When you first step onto the Glastonbury site, its sheer scale can take your breath away.
From the underground bars, to the rabbit holes, mazes, tipi fields, stone circles, meadows full of art, and much, much, more, it’s no wonder there are thousands of Glasto-goers who are on their double figure visits. No one Glastonbury experience is quite like the others.
With all this choice, it can be tough to decide where to spend your precious Glastonbury hours.
Here’s our guide to the five best spots we discovered and rediscovered on our wild wanderings this year.
The Beat Hotel
Very much detached from the madness of the South-East corner and Silver Hayes, The Beat Hotel is a decadent and brilliantly curated four day slice of rave and recuperation. There is no better Bloody Mary onsite and the soundtrack is always perfectly pitched to suit the time of day.
Our stint included the right side of disco from Craig Richards, the disco side of disco from Bugged Out’s Little Bugger and an opportunity to wear slippers and lounge on some beds, which on a Sunday was most welcome. The vibe here was consistent throughout the day with more than its share of fancy dress and people dancing on the terrace. Checking in is easy, checking out is the tough bit.
(Image: © Marc Sethi)
At one point during the Black Madonna/Tamo Sumo’s musical ownership of the LGBT centrifugal point of Glastonbury, a mate leaned over and said, “Is this the best night club in the world?” If the answer to that question is no, then it is without doubt the best temporary nightclub in the world.
With fifty of the finest drag acts doing their thing onstage every night of the festival, the love in this room reached climatic proportions between friends and new acquaintances on many an occasion. Musically, the mix of selectors makes the vibe flit from classics, to dug-out gems, to contemporary cuts all within the spectrum of disco, house and accessible techno.
The Piano Bar
We are genuinely worried about this one getting out so we’re not going to tell you where it is, but of all the head-screwery we’ve ever experienced at Glastonbury, the Piano Bar ranks number one.
The first time I went in here I was convinced everyone was an actor, and I’m still relatively convinced some of them may well be. A tiered seating hay bale amphitheatre gives way to a stage full of some the drunkest extrovert Irish folk this side of the Emerald Isle singing bad songs, love songs and sexy songs, and often a performance from an audience member. A shaman also predicted the end of the world in a ten-minute prose delivery that scared the life out of us. This one is full of Glastonbury magic and needs hunting down.
Imagine the best girl’s night in, ever. Bringing the feminine vibes stronger than ever before (this was the first time an all-female venue has been introduced to the festival), The Sisterhood served up a chilled out atmosphere – a stark juxtaposition to the fiery commentary the area has been kicking up in comment sections worldwide.
Gently ushered in through the entrance by a graceful maitre d’, we soon stood inside a small ‘gateway’ into the lady only area with freshly painted nails, and once inside, a short ramp brought you into the ladies club, with a low ceiling, dark warm fabrics and sympathetic uplighting immediately placing you somewhere that felt unmistakably like a female space.
What struck us most were the beaming smiles from front to back – these were ladies who felt totally at ease, knowing that everyone was in a completely safe environment, with no potential to feel uncomfortable. A very welcome addition to the always excellent Shangri La field.
The Stone Circle
For those that want to go full druid, listen to KT FM and see how long you can stand on a rock. Just watch out for the crusty jugglers…
Words: Tom Frost + Anna Johnson