How to go to Glastonbury Festival if you don’t get a ticket – A guide to working and volunteering at Glastonbury

16th September 2019

Oh Glasto. One of the biggest and the best (in my opinion) music festival in the world.

In my opinion (and if you’re reading this post you’ll probably agree with me), there’s not better way to spend a long weekend than in a field, on a farm, surrounded by other festival-goes, drinking a can of warm cider and bopping along to a huge act or someone you’ve never heard of.

Strange to think the now sell-out festival started as a £1-entry for 1,500 people back in 1970, where the Pyramid Stage was just a cow shed. With the Pyramid Stage now an icon, Glastonbury has grown to see over 2,800 performances at 79 stages, on a site as big as five football fields. There’s sunburn and there’s mud – but overall there’s the unmistakeable sense of community as 175,000 people celebrate the final week of June at Worth Farm.

It’s no surprise that tickets to this festival sell out in a matter of minutes. 2019’s festival sold out in just 36 minutes. That’s as long as my commute to work.

You’ll probably have heard stories of people recruiting all their friends and family to team up to buy tickets at 9am on a Sunday morning in October. With 3 devices per person, phones, tablets and laptops are frantically refreshed until some lucky person gets through to the payment page.

Sounds stressful, right? That’s because is!

I’ve been there, done that. The only year I managed to get tickets was when four of us did this exact scenario, and one lucky friend managed to secure our group our tickets to the best festival in the world.

But what if you don’t get tickets?

Well, you can try your luck in the resale. The way Glasto works is that you pay a deposit for your ticket if you actually manage to get through when they go on sale in October. If, for whatever reason unbeknownst to the rest of us, someone decides not to pay the full balance by the due date, they lose their ticket and it goes into the resale for the original unfortunate souls to try their hand at getting once again. This usually happens in February.

And what if you don’t get tickets in the resale?

If you haven’t managed to secure a ticket, it’s time to look into other options for getting to Glastonbury. I’m sure you’ve read the story of the ninja who managed to get in without a ticket on sheer determination, but I’m not going to condone you do this as a) you’ll probably get caught and b) it’s against the rules and generally a bit twatty.

So, if sneaking in isn’t a wise idea, that leaves one option: working.

How to work at Glastonbury Festival

Jobs at Glastonbury are plentiful; if there’s 150,000 people in one place at any one time, they are going to need other people to look after them. To put it bluntly, people need stuff, and people create waste.

Workers at Glasto range from food and drink vendors, to marshalls and stewards, to litter pickers and garbage collectors, to toilet cleaners (yes, really) to events staff and production teams… the list goes on.

There are a number of options for working at Glastonbury. However, getting a paid work placement at Glastonbury isn’t the easiest task. Here are some options:

Or, if none of those sound very likely,

Why you should volunteer at Glastonbury

Wait, why would I choose to work at a festival without getting paid to do it?

Well, it means you get to go to Glasto, so…

A huge perk of volunteering at the best music festival in the world is that, although you do have to work, you can go to the festival for free. Plus you only actually have to do around 24 hours’ work over the 5 days.

Volunteers are always in demand at Glastonbury because there are jobs to do which you probably wouldn’t want to do if the appeal of the festival didn’t draw you in.

Volunteering at Glastonbury is a great idea because:

Have I convinced you yet? Great!

How to volunteer at Glastonbury

Glastonbury partners with some great charities for every festival – they’ve partnered with Oxfam for the last 25 years. Each of these charities offer different activities in return for entrance to Glasto.

Here’s a taste of what you can expect to be doing with each charity:

The application processes will vary for each festival but they are all quite simple. Here’s some key info:

Is volunteering at Glastonbury worth it?

Last year I tried and failed to get tickets. So, Isaac and I applied to volunteer at Glastonbury with WaterAid. We worked four 6 hour shifts between Wednesday to Sunday as part of the loo crew, cleaning the long drop toilets near the John Peel stage.

Whilst it’s not the most glamorous job, it actually wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I was expecting, and it was 100% worth it to get to go to the festival for free! We saw so many amazing bands, got drunk and covered in glitter, ate amazing food, met so many new people and met up with friends already attending, and generally just had an amazing time.

Glastonbury 2019 was HOT – the sun didn’t stop shining for the entire weekend, which was great as we got a great tan and didn’t have to wade through knee-deep mud. It also meant people were much more understanding of the work WaterAid does in places like Africa and Asia, where clean running water and decent toilets aren’t available to everyone. Their #AccessDenied campaign went down really well at Glastonbury.

In short, it’s 100% worth volunteering at Glastonbury!

Will you try to buy tickets for next year’s festival? Would you volunteer at Glastonbury?

Thanks for reading and enjoy Glastonbury 2020!

Abbi X

Enjoyed this post? Pin it for later so you can come back to it if you don’t get a ticket this year.

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I’m a travel loving sustainability advocate, on a journey to live a low-impact lifestyle alongside seeing the world. I’m obsessed with my two dogs, secondhand shopping, and growing vegetables.

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