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Glastonbury Festival

All the Truly Ridiculous Ways People Have Snuck into Glastonbury

From wading through a stream to slinging on a hi-vis jacket and trying to stroll in, this lot have tried every method you'd consider.

by Jazmine Sleman
27 June 2019, 11:56am

Photo: Chris Bethell

It’s alright for some. If you’re fortunate enough to have succeeded in the military-like mission known as ‘getting a ticket to Glastonbury’, I’m sure you can take pride when someone casually asks if you’re “going Glasto m8?” You respond, comfortably, yes. Your eyes gleam as you begin to envision your fate: sprawled across the floor at stone circle at 9AM with people whose first names you’ll never remember, covered in mud, glitter and probably somebody else's piss.

Sadly, this fate isn’t as straightforward for the rest of us, who missed our alarm to get tickets, or whose ticket registration sites froze for good before everything sold out. But does that mean we can’t go to Glasto? Absolutely not. We just have to be resourceful, like some of this lot. Whether that means hurling yourself off the roof of a moving tractor or hiding in a ditch, they shared stories of how they’ve snuck in before.

Jack, 25, in 2017: "The plan was to pay a lady £100"

The plan was to pay a lady £100, who’d give us a wristband. This year she couldn’t find us and we couldn’t get hold of her; we got a bit too excited waiting, and ended up getting pretty fucked up. We still had no luck, so decided to sleep in the car and wait until the morning. Before we went to bed we all had a gram line of ket each to help ease the fact there were four grown mean sleeping in my Ford Fiesta. I have no recollection of what happened next, but from my mate's account, I was sat in the driver's seat and started thrashing my arms and legs around in the car at such force I ended up smashing my own windscreen. I came back around at dusk just in my boxers and socks, locked outside of the car thinking that the AA were coming to get me.

Security guards clocked we didn’t have tickets, probably due to the sheer state of us. We got driven to a field a long way from the festival – and then got the call from the woman sneaking us in, saying she was still willing to try. We had to direct her literal miles away from the festival but she managed to find us! Success!

Poppy, 27, in 2013: "The only way in was swimming upstream"

After waiting for hours, near 10PM I got to the woody area that leads to the festival. The only way I could continue was to swim upstream, so in I went. As I could see the finish line, security caught me, took me to their golf buggy and said they were going to drive me out to the middle of nowhere. I begged them to let me go for a wee and after much convincing, they said yes. I walked just out of sight then literally ran for it, climbing under a fence where I could see camping tents. I got into some randomers’ tent and told them I was hiding, and they took me in like family. Just like that, I was in despite losing my drugs en route and being fucking drenched.

Liam, 20, in 2014: "We handed some random bloke 150 quid"

We’d spent ages trying to figure out ways to get in. One of my friends knew somebody we could pay to get us in, so we handed some random bloke 150 quid and they literally threw us into the back of a van and drove us in.

Glastonbury festival pyramid stage
Photo: Chris Bethell

Jack, 32, in 2017: "I put on a hi-vis jacket and hoped for the best"

First, I pretended to be visiting a friend near the festival site, and got through one manned roadblock. At the top of the lane that leads down to Worthy Farm a security guard stopped me and asked where my vehicle badge was. I managed to persuade him that I was never planning to go near the festival but my performer brother had called me last minute to say he'd forgotten his costume and needed another mic – I had some convenient props on the back seat including a sparkly onesie, high-heeled boots, music books and a mic stand. He finally waved me on with a warning: "I better see you coming back up within the hour or I'll be looking for you.”

I put on a hi-vis jacket and my expired SIA security badge in the naive hope that if I looked confident enough I might be able to just stroll through the gate without a glance. Avoiding one checkpoint, I strolled towards a gate, pretending to be on my phone, and made it about three steps past a turnstile before security staff called me back, applauded my attempt but politely turned me around. On my way to the next gate to have another crack, I bumped in to an old friend who was working on the Silver Hayes bar and offered to give me her backstage wristband.

Eventually, after following the stream and taking one wrong step into the water, I puffed my cheeks out at an entry gate manned by a single security guard, and said "Hi mate, I've managed to get a last minute job working on the Silver Hayes bar as security and my ticket just didn't come in time in the post. One of the staff has given me a wrist band but that's all I've got!". He glanced at the wristband and my security badge, and said: “On you go, son!".

I turned the corner and then started leaping for joy. I did, however, have to spend four days in the same soggy trousers, emanating the faint smell of algae.

Josh, 27, in 2013: "A mate started climbing up the side of a tractor"

A big group of us trying to break in were sitting in the car park, having a jolly. Staff pulled up in a massive industrial farming tractor – the person driving was going pretty slow, making sure everything was in order, I guess. Without saying a word, one of my mates ran into the distance, heading straight towards the tractor. He started climbing up the side of it, up the windscreen and onto the roof. Once he was at the top, he literally hurled his body over the fence and made it in!!

Molly, 23, in 2016: "I was very drunk, wristband-less, without my phone"

I wasn't planning to go til literally 5AM on the Saturday morning – I just got in the car, with literally nothing on me. My boyfriend’s brother was working and had already entered, so he borrowed some wristbands for us to get past security with, which we then had to give back.

We were in pretty easily – wristband-less, and still very drunk from a heavy session the night before. At some point, I realised I didn’t have my phone, and a security guard grabbed me asking where my band was. Somehow I managed to shake him off, and ran off, although I’d lost everyone and was phone-less. I started wigging out, running up to people asking if they're my boyfriend – I’m guessing I did that a few times because I vaguely remember someone saying: 'that's still not me’.

The next bit is bad. I woke up in the welfare tent, having maybe passed out and definitely pissed myself. This medic came in asking how I was, and gave me some clothes, tea and toast while I filled out a lost property form for my phone. I managed to get hold of my boyfriend on his last 1 percent. In total, I think I was missing for about 16 hours, maybe less. I tried to have fun after but I was just happy to not be lost and my boyf was happy that I was alive. I had low key PSTD after.

Read more: I Tried Five Ways to Sneak into a City Festival, and Every Single One Worked