks who's probably wearing Hunter wellies and denim cut offs, and then watch Kasabian from the side of the stage where you'll get a good view of the audience but won't really be able to see the band or hear them properly. It's also vital you carry your iPad round with you at all times- if you have Google Glass then double points.
Moan about how much better it was before the fence
A Glastonbury rite of passage is to pretend you got into the festival for free 'back in the day' by slipping a tenner to a shifty bloke with a rope ladder. For added authenticity, complain about how no-one got to see Kenickie properly in 1997 because of the mud making the stage sink, but you did see My Life Story do their orchestral set? Talk wistfully about 'the vibe' and 'atmosphere' and 'unique anarchic feel' only achievable with the arrival of a bunch of crusty's getting off their tits to the Levellers and living out of the Hare Krishna tent on free food and cheap speed for four days.
Bring as much dried fruit as you can possibly carry. Why? Well, for starters it's utterly delicious any time of day, and far more appetising than Greasy Joe's horse burger. Not to mention infinitely cheaper. Secondly, as well as containing the main nutrients of fresh fruits (don't stock up on these. They will rot and go off quite quickly and ultimately cause your tent to smell like a landfill site), they also possess enough bioactive ingredients to ensure a quality diet is maintained while reducing the risk of chronic disease. The latter being fairly appropriate should the rain clouds inevitably descend and turn Worthy Farm into a muddy cesspit. There's also plenty to choose from as described here so get those food supplies stocked up now! You know it makes sense.
Record everything for social media
If you didn't watch it through your iPad screen and then upload it with a hashtag, then how can you be sure it actually happened? Festivals no longer take place during your time at the event, they take place a few days later when you go back through your Facebook pictures and tag that posh girl/boy you got off with outside the long-drop by the Park Stage. It's not about the music, man, it's about the memories.
Give Metallica a go
DiS hears both sides of this debate. It really does. It senses that Metallica gigs work because the whole audience is going bat-shit crazy with violent excitement, flying at each other for 90 minutes, then all going home happy, £60 well spent. It wonders how that will play in a field of people that, hand on heart, would have rather the Outkast/Prince rumour had come off. DiS also understands though, the need to innovate with one's headliners. It recalls how thrilling the first five minutes of Jay Z's 2008 set was. It also remembers, mind, how that innovation was somewhat forced by Radiohead saying they didn't want to headline that year. And so again in 2014, necessity breeds innovation. But Metallica are well aware of the Mogwai/Stones/Monkeys/Kasabian criticisms, and that means they'll know they have to come out the starting blocks fighting. There's potential for history in the making here. And so DiS offers you this gameplan: give them half an hour. See what you think. Maybe you'll dig them. If not, leave. Time it perfectly, and you can stroll south just in time to catch Bryan Ferry's first song in West Holts. Then, leave there too, and walk along the old railway line to see the first five minutes of the and-not-a-moment-too-soon booking of Jake Bugg headlining the Other Stage. Then, walk up the hill and find your way into the crowd at the Park stage just before Mogwai come on. Who will obviously be brilliant.
Buy the EE branded official Glastonbury sex toy
Fans of increasingly penetrative corporate partnerships had good reason to get excited back in April with the announcement that Glastonbury's mobile phone network of choice EE (EE? No? Formally known as Orange/T-Mobile? DiS used to be on T-Mobile, and does miss it. DiS was even on T-Mobile when it was called One2One, and misses those days most of all.) were to trial the 'Festival Power-Bar' at this year's event. Those amongst us looking to exchange unlimited 1am Snapchat moments with their friends back at the Clapham branch of All Bar One will be able to exchange their used 'Power Bar' for a fully charged one, as many times as they like throughout this year's festival.
And well, DiS feels stuck between ye-old festival bores whinging on every bloody year about how much better the festival was before mobile phones allowed you to instantly call bullshit on the guy that otherwise spends 30 minutes insistently telling you Cliff Richard had died, whilst you're trying to enjoy The Boo Radleys on a Saturday afternoon, and the corporate wonks that think £20 is an acceptable amount of money to charge somebody to be able to recharge their phone four times.
One2One (DiS still insists on calling its mobile network One2One. DiS laments the passing of the One2One brand almost as much as it does BT Cellnet.) have stated that users will only be able to exchange their 'Power Bars' at Glastonbury 2014, meaning that next year they're likely to bring out the accessory in a slightly different shade of green, and make everybody pay another £20.
Still, I think we all deep down agree that Glastonbury 2014 just won't be nearly as enjoyable if unable to take the all important #winningatlife #skrillexselfie on Friday night, so DiS has gone ahead and brought itself its very own festival power bar. And well, if we're nitpicking, it's difficult to see how any late night visitors to your tent might not first get a little overexcited, then deeply underwhelmed by the sight of this sleek metallic bedside implement. Congratulations then One2One, on creating the first official Glastonbury Sex Toy, a logical extension of mobile networks attempts to create risqué yoof orientated brands that was probably only four years away from happening anyway.
Learn the way to William's Green
Keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground for a secret set or three on the William's Green stage this weekend. Forget the Park Stage, this was the place to be last year for intimate sets from the likes of The Vaccines and Palma Violets and with rumours aplenty that one or two special appearances may be in the pipeline (the Manics doing a complete 'Holy Bible' set would make this DiSser's summer...), don't be surprised if this little marquee to the far west of the Pyramid Stage plays host.
It's not just about the bands!
While there are plenty of musical delights to be excited about, Glastonbury is more than just a five-day exercise in watching bands. Make sure you put at least one evening aside to experience the delights of Shangri-La and its Heaven and Hell themed areas. Likewise, pay your respects to iconic Clash frontman Joe Strummer in the aptly named Strummerville where the campfire burns brightly in his memory. You never know, you might even witness the odd celebrity throwing a diva-style strop as we did last year (yes Lily Allen, we're looking at you). Other areas we'd recommend include the futuristic Arcadia, hedonistic Beat Hotel and completely bonkers Rabbit Hole which is situated in the Park area.
If, like us, you're also quite dismayed and perplexed at Eavis and co's choice of headliner to close the festival - Mumford & Sons last year were bad enough, however Leicester's finest Oasis tribute act wholeheartedly usurps them in terms of awfulness - do not despair, there's plenty more worthwhile things to see and do besides. For starters, Massive Attack are making a rare appearance over on the Other Stage that is sure to encapsulate all kinds of greatness without once resorting to boorish laddishness. The excellent London Grammar also continue their rapid ascent by headlining the John Peel Stage where the prospect of Hannah Reid cooing her way through 'Wasting My Young Years' is a far more enticing prospect than Tom Meighan doing an impression of a Mancunian orangutan while tirelessly reciting the words to 'Shoot the Runner' or some other musical atrocity. And that's not all. Elsewhere, Suzanne Vega in the Acoustic Tent, the Shy FX takeover of Arcadia and Nottingham folk ensemble Seven Little Sisters in the Rocket Lounge all provide more viable alternatives to Sunday evening's entertainment schedule.
Catch the Secret Guest in Arcadia on Friday night
It's just bound to be Daft Punk this year. It's simple law of averages.