Thursday, July 24, 2014
I would never get tired of talking about Glastonbury though you might get tired of hearing about it - but I can't let the experience go by without talking about the camp where we stayed, Wild Meadow Village. As I mentioned before, most people camp onsite for Glastonbury in tents and gear they bring themselves. Coming from the U.S. though, we weren't inclined to go to all that trouble, and as much as we like camping - pitching up in a field surrounded by thousands of other tents in a place we had never been before just sounded like asking for trouble. So once we secured our tickets, we exhaustively researched the pre-erected camping and "glamping" options available.
There are actually a pretty wide range of options, with prices ranging from just a few hundred pounds for the whole festival on up to thousands, depending on the amenities, location & type of tent or structure you choose. (Just Google "Glastonbury Glamping" to find them.) I decided that a real bed was at the top of my wish list - given we were going to be there for five nights, and I was pretty sure they would be long nights at that. After thoroughly examining the options, including the Worthy View campsite operated by the Festival, Tangerine Fields, the Pop Up Hotel, Pennard Orchard and a couple of others whose names I can't remember now (but were so wildly expensive it didn't matter) Wild Meadow Village rose to the top of the list, offering the lowest price for the best amenities that I could find.
It was a relatively small site with about 100 guests altogether and three types of accommodations - Tipis, Cadir Tents and Yurts. The Tipis and Cadir tents were quite a bit larger than the yurts and were priced accordingly - but the yurt was relatively affordable and offered more than enough space and luxury for us. The accommodations all share access to "luxury loos" and "posh wash" showers - housed in trailers, and a huge, lovely hospitality tent with a bar, seating area and fire pits, where they served breakfast every morning, snacks in the evening and dinner on the first two nights.
The interior of our yurt was well appointed with jute rugs, a double bed, electrical outlets and bedside lights, a mirror and even a vase of flowers. The furnishings were roughly the same quality in all the tents - though there were chairs, side tables and rugs in some of the larger ones.
The bed took up most of the 12 feet of floor space, but we hung our clothes on the lattice walls and used the space under the bed for storage - which worked out great. It rained pretty hard while we were there, but we had no issues with leaks. (Our friend did though, which was a bit of an inconvenience.)
One of the best things about the place was it had a nice "family affair" feel. It was staffed almost entirely staffed by the owners with multiple generations pitching in to help - the sons were tending bar, mum was cleaning the showers, and dad barbequed on Wednesday night. They had even recruited friends to drive the Land Rovers to and from the gate. The family actually owns a few other picturesque farm houses in the area and offer them as luxury holiday rentals - one of them even includes a spa. Wild Meadow Village was set up on the grounds of their Lower Hedge Farm, which was also available to rent for the festival for a cool 10,000.00 pounds (not including festival tickets.)
They have an allotment of "hospitality tickets" that they offer for sale with their more expensive accommodations - they are double the price of the regular ticket but they are available for outright purchase instead of competing with the other million people trying to get one of the 170,000 tickets available. They provide access to some limited areas - mainly viewing areas for the stages and a pass through between the Other Stage and the Pyramid.
We really enjoyed socializing with the staff and our fellow campers. On the Thursday night, they threw a welcome party with champagne and appetizers, and a hog roast dinner for an extra 10 pounds per person. I don't recall ever seeing hog roast in my travels around Britain in 2003 and before, but it's a big thing now. Pork and cracklins served with buns or rolls, applesauce and salad. Can't go wrong with that.
If there was a drawback to the place, it has to be that it was just a smidge too far away for easy travel in and out of the festival. It was on the opposite side of the East car parks - about a 15 minute walk from Gate C without mud - and at least 30 minutes with the mud, since you're slipping and sliding all the way (I had no idea how exhausting that could be!) The transportation was great, but it took about 20-30 minutes, with all the ticket checkpoints, etc. This meant that we generally went in and out only once per day. We eventually settled into a routine of sleeping in, having breakfast, getting dressed and heading into the festival, and not coming back until ... well... late, or maybe early is a better way of putting it. It is shockingly easy to stay up until dawn there. When it doesn't get dark until after 10, and it gets light at 4 AM, and you slept til noon? Trust me, you'd do it too.
They ran the Land Rover transport over starting when people were ready - generally in the afternoon. They tried to do it on a half hour schedule, but it wound up being more on demand because everyone wanted to go at the same time and they tried their best to be accommodating. They also started sending several cars over at a time for the night pickups between 12 AM to 3 AM, so there would always be one waiting.
We caught the car back on the extremely hectic and crowded Saturday night and it was a godsend, but the rest of the days we had a long, slow trudge back in the early morning. Saying "good morning" to the parking attendants instead of "good night" was a struggle, but we were rewarded with the beautiful views of the sunrise over the tents at the end - and best of all, we slept like babies until it was time to get up and do it all over again.
Posted by Alice Q. Foodie on Thursday, July 24, 2014