For millions of hopeful festival goers, nothing symbolises the impact of Covid-19 like the cancellation of Glastonbury. The Pyramid Stage is the most iconic backdrop in the festival calendar and a beacon for music lovers of all kinds. This summer it stands empty and silent.
However, a summer without ‘the big one’ doesn’t mean a summer without fun. Around the country, bereft festival addicts have taken to their own backyards and living rooms to create their own micro-festivals. With the traditional Glastonbury weekend looming, now’s the time to think about how to capture a little of that Glasto spirit at home.
Ok, let’s be realistic. Unless you a) live on a farm, b) have access to cutting edge sound and lighting equipment, and c) are good mates with Kendrick Lamar or Biffy Clyro, it’s unlikely you’ll recreate an epic Saturday night headliner slot in your gazebo.
That said, you can now have up to 5 other mates around to your house, which after recent weeks may feel like a Stormzy-level of crowd. You can certainly get your hands on some good grub, without queueing to pay through the window of a static 1950s bus. The toilets will be 300% more pleasant, even if you haven’t cleaned them since Christmas. And YOU get to pick the music!
Think of it as turning your garden or living room into one of those cute little tents that are dotted across Worthy Farm. Here’s how you do it . . . (we’ve even included a playlist).
Anyone who has been to Glasto can immediately conjure up the look and vibe of this most unique festival. You could try replicating some of that vibe in your own home. It’ll bring a smile from anyone who has shared the experience, and give newbies a sense of the real thing.
Hand painted signs are a must. Take a plank, cut on end to a point, paint it white and then write in bold, black lettering. Ok, it may not point to the exotic-heights of ‘Lost Vagueness’, ‘Arcadia’, or ‘Avalon’. But ‘Fridge’, ‘Toilets’, ‘BBQ’ and, potentially ‘face-painting’ have their own charm.
Don’t forget lights either. As the sun goes down some cosy, colourful illumination will lift the experience and bring back memories of that time in 2008 when we all sang “Dry Your Eyes Mate” as the sun set behind the Other Stage.
Festival tents are the basic ingredient in any Glastonbury experience. They are where the magic happens, from the humongous tent venues like Silver Hayes or Circus, to the smaller mini-stages where you hide from the rain, eat homemade cakes, and listen to some bearded chap from Doncaster sing his broken heart out.
At the end of the carnage, the tent is also the place you seek whatever refuge you can, and try to get some sleep before doing it all again.
The beauty of an alternative, home-based Glasto is that one tent can serve all these purposes. With a decent sized family tent you can sit all weekend in comfort, shelter from any sudden showers, relax between sets, and sleep. Pitching up in your garden really will give you a sense of being away from normality. It’s a little bit of adventure brought home, and it’ll elevate your home-curated festival experience.
Who here hasn’t been to the main stage for hours, waiting for the headliner, and thought “I could really do with a sit down about now?” The beauty of Glast-Home-Bury is that you can sit whenever you like without the fear of losing your place or being squashed.
We all know not to take your best camping furniture to Glasto, there’s a good chance it will come home in pieces, or will be last seen with up near the Stone Circle, with a sleeping Glasto-dad taking ownership. This time, you can choose to invest in a better standard of festival chair
Some things are essential, of course. You need a cup holder that fits a beer can or cider bottle.
Regardless of whether your outdoor space is concrete, lawn, decking or a balcony, you can give it the feel of The Park or Sacred Space with an outdoor carpet. These carpets, or footprints (as they are sometimes known) are tough, stain resistant and will stop the cold or damp seeping up to ruin your party. They make for an exceptional upgrade to your standard picnic blanket.
A note – most carpets or footprints are designed to fit with a specific outdoor tent. It is worth checking the dimensions to make sure you get one that works with your tent, and get twice the value from it.
Over the years the onsite cuisine at Worthy Farm has gone from ‘rancid bean burger’ to a global culinary adventure. Obviously, from the comfort of your own kitchen you can create whatever gastronomic delights you would like, free from risk of allergy, wallet-damage or your £12 pizza being knocked out of your hand.
Alternatively, if you want to prep it all in advance and then just let the day take you – we’ve put together a perfect picnic menu for all-day grazing.
There are many drinks available at Glasto – flat lager, those amazing milkshakes from the cow-shaped van, some concoction in a refilled Evian bottle that’s thrust into your hand at three in the morning. For the true Glastonbury aficionado, however, nothing rivals cider.
Now, making your own homemade cider is possible, but it takes a lot of work. You need a serious amount of apples, a heavy duty cider-press, and 3-4 weeks fermenting time. Who’s got time for that?
Instead, with a few simple ingredients you can make your own mulled cider to sip away at all day. For added authenticity add a few leaves of grass.
- 10 apples
- 200g brown sugar
- 4 x cloves
- 2 x cinnamon sticks
- 4 x taablespoons allspice
- 1 x orange juice and zest
- Quarter your apples and place in a large pan. Cover with water and add the sugar, orange juice and zest.
- Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice. If possible, wrap this mixture in cheesecloth and tie.
- Boil for an hour uncovered.
- After one hour turn down the heat and lightly simmer for another 1.5 hours.
- Allow to cool. Remove cinnamon sticks or cheesecloth bundle.
- Mash the mixture into a smooth pulp using a potato masher.
- Strain the liquid through a sieve into a large bowl.
- Using a spoon, or more cheesecloth, squeeze the remaining pulp into the bowl.
- Pour the liquid into an airtight jar or container and keep in the fridge.
You can enjoy this hot or cold as a non-alcoholic treat. Alternatively - and let’s not kid ourselves here – you can add the oomph of your choice. For the most authentic Glasto taste experience we recommend brandy.
Finally, the biggest ingredient of all – the music. Sadly, we won’t have the joys of live music in the fields this summer, but with the right audio equipment and a bit of imagination you can bring the Pyramid stage to your patio or front room.
Glastonbury have released a gigantic Spotify playlist full of artists that would have played this year. You can also trawl through to find playlists from years gone by.
- Recreate the constant anxiety of a modern festival by charging your phone on the first night and then watching the battery rapidly drain over the weekend. Then pretend you can’t find your family or friends.
- Get the authentic experience, and smell of Sunday at Glasto by refusing to put sun-tan lotion on all weekend, not drinking enough water for three days, and then wandering around your garden saying “I don’t know why I’m this rough”. Then put Shirley Bassey on.
- Plant a massive flag in your lawn to remind you where your tent is. Okay, yes, it’s that single massive 8-person tent that’s bigger than your house. But you need some imagination here people!
- Lastly – and this is a serious one – follow the Glastonbury ethos of ‘leaving no trace’. Try minimising your waste this weekend. Avoid single use plastic. Recycle.
We are all missing festival season this year. But as lockdown eases and the country begins a slow transition back to normality – there is hope for the future. Rather than lament the lack of Glasto in your life, make 2020 a year of alternative memories you can talk about by the stone circle next year.
Have fun, stay safe.