Secret shenanigans: off the beaten track at Glastonbury 2013

A guide to hidden Glastonbury Festival in 2013

Photographer:John Bownas

Kai Jones - 24 June 2013

Glastonbury memories are forged in the hidden nooks and parlours of far-away fields, not in front of yet another four-guy-and-guitars-pile-up on the Other Stage. All over the sprawling, seemingly-endless site there are memories just itching for you to stumble over them.

So unpin yourself from the Pyramid stage barrier and follow us into the great unknown, as we search out the mysterious doorways, happy happenings, pop-up disco hotels and ninja gigs that will define your weekend.

Follow Alice through the looking glass

The Rabbit Hole certainly lives up to its Lewis Carroll-inspired moniker. This is a place of hyper-surrealism, where sensibility chatters away nervously in the corner, while taste and decency swap clothes and draw directions to the giddy future on each other’s bodies with effervescent magic markers. Placed nonchalantly at the top of The Park, you’ll wonder what the all fuss is about as you enter the bar and look around for clues. But look down and you’ll see a tiny door that opens to a secret tunnel. Where that tunnel goes and the riddles you’ll have to solve to enter Wonderland, are all part of the adventure.

Go under the railway track

Not far, but still a world away from the Rabbit Hole, there’s another little secret tunnel. Rummage around at the northern edge of the Green Futures field and you’ll find a tiny footpath that leads under the disused railway track and into the Greenpeace area. Take a moment to have a giggle and shout “Whose that trip-trapping over my bridge?!!” in your best Troll voice as unaware pedestrians (or goats) pass over you on their way to Shangri-La.

Get electro filthy between the sheets at the Beat Hotel

Situated on the stretch from the Pyramid Stage to the John Peel Tent, don’t be fooled by the Beat Hotel’s unassuming canvas exterior. Inside, it’s all about the orange patterned wallpaper and 70s opulence; evidently showcasing the Hotel’s fondness for a Cuban-Brothers-gatecrash-Abigail’s-Party-vibe. It’s in these lusciously-garish surroundings that you’ll find some of the most incendiary happenings of the festival, with Foals, 2 Bears, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Tim Burgess and Beats International all DJing over the weekend. Friday is an unmissable mix of dirty electro and analogue filth, with DJs from London club Dollop heading up a bill that features Riton, Boys Noize and Simian Mobile Disco.

Fight fascism with disco beats

English Disco Lovers are a pro-disco and anti-racism movement subverting the hatred and lies of fascism through humour and disco. What began as a campaign to outrank the English Defence League when 'EDL' is searched for on Google. Since gaining a multitude of followers on Twitter and Facebook, they have now turned turned to organising full-on disco parties where the vulgar face of racism is pummelled to the dirt by spoof placards and repetitive beats. It's a beautiful initiative. Join them at the Pussy Parlour, in Silver Hayes, on Saturday night. Disco against discrimination!

Find Amanda Palmer’s ninja gig

Tenacious, innovative and inspiring, Amanda Palmer is the social media maverick and Brechtian punk cabaret riot grrrl that’s turning the music business upside down. With the The Dresden Dolls and her own solo career, she has carved out her own inimitable style – a magnetic mix of Weimar cabaret, vaudeville glam rock and intimate, heart-in-her-mouth ballads. This nonconformism runs through her entire ethos – from funding the release of last year’s Theatre is Evil album by raising over $1.1 million through Kickstarter, to holding legendary, intimate ninja gigs in the most incredible and incredulous settings. The last time Amanda Palmer was in the UK she stunned the crowd at Manchester Cathedral by beginning her performance on the balcony above the stage, dressed in period costume, and singing a cappella through a microphone. This weekend she is due on the Other Stage at 13:50 on Friday afternoon, but has already confirmed GlastonburySHALL BE NINJA'D” – whether this will be at the top of Glastonbury Tor or at your campsite is something you’ll only find out by following her on Twitter (@amandapalmer). Just be prepared for an early start – her website currently lists Friday’s show time as 7:00am.

Stay Up Late with Gig Buddies

Gig Buddies is an innovative Brighton-based project that gives people with a learning disability the opportunity to attend late night gigs. Rather than miss out on live music – either completely because of lack of a support worker, or partially because their support finishes early – the project makes it possible for people with a learning disability to stay for the entire show, by pairing them up with a trained ‘gig buddy’ who shares their passion for music. Part of the Stay Up Late project which campaigns for people with a learning disability to enjoy the lifestyle of their choosing, Gig Buddies is now taking their campaign to Glastonbury. Volunteers from Gig Buddies will be found in the disabled campsite and on the viewing platforms of the Pyramid Stage and John Peel Tent, supporting the charity. If you want to find out about volunteering or benefitting from the project, or just want to hang-out with Gig Buddies at Glastonbury then follow their twitter (@gigbuddies).

Strummerville Campfire

In a tiny corner in the Unfair Ground, near Shangri La, you’ll find the soul of previous Glastonbury’s alive and singing at the Strummerville Campfire. Joe Strummer was a regular at the festival before his death in 2002, hosting legendary campfires that lasted until dawn and where all were welcome, The Clash singer spoke movingly about the flames' unifying effect. A memorial stone to Strummer now stands in the spot, and since 2007 the Strummerville charity has invited festival attendees to gather round its campfire and play, whether or not they have brought their own music gear. It’s a beautiful thing that the spirit of the man who wrote Spanish Bombs and Guns of Brixton lives on in a little corner of this great festival.

Glastonbury Festival takes place at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset from June 26-30 2013.

Click here for the latest Glastonbury Festival weather forecast.

Click here for the Ten new things at Glastonbury 2013.

Click here for our Ten 'hidden gems' to watch at Glastonbury 2013.

Click here for the 2013 Glastonbury stage times.


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