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What I Missed Most About Not Going to Glastonbury (And Why I'll Never Miss Another Year)

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The past weekend feels like the longest of my life. And it's all because I didn't go to Glastonbury.

Instead I spent the weekend avoiding the BBC, looking longingly at my friends' Instagram posts (they were there, with WiFi - the bastards) and reminiscing about moments past on Worthy Farm.

When I first went to Glastonbury I was 22: it was the year I graduated from uni; there was a heatwave; I saw Stevie Wonder, Muse, Florence and the Machine; and I hadn't quite realised how shit the job market was going to be. In short: I had the time of my life.

But this year, plagued with an ever-increasing overdraft - a trip to Glasto costs between £600-700 - I made the regrettable decision to give the festival a miss. (Note to self: don't do that again.)

glastonbury

So 2014 is the first year that I haven't attended the festival, while knowing full well what I'm missing. It's also the first year that I've noticed how celebrity-obsessed the festival coverage is, which completely misses what Glastonbury is really about.

Lots of publications (admittedly fashion and women's magazines) focus on celeb spotting - who wore what, who partied with whom, who posted the most Instagram photos etc. Yawn.

Most people, many of whom were at the festival themselves, couldn't give a flying fuck what crowd members did. They are too busy getting on with - and enjoying - their own lives to worry about what Alexa Chung is wearing.

It makes me wonder how many of the people 'covering' the event are actually qualified to report on it. Have they ever found themselves caked in mud, soaking wet from rain and still having the time of their lives on Worthy Farm? It's unlikely. They will have either watched from the comfort of their sofa or propped up in the VIP area fully-refreshed from their 8-hour-sleep in a yurt.

I've put tents up in the rain, drunk warm cider at 10am and peed on the floor. And so, without further ado, here's what I missed most about the real Glastonbury (and why I'm never missing another):

The people...

The toddler wearing mini headphones, the 70-year-old long-haired hippy, the woman wearing a catsuit and pink wig - this is an ode to the regular festival goers (yes, all 120,000-plus of them). Because they are what really matters at this festival.

Glastonbury is a great leveller, it doesn't matter who you are. There may be a VIP area for celebs, but best view is right out in the crowds, in front of the stage.

After hours...

Frank Sinatra said that New York is the city that never sleeps. Clearly, he'd never been to Glastonbury.

Although the headliners finish at around midnight, the party keeps going until the early morning - and by early, I mean about 8am. Yeah, it's intense.

Whether in the ephemeral dream-world of Shangri-La, the mechanical extravaganza that is Arcadia or watching the sun rise on Stone Circle, there really is no bed time. As the huge early-morning crowds affirm: sleep is for the weak.

Navigating your way around in the middle of the night, armed with nothing but a torch and a bottle of cider, you'll probably get lost. But that's all part of the fun.

Food...

If you've ever been to a festival you'll know that the food is often pretty dire. But Glastonbury sets the bar really high.

Stages are flanked by more food stalls than you can shake a French stick at. (This is probably due to it being the largest festival in the UK and having a lot of hungry mouths to feed, but who's complaining?)

There's food from all over the world, it's cooked to a pretty good standard and nothing solves a hangover more than a hearty meal at Le Grande Bouffe.

Music...

While the main stage draws the largest crowd there is plenty else going on around - The Other Stage and John Peel Tent rival even the best medium-sized festival, while smaller venues like the Acoustic Tent or BBC Introducing Stage offer top talent with less of a squeeze.

Weather...

In the weeks leading up to the festival, the Glastonbury-bound are constantly checking the weather to figure out whether to pack their wellies or bikinis (normally a mixture of the two will do).

Even those who aren't going are obsessed with the weather - getting more and more smug as the clouds over Worthy Farm get darker.

In truth, once you're there it doesn't matter what the weather is like. The best thing about bad weather forecast at Glastonbury? The brief moments when the sun shines, everyone's spirits lift and you hear cheers from all over the festival.

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