I'm a Glastonbury Festival veteran and these are the essentials you need when heading to Worthy Farm

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As a seasoned Glastonbury-goer, I’ve learned over time the things to bring that will help you get the most of the festival, and the items you really should leave at home. So for all the first-timers out there, here’s my list of Glasto essentials.

The Glastonbury Festival is just days away and as ticket-holders will know, the butterflies of excitement really start to kick in right around now. Now is the time though, for a calm and rational appraisal of what you should be packing for the musical extravaganza.

While your mind might be turning to the fabulous outfits you have planned or how much alcohol you would like to stash in your luggage, leaving without the essentials could put a damper on the experience. And it’s wise to also consider just how far you will be walking before you set up camp.

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First there’s the mammoth trek from the car park to the gates but don’t be fooled, once inside, you then face the epic battle across the 900-acre site to find the perfect pitch. Trust me, on day one you will really get your steps in.

With that in mind, you’ll want to pack light, without scrimping on the items you actually need. So, as a Glastonbury Festival veteran, here’s my list of items you don’t want to leave home without.

Glastonbury essentials to make sure you have the best festival. Picture: Getty Images Glastonbury essentials to make sure you have the best festival. Picture: Getty Images
Glastonbury essentials to make sure you have the best festival. Picture: Getty Images | Getty Images

Glastonbury packing essentials

Perhaps most important is your tent and I have to agree with festival organisers here, opt for something sturdy you can use over and over again - your future self will thank you for it. Not only will you save cash in the long run, and be doing your bit to not trash the environment, but Glastonbury is exhausting and you will want to get a good night's sleep to leave you feeling refreshed for the next day’s dancing.

Go Outdoors has a great range of lightweight festival tents you will be able pack up and use for years to come. Shops such as Millets, Mountain Warehouse, and Blacks, are all great for picking up other camping essentials such as a sleeping bag, sleeping mat or air bed, and a torch.

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Along with your highly curated capsule wardrobe, there are a few items of additional clothing which are a must and they all revolve around battling the elements. First up, of course, is a decent pair of wellies. Do not choose style over substance as while the pretty options may look better, they will split or rub, or both, and nobody wants wet and sore feet when you’re getting down to Dua Lipa. My favourite welly brand is Le Chameau and while they aren’t the cheapest, they are both comfortable and reliable, so well worth the extra few quid.

To avoid heatstroke and sunburn, you’ll also want a wide brimmed hat - Next has a wide range of hats to fit the bill, I particularly like their Seagrass Panama Hat. Sunglasses are also an absolute must for festivals. They will protect your sight, AND cover up those panda eyes from the late night before - choose Ray-Ban for extra ‘I’m with the band’ vibes. And, well, they just look cool.

Last up, bring your warmest hoodie. Even on the hottest days at Worthy Farm, the evenings suddenly get very chilly. You can also roll it up as a makeshift pillow back at your tent.

Glastonbury essentials according to a seasoned festival-goerGlastonbury essentials according to a seasoned festival-goer
Glastonbury essentials according to a seasoned festival-goer | Product images

And so on to toiletries. And I will start with toilet paper, toilet paper, toilet paper. There is no getting away from the fact the toilets at Glastonbury are a low point but you just have to grin and bear it. Just get in, get out and try not to think about it. Do not expect there to be loo roll, there almost certainly won’t be any, and if you do, by some miracle, find one, it’s likely covered in, at best, the germs of a thousand other toilet-users, and at worst... Well let’s not go there.

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I love Who Gives A Crap anyway but if you do have to carry a roll in your bag then their funky wrapping will give you the edge on your loo roll rivals. Plus, you can rewrap after use to save your TP from getting ruined in your bag. You can subscribe on the WGAC website, or pick up this 8-pack from Waitrose.

At the campsites you will always find running water so, if you can’t face the morning queues for a shower, for a quick freshen up you can’t go wrong with a flannel and a bar of soap. And talking of soap, much better to bring a shampoo bar rather than a bottle of shampoo and avoid the risk of it leaking en route.

This 10 pack of flannels by Mothercare at Boots gives you enough for a freshen up morning and evening over the five days. Faith in Nature make shampoo and conditioner bars for all types of hair so you should be able to find one to replace your bottled shampoo with.

According to the Met Office, this year’s Glastonbury festival is set to be a scorcher so the most important ‘bottle of something’ you can bring is the sun cream. Trust me when I say, there are few times in most people’s lives when you will be so exposed to the sun’s rays with very few opportunities to escape the onslaught, from sunrise to sunset.

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You will also want to take a reusable water bottle with you. There are loads of refill stations dotted around the site to make sure you stay hydrated and you will save loads on buying cans of water or soft drinks available on site. Freeing up cash to spend on your favourite band T-shirt. While most of us have one nowadays, if you find yourself without, why not get a Glastonbury branded bottle and keep it as a memento.

Perhaps not ‘essentials’ but the ‘nice-to-haves’ I would add to this list are either a camping chair or picnic blanket. After walking for miles it’s nice to take a seat but in busy areas it can be hard to find one, so taking your own is a Godsend. These really come into their own on Sunday when all you want to do is chill out in front of the ‘legends slot’. Argos have a range starting from just a fiver.

What NOT to bring to Glastonbury Festival

You can find a list of banned items at the Glastonbury Festival website but I have my own advice on things to avoid, even those items which aren't strictly speaking ‘prohibited’. Camping space at Glasto is in high demand so don’t be that person who whacks up a gazebo and tapes off an ‘area’. 

Wet wipes are also a complete waste. They aren’t great for your skin and they are terrible for the environment. As any festival-goer will attest to, they absolutely litter the site which is, if nothing else, a bit grim - who wants someone’s grimy wet wipe blowing into their tent porch? A flannel is a much more eco-friendly and cost-effective option.

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And a final word from someone who once lost an expensive bottle of perfume to the security guards at Reading Festival, glass is not permitted on site, and that includes fragrance bottles so leave that on the dressing table, or find a non-glass atomiser to decant some in to.

Now, go and enjoy the festival. As long as you have the essentials, everything else you’ll get by without.