Prepping for Glastonbury Festival 2023

Once more into the breach dear friends, prepping for Glastonbury Festival 2023 begins…

A magical atmosphere encloses Glastonbury Festival (Glasto) when thousands of festival-goers descend on Worthy Farm seizing the tiny village of Pilton in Somerset. Pushing the village of just over 1,000 locals to 210,000 festival-goers – double the city of Bath’s population – the world-famous festival launches England’s South-west firmly on the global platform.

Typically held every year at the end of June, you have to attend this incredible and one of the largest green-field music and performing arts festivals in the world, at least once in your lifetime!

In the beginning…

Inspired by a 1969 Led Zeppelin concert at the Bath Festival of Blues in Somerset, Michael Eavis created the Pilton Pop Festival. Held at his dairy Worthy Farm’s 160 acres the day after Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, tickets cost £1. Entry included free milk from the farm for the 1,500 festival-goers.

1970 poster, Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom, Europe
Photo credit: Glastonbury Festival Official Site

The festival’s name changed in 1981 to the more marketable Glastonbury Festival. Outgrowing Worthy Farm in 1985, Michael Eavis purchased neighbouring Cockmill Farm to expand the festival grounds. Today, the festival’s massive ground spreads across 900-plus acres over 14 farms and is Europe’s largest music and arts festival. Sprawling across the gorgeous Somerset countryside, the grounds are even visible from space!

space aerial, Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom, Europe
Photo credit: NASA (2019)

Evolution of a “green festival”

With the expansion of the Glastonbury Festival over the decades, everyone has been working towards making this an even greener festival. Not only for the environment but also because the Glastonbury site is across many actual working dairy farms. And need to be returned to working farms after the festival.

Ever wonder what happens to the waste created by 200,000-plus people over 5 days of non-stop partying?

Great informative BBC Earth video

More reading for you about the Glastonbury Festival Waste Policy.

Festival accommodation

Don’t have a spare £24,000 to splurge on luxury Pop-up Hotels? Or £1500 to spend on hiring a tipi (tent only) in the Tipi Village? Or rent accommodation in surrounding quaint villages at eye-watering inflated prices up to £4,093 (and more) a night? Don’t own a motorhome or campervan or the cash to rent either? Then, pitching a tent is your only option.

Tipis, Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom, Europe
Tipi Village

Selling Reg, our old faithful motorhome after the Glasto in 2017, bought the trusty 4-man tent for the 2019 festival and then used it again for the 2023 festival, which was the cheapest accommodation.

Festival food

A profusion of cuisines from around the world exudes a melange of lingering aromas enticing hungry and drunk festival-goers. Some stalls are 24/7. Be warned, meals look and smell much better than they taste. Understandably, the food is expensive for the quality and quantity you receive.

The average cost for a small meal plate is £10-£15, with the average cost for a pint of locally brewed Brothers Cider sets you back £6 + £1 for the re-useable plastic cup. Or ask for a refund of the £1 deposit on returning the cup.

food, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Colourful chicken strips

Keep these prices in mind if you’re not planning to take food when camping, as your budget can easily blow out on food and alcohol over 5 days.

#GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Food alley

A CO-OP supermarket at Glasto offers 250 traditional supermarket food, drink, and other products at reasonable prices, considering. Back in 2019, Michael Eavis negotiated a 5-year lease for a Glasto CO-OP if the Pilton Village CO-OP Pop-Up Store was established.

The rundown

The Glasto festival this year runs from the 21st to the 25th of June. You can arrive on the evening of the 20th, although the music doesn’t start until the 21st. Silver Hayes (where I’m stewarding) is the first area open with music and is also the main dance village for the festival. Check out the festival 2023 line-up.

#GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe

As a returning volunteer Fire Steward for Silver Hayes, it’s always great fun to be on shift with people from past Glastos. Although you soon meet loads of really cool stewards – newbies and veterans – all have their Glasto story to tell.

The build-up

All is quiet on the southwest front. This amazing video gives you a glimpse of the site six days before the festival opens.

Video: Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA).

The sheer size of Glasto is incredibly daunting!

Video: The Independent

Although a team of people work throughout the year to organise the mammoth Glasto festival, the build commences a few months out and continues furiously until just days before the festival opens. Be blown away by this Glasto Fest Feed of the live build!

The logistics that go into organising the festival must be astounding! It only takes around 5 weeks to dismantle everything, returning Worthy Farm to a working farm again.

Setting up camp

Luckily, a lift with the bulk of our gear including food, alcohol, sleeping bags, tent, pillows, air bed, clothes, and way too much stuff, sees us venturing to the Steward’s campsite on Sunday morning before the festival.

Not open to the public yet, punter fields are sparse with only the main venues and facilities set up, although not the same for the GFEL Stewards campsite.

camping, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Where do we start?

The steward campsite is already in an excited flurry with people erecting tents all over the place, parking campervans and motorhomes, vying for all the choice spots.

Staking out a relatively flat spot for the campsite, it’s a communal effort to erect 6 tents in the morning’s heat.

camping, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Bobby’s Base Camp

After dumping all the gear, we return to Street to wait for Thursday morning in anticipation.

Returning for the gig

With an early start and super eagerness to return to the festival grounds, finally arrive at the campsite. Everything is still in the tents – a bonus. Filling the tent with more stuff, our home for the next five days is complete.

camping, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Home for 5 days

A luxury tent in Bobby’s base camp…

camping, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe

Today, loads more tents are rammed in fields across the vast grounds. Punters are allowed to park up on Tuesday night and start filtering in on Wednesday for Glasto’s opening on Thursday.


The job of a volunteer Fire Steward for the Silver Hayes area is primarily for the safety of festival-goers.

Depending on the Silver Hayes area, stewarding includes politely telling people to put out cigarettes in non-smoking areas. Also, making sure no one has collapsed anywhere, spotting aggressive behaviour, and giving people directions to the hundreds of festival areas.

WOW, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Partying at WOW (Photo: Neil Lintern)

Our job is not to be overbearing. This is a festival and people are here to have a great time, regardless of what hour of the day or night we’re on. Stewards are also here to have a good time.

Most festival-goers know that stewards are volunteers, so everyone is friendly and pleasant. Considering Glasto 2023 was a gathering of over 200,000 people across 5 days of intense partying, police recorded only 120 incidents and 35 arrests. Although there were 3 fatalities, these are uncommon at this festival.

Where is the Glasto festival?

Unlike the name suggests, the Glastonbury Festival is not actually held in the town of Glastonbury.

The festival is held in fields not far from the village of Pilton, which is some 6 miles from Glastonbury in Somerset’s mythical Vale of Avalon.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on the United Kingdom at Image Earth Travel.

Note: All photos by Nilla’s Photography unless otherwise mentioned. No part of this post was composed with the help of ChatGPT or AI.

#GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
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Dishevelled but all smiles after finishing the first 3:30 am shift, followed by only a few hours of fitful sleep!

#GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Check the T-shirt (Photo: Neil Lintern)

Check back next week for a plethora of cool Glasto photos and a little more on what frivolities go on at Glasto!

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts at Image Earth Travel.

Note: All photos by Nilla’s Photography unless otherwise mentioned. No part of this post was composed with the help of ChatGPT or AI.


14 responses to “Prepping for Glastonbury Festival 2023”

  1. Life...One Big Adventure Avatar

    I can’t even imagine the logistical nightmare that this event would be! Good on you for volunteering. It would deliver a completely different experience. Mel

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Mel
      Although the festival makes a ton of money, a percentage of the proceeds goes to various charities so it’s not all about the money.
      It is a different experience and hope to return next year.

      1. Life...One Big Adventure Avatar

        Ah, that’s nice. Great to hear charities benefit from all that controlled chaos.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, that’s a great way to put it!
        Thanks for reading.

  2. Yetismith Avatar

    It’s good to know how well organised and thought out it all is. The notion of having 200,000 people turning up in the neighbourhood would totally freak me out. It’s amazing that the farms get back to normal so quickly. I wonder how much the livestock are disturbed by the noise. Obviously it is a positive phenomenon or it would not have continued for so long. It puts in mind the movement of the Roman legions when they set off for war! You must meet some interesting people!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It’s very well organised and like a military operation – it has to be with so many people equivalent to a city descending on a small village for 5 days.
      I’m not sure whether the livestock is disturbed by the noise, I’d imagine it would has to be…
      Ha, ha, that’s a great analogy and quite apt, Carolyn.

  3. Avatar

    I watched, I don’t remember when, I believe I have the video, of a presentation by Barry Gibb, now without his brothers, lifting and moving the Festival audience. extraordinary show with a lot of Woodstock in its diversity. Hug, Nilla.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Barry Gibb and his brothers were from Redcliffe close to where I live in Brisbane, but I’ve never seen the band live.
      Hope all is well, Fernando.

      1. Avatar

        Hi Nilla. I’m fine, following your extraordinary journeys and feeling the urge to, as we say here in Brazil, “put your foot on the road”. my hug and be well please.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Just landed in Calabria, Italy on the 4th so here for a little while before heading to Croatia.
        What’s stopping you putting your foot on the road? 😉

      3. Avatar

        I have been facing cancer since 2019 and I am slowly recovering my health. at the beginning of the 24th I do new exams and if they remain negative I will be released. it’s close.

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I hope that your tests on the 24th are clear and you can start enjoying life again.
        Wishing you the very best!

      5. Avatar

        I expressed myself wrong, the 24th is 2024, January. I’m fine, so far all the tests have been negative. Soon I will be on the road again.
        thank you so much!

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ah, sorry, my misunderstanding. January 2023 is not too far away now. 😉
        Take care!

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