Frivolity at Glastonbury Festival 2023

Enticing 210,000 festival-goers over 5 days of non-stop music, fun, frivolity, performing arts, and partying hard, check out what happens at Glastonbury Festival…

A deluge of activities and everything imaginable takes place over 5 days of 24/7 festival entertainment at Glastonbury Festival (Glasto), the festival that never sleeps!

Ready to marvel at the gigantic scale of iconic Glasto?

Spanning 900-plus acres over 14 working farms near the tiny village of Pilton in England’s gorgeous Somerset County, this drone footage puts Glasto’s size into perspective.

Video: The Independent


First, a little on backstages as these are definitely worth mentioning.

Although Glasto has over 100 stages throughout the festival grounds, many also have a backstage. As the name suggests, these are only accessible if you can secure special wristbands.

Theatre & Comedy backstage, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Theatre & Comedy backstage

Backstages are where volunteers, crew, and musicians chill out and relax. Other perks include shorter queues for slightly cleaner long drops than the punter areas, comfortable lounges, more music of course, and a chance to meet celebrities if that’s your bag. This year, hand sanitiser and toilet paper were amiss in some backstages.

festival-goers, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Backstage glamour smile

What is Glasto really like?

Brilliant. Atmospheric. Fantastic. Outlandish. Marvellous.

I could go on but you’ll be bored so I’ll just say that it’s an experience you really can’t miss!

I’m always in awe of how 200,000-plus people from all walks of life, across all ages, come together to form a community to absorb 5 days of pure music and art mania, without many incidents.

Glasto villages

If you’re anything like me, then be prepared to walk an average of 20-plus kilometres each day as there really is so much to see and experience – you definitely don’t want to miss anything.

#GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Ready for the last day’s onslaught after a cheeky rest in a real bed! (Photo: Neil Lintern)

The Levels

The famous Sonic venue in Silver Hayes village was replaced with The Levels this year – “a new open-air nightclub inspired by the crossover of architecture, lighting and experimental musical art-forms”.

The Levels, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
The Levels

An area where festival-goers party hard to high decibels of drum and bass music until 3:30 am, before continuing onto Shangri-la for non-stop partying until 8am.

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

Block9’s IICON Stage, and Shangri-la

Block9’s mammoth and stunning 65-foot high sculpture IICON is awe-inspiring!

Bild Studios created this wonderfully innovative futuristic stage. From Block9’s co-founder, Gideon Berger: IICON is “a sinister monument to the terrifying realities of this digital, post-truth age that we find ourselves in”.

IICON, Shangri-La, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
A tranquil moment during a brief maintenance closure

A fabulous 180 Fact short video on IICON from 2022 for you…

From the underground clubs of NYC Downlow to the “post-apocalyptic hedonism” of Shangri-la, Glasto’s party scene’s unforgettable and wild nightlife is where…

…boundaries of creativity and self-expression are pushed to the limits.

Pennard Hill Ground

Surveying across Pennard Hill Ground in the fading light, waiting for the sweltering sun to subside, delivers respite and cooling relief.

Pennard Hill, Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom, Europe

Glasto scenes

The new and eclectic Car Henge…

Catching the fantastic Mongolian band The Hu at the West Holts stage…

…and another excellent performance by The Tesky Brothers a Melbourne (Australia) band at the Other Stage.

A profusion of stages scattered throughout Glasto creates fabulous hubs for music and performing arts – nonstop partying.

The Hive, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
The Hive

Previous three Glastonbury Festivals

This sultry 2023 Glastonbury Festival is my 4th festival but also the 4th time volunteering as a steward for the Silver Hayes area.

No longer a Glastonbury Virgin as lost this during 2016’s mud-fest, my second festival was during the sun-fest of 2017, then back again for another festival onslaught sweltering in 2019, before COVID-19 hit.

The Glasto 2023 festival was manic and a blast! In my humble opinion, the Other Stage holds much better music than the Pyramid Stage.

Queens of the Stone Age were absolutely brilliant live! The atmosphere was electrifying with a slick and memorable performance.

Video: BBC Music

Glasto beauties…

Mind-blowing festival rundown

  • The festival spans between 900 to 1,000 acres – around 500 football pitches in size – and spreads over 14 farms
  • It takes the best part of an hour to walk between the two furthest corners of the site but add another half an hour if it’s muddy
  • Festival capacity 210,000 – not including officials, police, and children under 13
  • Over 3,000 performances across 100-plus stages
  • 135,000 tickets sold in 22 minutes with the last batch in 6 minutes
  • Around 300 volunteers as Silver Hayes Fire Stewards but around 2,000 volunteer Stewards in total
  • Around 50 people are employed full time
  • Glasto “costs about £40 million to hold of which about £2 million a year goes to charities” – Emily Eavis
  • £335 entry fee + £5 booking fee to camp for 5 nights but more for a motorhome, caravan, or campervan – what you get for your money
  • The sale of single-use plastic and glass is banned
  • Free water points throughout the festival grounds
  • Posh off-site glamping costs up to £24,000
  • 6 weeks to dismantle the festival site and return the grounds to working farms

Cleaning up

More than 1,300 volunteers clean up the astonishing mess left behind by partygoers.

Typically, the cleaning starts on Monday morning straight after the final Sunday, although this year, the clean-up started almost as soon as Elton John’s performance finished on Sunday night.

Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom, Europe
Photo credit: Brian Coney (2019)

Literally, tons of rubbish must be cleared, Worthy Farm be left as it was, and everyone out of the farm by Tuesday. It’s a monumental task involving over 1,000 volunteer rubbish “pickers” this year.

Although I’ve read that since 2019, 99% of tents are taken home by festival-goers. I’m not sure how accurate this is or how anyone can calculate the figure. At least the leftover tents are donated to the Scouts and charity, not just thrown away.

One of the Silver Hayes Fire Stewards crew at 03:30 am after our last shift for Glastonbury Festival 2023!

Silver Hayes Fire Stewards, #GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
Photo: Darren Baggs

Of course, Glasto wouldn’t be Glasto without the fantastic RAF Red Arrows cruising over the festival grounds -take a peek…

Video: The Sun

On shift and missed Yusuf/Cat Stevens. Wild World – a blast from the past for you…

Video: BBC Music

Where is the Glasto festival?

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.

This tiny village is home to just over 1,000 residents, although explodes to a city of 210,000 during the Glasto festival.

Thought I’d create this little taste of a few actual scenes from Glasto – enjoy!

Now that Glasto is over for another year, check back next week for continuing travel tips about Japan’s amazing and vibrant city of Osaka.

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.

#GlastonburyFestival2023, #Pilton, #Somerset, England, Europe
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51 responses to “Frivolity at Glastonbury Festival 2023”

  1. equinoxio21 Avatar

    Love the Hair! 👏🏻
    Cat Stevens still singing? 😳
    I was wondering where you’d gone, no posts in my mail.
    Another WP occurrence I guess.
    Unfollow and re-follow.
    All well? Still in Italy?

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ciao! That wig has been doing the rounds but this time, I topped it with the new hat.
      Thanks for reading and yes, Cat Steven is still singing but probably only at Glastonbury. 😉
      The WP occurrence is getting worse as I barely receive any notifications. I visited your blog a few days ago but didn’t see any new posts as I know you’re on holidays.
      All is well and with you?
      Still in Italy but in the north. Just took the train from Bologna to Trieste today and here for a few nights before heading to Rijeka.

      1. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Excellent combination of wig and hat.
        Back from Holidays, NY and Canada. Very nice.
        But still not back to blogging. Thousands of things to do first. But all well.
        Bologna is very nice. Discovered it a few years ago. Wouldn’t mind going back… 😉
        Rijeka? Where on earth would that be? Hopping to Maps.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Great to have you back. I checked your site yesterday but saw nothing was posted so didn’t think you were back yet. 😉
        Thanks for the compliment re hat and wig – anything goes at Glastonbury!
        Great to hear you had a good time and looking forward to your photos and update. It’s hard to find time to write while on the road…I know.
        First time in Bologna and loved it – such a beautiful city and especially enjoyable with friends.
        Croatia…have been doing research on my mother’s side of the family for the last week and here until Tuesday then taking a bus to Zagreb. Wanted to go to Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik but prices are too high and crowds too great. Will do these places out of season. After Zagreb It’s a bus to Banja Luka (Bosnia).

      3. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Ciao, ciao… Half back I would say. No idea yet about when I might post again… Some day.
        Enjoy your trip…
        Buona notte.

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        No pressure, as and when. Did you catch up with family on your trip?
        We’re not back in Oz until 2025, so it’s going to be hard posting every week whilst travelling. I’m not sure how others find the time to publish every few days! Maybe AI is used now?
        Ciao e grazie mille

      5. equinoxio21 Avatar

        I do have family in Canada. Distant cousins in Saskatchewan I’ve never met. But we stayed in Québec. Did meet a blogger friend in Montréal. As nice in real life as she is in her blog.
        I am using AI for translation on my Spanish short stories. Infinitely better that Google of Word translate. It’s cut my editing time in half…
        So you will stay in Europe all through ’25? Good. We might “hook up”, who knows.

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You have relatives everywhere! 😉 A good friend in Australia is originally from Québec.
        How cool meeting a blogger friend. I seem to remember you met another blogger a few years back, Lisa? I visit her blog from time to time but haven’t seen anything new in the past few years.
        Think we’ll be in the northern hemisphere for a good while but not sure if until 2025 as making this up as we go so only book a couple of weeks in advance.
        It would be great to hook up at some point. 🙂

      7. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Our family is indeed scattered all across the Empire… 😉 There are cousins all the way to Oz, I think. No idea who they are though.
        Yes, it always is nice. Lisa was very nice, but she has dropped out of sight as she had to go back inland to make money before they go out sailing again. Haven’t heard of her since 2020. I’ll try to find her mail.
        I’ll let you know when my next trip plans will be, and where…

      8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        As are my family and I seem to keep finding more.
        Yes, Lisa met my very good friends while they were doing a circumnavigation over 10-plus years. It is a small world after all. Sadly, it’s that 4-letter dirty word “work” again that takes us precious ,moments and life. But if you’re not born rich then, there’s no alternative. 😉
        Sounds great and like you already have something in the pipeline.

      9. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Got it. Had never heard of the place. Enjoy.

      10. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Before WWII it was Fiume (Italy), when my mother was born. Maybe you’ve heard of Fiume? It’s one of those pieces of turf that got bandied around depending on the war.
        Staff at the State Archives are really helpful, and I only have Monday left for research. I’m enjoying Rijeka. The city is pretty cool although a little gritty and has an industrial feel. I have a draft of over 1,000 words going so will get to that eventually. Still on Japan. 😉

      11. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Yes, Fiume sounds familiar. I remember your mentioning family roots near Trieste. Hope you you find something in the archives… 🤞🏻

      12. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You have a good memory!
        I’ve unearthed a lot more than I ever knew about my mother’s side as her family never wanted to speak about that era. Names and DOBs of Great Grandparents (both sides) and Great Great Grandparents. I can go deeper but don’t have the time as tomorrow is the last day for research. The physical census cards are fascinating as they also hold info of all the addresses of where they lived. The marriage info noted where my grandparents were married in Rijeka, so we visited that church (not that I’m religious, but nostalgic).
        The issue is that they moved to Trieste in 1947, so really need to visit the archives in Trieste for information on 1947-1949, which are the years I have nothing for but might return on the next trip in Schengen after we’re out for 3 months. 😉

      13. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Fascinating. I concur about religion, and nostalgia. Roots are important. There is a small church in Paris where one of my direct ancestors was baptized around 1770. It’s always closed when I walk by. I need to take a picture of the opening hours. Just to get a feel of the place…
        Schengen? Aussies have to leave after 3 months? And come back? (Shaking my head)

      14. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        It really is fascinating the deeper you go…and yes, you should visit that church.
        Indeed, we do. It’s 3 months in the whole of Schengen (27 countries now) then 3 months out and the reason that Bosnia is next after Zagreb.

      15. equinoxio21 Avatar

        I find it so stupid. three months? Why not a year? O three years? better shut up before I say something I might regret… LOL

      16. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, I have the same sentiments, but this is also reciprocated by Australia I believe.

      17. equinoxio21 Avatar

        It often seems to be that I (we) witnessed a certain opening up of the world. Ans now it is closing back down. Barriers everywhere…

      18. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Very true, but Schengen goes back to 1990 with only 5 countries, but in force in 1995. Today, it’s 27 countries, so the same 3-months in 180-day rule for Australians, Canadians, British, Americans, and New Zealanders (although NZ’s agreement is a little different).

      19. equinoxio21 Avatar

        True. Time has passed. All the more reason to modify maybe? But then bureaucrats never reconsider… 😉

      20. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Bureaucrats only consider what benefits themselves…no longer are they in politics for the people.

      21. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Indeed. (Were they ever though?) 😉

      22. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        The eternal optimist, I hope that once they were… 😉
        Just arrived in Sarajevo. The bus trip from Banja Luka was gorgeously mountainous!

      23. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Sarajevo… A place of (sad) history.

      24. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Indeed and only 28 years ago so still raw and real.
        Banja Luka was very different to Sarajevo on first impression arriving yesterday, so off to explore soon.

      25. equinoxio21 Avatar


  2. Supraja Lakshmi N Avatar

    Wow, what a fantastic article! You have captured the essence and spirit of the Glastonbury Festival 2023. Your photos and descriptions were amazing and captivating. I felt like I was there with you, enjoying the music, the art, the people, and the atmosphere. You have shown me a different side of the festival that I didn’t know before.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you, Supraja, for your kind feedback!
      So, you’ve heard of Glastonbury festival before my article? Check out the first article on prepping for the festival.

  3. Dave Ply Avatar

    That appears to be quite the spectacle. Is it really massively crowded, or nicely thinned out by the large grounds?

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It really is an amazing spectacle!
      It depends on the band/act that is playing at a particular stage or venue. The Pyramid (main) stage gets terribly rammed, especially when Elton John was on or any huge name.
      When a crowd moves from one area to another, it can be a little overwhelming because of the sheer number of people and typically, it’s at a fast-walking pace.
      When we’re volunteering on shift, if the tent we’re in gets too crowded, we stand outside and monitor around the perimeter but also look out for too many people in a tent. This is when security steps in and thins out the crowd or stops more people entering. It really is a balance as you don’t want to stop festival-goers’ fun, but also, we need to keep them safe.
      Not sure if you read my first 2023 post for Glastonbury?

      1. Dave Ply Avatar

        I think I did see that one, but don’t remember the details.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        No problem. I’m sure you read loads of posts. 😉

  4. Yetismith Avatar

    I imagine that it must be a special experience to find yourself in such a large group of like-minded people and everyone there to have a good time. It blows my mind that this can all be set-up with such efficiency, such a wide variety of entertainment involving such a vast number of people and then within a day, totally gone! Amazing. I like the Hu! So did that dark sky bring a storm? Fun to see all this!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Love your feedback, Carolyn!
      Even though this was my 4th festival, like you, it still blows my mind at the logistics that goes into accommodating over 200,000 people for only 5 days – incredible really.
      The HU are amazing live and no, that big black storm bypassed the festival and found another area to dump on – luckily.
      Glad you enjoyed this post as it was fun to write. 🙂

  5. Avatar

    I wonder what Woodstock would be like today. utopia, peace and love. Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Ten Years After, Joan Baez… I know, the world turns, we turn too. Glasto is an oxygen for the diversity of life and living. Wonderful, Nilla.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      If only I was at Woodstock and saw all the Greats – how incredible!
      Glasto certainly is oxygen for the diversity of life and living – thankyou, Fernando.

    2. Nicole Avatar

      Guessing you didnt see the Woodstock 99 Documentary?

      1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Wow, that certainly wasn’t what I saw at Glasto or have ever seen in the 4 times I’ve attended. Sadly, a lot of violence at that festival.
        Thanks for sharing, Nicole. 🙂

      2. Avatar

        thank you so much. I watched it, I really liked it, because Woodstock/69 is and will always be emblematic. the 99 is wonderful. my hug.

      3. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thank you for watching!

      4. Avatar

        just a small observation: what I find wonderful is the gathering of people around life, living, solidarity, fraternity, music, diversity. violence whatever it may be will always be repudiated. that in 99 was sad, but look at what good we can do. my hug.

      5. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        It was a different festival in a different country, but this shouldn’t have happened.
        You’ll always get people that breathe violence and so, are comfortable with being surrounded by violence and aggression. Sad but true. We can only hope that this is the minority.
        A hug back. 🙂

  6. Abirbhav Avatar

    Nice to finally meet you (through photographs of course) after long.. 😀 This post definitely gives off vibes of adrenaline rush and excitement due to the celebrations..
    I am not much of a festival person and like celebrating in a relatively quieter manner.. However I am glad to see such vibrant pictures, artworks and cleaning efforts by volunteers.. 🙂
    Quite heartening.. and loved the cat sculpture made of cars (I am an ailurophile and a hardcore motorhead too)

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Glad you liked this post and the photos.
      This is the first post I published last week for Glastonbury Festival, if you’d like a read.
      The festival is amazing, but it can get quite a lot with all the people that attend – the bands and entertainment are definitely worth it!

      1. Abirbhav Avatar

        Awesome.. 🙂
        Let me jump over to your post..

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thank you!

  7. 100 Country Trek Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this idea..such an Festival..You saw that Car Sculpture 🚗 great image but we didn’t see this car Sculpture here .I saw all of your images. Anita

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks, Anita! Car Henge was so innovative but the whole of the festival was fabulous. 🙂

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