Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 09:54 UK

How to survive the Glastonbury mud

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Muddy fans at Glastonbury
Some festival fans went with the flow after the floods in 2005
Oh no, not again. The Glastonbury Festival is coming around and the forecast suggests it is once more shaping up to be a full-on glorious mudfest.

Why is it that this particular weekend in our green and pleasant land, at the end of June, supposedly the middle of summer, around the longest day, often seems to attract rain as though it were typhoon season in the tropics.

It feels like some kind of sick joke. Glastonbury is still enjoyable but in a slightly different way - as though an Army swamp tactics training weekend has been thrown into the bargain and a certificate should be awarded at the end.

I have survived the last three legendarily wet Glastonburys - 1997, '98 and 2005, the latter of which saw biblical downpours resulting in proper flooding. And the novelty is starting to wear off.

Here are some tips in case of extreme weather this year:

Canoe on floodwater at Glastonbury 2005
Come prepared - but not necessarily that well prepared
Be prepared. Make sure you have wellies that fit well (you will spend a lot of time in them), a decent waterproof jacket (but not a winter jacket as you will be sweating in there) and waterproof trousers.

Buy them beforehand as there will be huge demand and short supply at the festival.

Take spare clothes as some will get soaked or caked in mud, or both, no matter how hard you try. Your tent must be decent - check beforehand for holes, to make sure all the bits are there and that it has a good groundsheet.

Take lots of bin bags and plastic bags. If your tent leaks or floods, you will have a job to salvage your belongings unless they are well protected.

Wrap up anything valuable (phone, camera...) and then wrap them again. Don't take anything that you can't live without.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis
Michael Eavis says he has spent 100,000 on improving drainage
Also protect anything else you will need - clothes, or better still your whole rucksack (you will have a miserable time if all your clothes are soaked), loo roll and whatever else you can think of.

Finally, don't leave anything you don't want to get soaked directly on the tent floor, in case water seeps up.

Camp on high ground. Glastonbury is in a valley and in very heavy rain, water streams down the hill. But it's a bit hard to know where these streams will spring up, and whether your tent will be in the way.

Likewise, try to avoid dips or areas where water is likely to gather - but, again, it's hard to tell until it happens.

My tent flooded in '97 or '98 when I just happened to camp in a spot where the water didn't budge, meaning I spent a night in my slightly cramped but reassuringly dry car boot.

Also, probably best avoided is the area immediately to the north of the old railway embankment - a raised footpath that provides a barrier to escaping water and where the worst flooding happened two years ago. However, Michael Eavis says he has spent 100,000 improving drainage.

Muddy fans at Glastonbury
To stay clean or get dirty - that is the question
Look down. If you want to avoid falling over, look where you're treading and go slowly. Ideally, walk with someone you can grab if you lose your footing (unless both of you fall over in the process).

Ignore all of the above. It's all a bit of a hassle, frankly, isn't it? So if you don't mind a bit of mud, get heavily intoxicated, slip, slide and swim to your heart's content. Get caked and soaked, along with all your belongings.

You'll survive (probably) and it will be great fun, but maybe only until you sober up and realise you have trenchfoot and a broken arm.


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