Come Sunday morning, the nation will be shaken awake by the collective groans of thousands of music lovers as they drag themselves prematurely from their beds hoping to get tickets to Glastonbury Music Festival.
Each year the masses will curse Mr Eavis for choosing 9am for blast off. After all, we just want to give him our money, but everyone knows this isn't a time for moaning or for weakness. Every single member of every single group of friends dubbing themselves "Team Glasto" knows that they have a vital role to play in achieving victory. There are no exceptions, no excuses, no sympathy for a slightly sore head or a pathetic bout of man flu. There will be no kindly member of your group smiling warmly, patting you on the head and telling you to return to bed. Instead they will laugh in your face, tell you to shut up and point sternly to your allocated place on the sofa in a room you're sure was once your lounge that has now transformed into an electronics-filled ticket buying Control Centre.
All who have tried before know exactly what lies ahead in that one, or at very best two, hours of hell. We know all too well that phone lines everywhere will shrivel up and die. Networks will become blocked. Internet connections once demonstrating warp speed will now age before our madly-staring eyes and lose all ability to load anything even resembling a landing page. Tiny egg timers and colourful circles will mock us from our laptops as we chew our nails and pray to any God that will listen that we manage to secure a ticket before that fateful Tweet lands informing an army of sleep-deprived rock fans that tickets to the Greatest Party on Earth are sold out.
I know, this sounds like hell. It's a frantic, horrible, competitive way to start your Sunday. Chances of success are low and you know that even if you do manage to acquire a ticket, it could rain. But, despite all of these reasons, the pain, the stress, the never-ending emails about registration numbers and who's responsible for getting who's ticket, I can safely say that it is 100% worth it. Every. Single. Time.
And here's why...
It's worth it for the run-up. For the speculation and discussion over the line-up. For the day that it is finally announced. For the excitement each time you get bored and find yourself scanning the website only to discover an act you hadn't noticed before or a brand new announcement. For the night before when you cheerfully fight other festival-goers in your local supermarket for those last few precious crates of Strongbow. For the half an hour spent decanting cheap whiskey into Value lemonade because you know full well that come Sunday your taste buds will thank you for the change.
It's worth it for the day that you arrive. For the only early wake-up call of the year that you genuinely enjoy. For the journey there. For the first time you catch a glimpse of the site through the houses as you speed through Pilton dancing around in your seat with your first can of still-cold cider in your hand. For the gleeful moment that you clear security, your wristband is clamped into place and you know that you only have to struggle on that little bit longer laden down with stupid amounts of kit until you can totally relax. For that glorious moment when your tent is up, all your friends are there, your rucksack is loaded down with beers and the time has come to take that first walk in to where the magic happens.
It's worth it for every single minute that you are there. From the first glimpses of the top of the Pyramid Stage and the metallic claws of Arcadia, for the flags, for the inevitable over-excitement experienced at the Brothers Bar on Wednesday when the sun always seems to be shining. For your first visit to Shangri-La...no wait...for every visit to Shangri-La. For being woken up on the Friday by sound checks that remind you things are only just getting started. For the chance meetings with people from your past. For all the times you lose your mates only to find them again in the nick of time. For the rain, for the red wine out of goon bags, for the hungover mornings spent lying on airbeds that you've dragged from your tent planning the day ahead. For that one meal a day that you know you must choose wisely so that it gives you the new lease of life you need so badly. For that perfect moment when you hear the song you have been waiting for the whole time. For the outfits. For the surprise acts. For being somewhere you feel like you can be exactly who you want to be whilst being around thousands of other people doing the same. For every night being the best night of your life.
So yeah, the hassle is worth it. Unless all of the above sounds rubbish, in which case, really don't bother...the rest of us could do without the competition.
This post originally appeared on No Fixed Plans Traveller.