Stewarding at Glastonbury

Before I say anything about whether it's worth working at Glastonbury, I will say this: working for Oxfam got me into Glastonbury, as I had missed out on buying the actual tickets and resales so without Oxfam, I wouldn't have made it to the festival full stop. However, having done it, I now am so glad I did and would recommend it to anyone and everyone as a way of doing a festival.

First a brief way of how you get into stewarding at Glastonbury. You sign up, (having a passport photo ready as everyone always forgets this bit) and you pay the money for the ticket. This is to stop people dropping out at the last minute and when you have completed your shifts, you get the full amount of money back a few weeks later. You then go on a few training days in locations across the UK, which are different to other festivals and need a special Glastonbury one due to the sheer size of it. You can be doing anything from manning car parks, ticket  barriers or helping lost people at stages as well as being able to ask that you and your friends can do it all together.

EDIT: Having spoken to Oxfam, they state you can now add all these little details like your photo etc before the stewarding applications open to make it easier and less stressful, which is great!

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You then get all your details, and hey presto, you get your dates and rock up! You will then work three shifts at a different time; one at 6am-2pm, one at 2pm-10am and one at 10pm-6am. That final one is the killer but you can always swap with people if one is on a day that you want to see someone. And of course that's only three shifts. With five days of Glastonbury, loads of time to actually do the festival! So why should you steward?

Working for a cause

Knowing that your shifts contribute to raising money for Oxfam, from one shift being water for a month to your whole shifts building a house for a family, is reason enough to do it. We all find it hard giving to charity but the way it works in which instead of paying you wages, your wages go straight to the charity, is  a great way of doing it.

The campsite

Despite it being slightly far out the year I went, it was nice to know that the campsite was not only on the top of the hill, but had fewer people traipsing through and much quieter when you needed to sleep after a long 8 hour shift. And of course having your own parking spot meant not having to panic about getting a good space. Oh and did we forget to mention it has flushing loos and plug sockets galore?

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The hot water/ free meals

Being an Oxfam stewards gets you perks and one of them is free running hot water. This seems like a luxury and many would say it isn't the true festival experience. However, when you are offered hot showers and hot water for tea/pot noodles and much needed coffee, you'll hardly say no, especially after an eight hour shift. You also get free meals and man alive the portions were huge. With a pick of curries, pies, pastas and even a roast dinner on Sunday, we were spoilt for choice and saved a huge amount of money on the otherwise overpriced food. Of course sometimes it all went a bit wrong; when the water stops working so you can't flush the loos or drink is a pain but hey, more of a festival experience!

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The price

Beneath all this was the amazing side of it; knowing you are going to Glastonbury for FREE. Despite having to pay it upfront so you do technically need the cash, to get it all back for being at the festival is such an amazing feeling. And even after fuel and going mad at the churros stand, I spent barely £50 to be at Glastonbury when some people can rack up to £400 is a pretty smug way to do it.

The other stewards and supervisors

They were some of the nicest and funniest people I've met, and the people you met when checking tickets (one of the many jobs) were amazing to have banter with and get chatting to. Who else will get you through a 4am ticket barrier shift when you have ten Dolly Partons chanting at you?

The only downside I had (and many others did my year) was missing out on lots of bands I wanted to see. Having put similar of genres all on at the same time, it meant that if you liked one of the bands, you liked the rest and sadly missed them. But this was such a minor point because with Glastonbury especially, it is all about the experience itself and hey, we could still hear Ed Sheeran and Dolly Parton from our stations. And still managed to see Haim, Kaiser Chiefs, Blondie, Charli XCX, Jungle and Kasabian, who were all amazing.

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So if you ask me if it's worth it? Hell yeah, and hell yeah I'd do it again. And steward perks mean you get priority booking for stewarding the following year if you do two of their festivals.