The nights are drawing in, the sky has turned the colour of dank washing up water and the summer seems so far away now that it might as well be a Daily Mail apology. You need light at the end of the tunnel and your salvation – getting your hands on a ticket to next year’s Glastonbury – has been dashed due to overwhelming demand yet again. If you’ve missed out, don’t despair! Just last week a bloke on the bus told me 2014’s headliners would be Dizzee Rascal, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, and Queen and Olly Murs. I can’t confirm that’s the actual line-up, but he had an honest face.
Anyway, Somerset be damned. Think bigger, think further afield, think mud-free! Here are eight foolproof alternatives to getting blasto at Glasto, which is just sooooo passé now (well let’s pretend so anyway, especially to those lucky sods who got tickets.)
Have your own Glastonbury
So this is what you need to do: start by shaving your head and if your freshly mown hair is long enough you’ll be able to stretch it across your chin and tuck it behind your ears, otherwise get some strong adhesive and glue clumps of discarded mane onto your jawline. Great, now you’re Michael Eavis. Buy some inflatable cows and blow them up, or if you can’t afford blow-up cows then perhaps pour some milk into various receptacles in your living room to give the impression bovines are somewhere in the vicinity of your general postcode. Then invite all the bands you know to come play your house. Simple! For added authenticity, source some young people in vivid clothing to jibber shit on your sofa between bands, and voila! you’re rocking your own Glasto 2014, congratulation chile.
Invoke the Spirit of Glastonbury wherever you are
Who needs Worthy Farm eh? Not us! People are forever banging on about how Glastonbury is about more than just the music, and by more I guess they mean The Spirit of Glastonbury™. And given that The Spirit is a supernatural, incorporeal, invisible, gaseous blob-like thing that can stretch for thousands upon thousands of square miles that we can’t actually see with our own actual eyes, it means The Spirit of Glastonbury is not necessarily confined to Glastonbury itself. Hear this, The Spirit will not countenance being dictated to by mere mortals. If you listen very closely you can probably hear it in the distance shouting, “fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” Glastonbury is everywhere, like the Holy Ghost, and we can have a bit for ourselves if we like wherever we live or may choose to wander. So there.
Break into Stonehenge
Far be it for us to incite criminal activity, but the last time we went to Stonehenge it cost £8.50 to get past one fence only to be met by a human shield of rotund Americans clinging to yet another fence complaining about how they couldn’t get anywhere near the damn thing. While you’re likely to get eviscerated by snaggletooth henchmen climbing the fence at Glastonbury these days, if you get caught scaling the fence at Stonehenge you’ll just be lectured by a bearded member of the National Trust in a portacabin. You’ll probably have more luck if you pretend to be a Druid, because the Summer Solstice is like bloody Christmas to Druids isn’t it? They love it. The police will hopefully be more sympathetic and remember, they can’t arrest you, but only if you’ve packed your fake Druid immunity card in your bumbag. That’s right, all Druids have bumbags, you just can’t see them beneath their sacramental smocks.
Try the Fête de la Musique
It kicked off in Paris in 1982 and has spread to as far flung regions as Canada, Cambodia and Columbia, but what is Fête de la Musique I hear you ask? It’s a festival where musicians professional and laymen (plenty of lame men actually) take to the streets and perform music to their hearts content without being prosecuted for one special day. Imagine what it would be like if all the people you met in pubs in Camden stopped talking about their bands and actually went out into the street to play. It would be a bit like that, only with fewer acts that looked like Babyshambles tribute bands.
Renew your wardrobe
The Summer Solstice is a period of spiritual renewal, at least according to sagely types on the internet with creaking websites that look they were built with Geocities, so it is the best time to go looking for a new job, make big decisions and kit yourself out with a new look apparently. Might you end up working in a National Trust car park in a pair of funky espadrilles and a tie-dyed unitard, don’t blame us.
Have an argument
They say never let the sun go down on an argument, so therefore what better day is there than the longest day of the year to get those festering grievances off your chest and hopefully get them resolved by the time you climb the stairs to Bedfordshire. Mired in stalemate like US Congress with those seconds ticking away? Simple, board a plane to the North Pole for some valuable added hours of negotiating daylight. You’ll have all the time you need to iron out your differences and you’ll only have to contend with the threat of being mauled by an itinerant polar bear.
Head south west as the crow flies and keep going
The Solstice is a time for Wicker Man-style celebrations, and let’s clearly state right now that we’re not talking the hammy and pointless Nicolas Cage remake. Golowan Festival in Penzance is totally Edward Woodward. People adorn the streets eating pasties made of blackbird’s beaks while a procession of spooky dancers shimmy up the street beneath a flotilla of medieval devils and gorgons and two-headed horsey chimeras. They call it Mazey Day but celebrations go on for days and nights with ne’er a capitulation. What it all means is anyone’s guess, though one suspects it’s a good excuse for Cornish people to drink super strength cider and convene with the beastie within. So dance around a maypole and get in touch with your inner Saxon.
Go to other festivals, you might even save some sponds
Despite what the media might tell you, there are other festivals you know. Some of them are great too! They may not all have Kate Moss in wellington boots but then who hasn’t seen Kate Moss traipsing elegantly in a pair of wellies by now? Travel the continent my friend, seek out countries you’ve never been to full of people conversing in languages you can’t speak eating cauliflowers in ways you couldn’t have imagined. Saint Malo’s La Route Du Rock in northern France in conjunction with some ferry companies were selling some ludicrously cheap packages at the end of this festival season, for instance. Eastern European festivals like Exit in Serbia and Sziget in Budapest are reputed to be notoriously generous with their asking prices too, the line-ups are often impressive and there’s little chance you’ll spend every day caked in wet, clammy mud.