By Rob McLaren
So, festival lovers, the time is nearly upon us.
It may have been little over three months since Sunday headliners The Cure rounded off the 2019 edition with a blisteringly age-defying performance on the Pyramid Stage, but tonight the first round of tickets for Glastonbury 2020 will go on sale to the general public.
And with 2020 set to be Glastonbury’s ‘golden jubilee’, festival organisers are sure to serve up an extra-special treat for fans next year.
Ticket + coach packages will be available from SeeTickets from 6pm tonight, offering an ideal way to secure tickets and organise transport well before the last-minute panic sets in.
But before you even think about sauntering onto the website at half-past midnight after your bedtime bath, there’s something you need to know: Glastonbury tickets are hard to come by.
Like, notoriously hard to come by.
Twitter expert @TheGlastoThingy – an essential follow for Glastonbury fans – reports that the coach package tickets sold out in just 29 minutes last year, with the general sale not far behind, at 36 minutes. In previous years it’s been even tougher: 2015 coach packages sold out in a mere 15 minutes.
And for most ticket hopefuls, that will have been 15 minutes of staring at a white screen telling them the sales page was currently full.
Don’t fret, though, there’s hope. Last year I was lucky enough to count myself among the small percentage of hopefuls who managed to secure a ticket. As much as the odds are stacked against you, it is, as a matter of fact, possible.
Through my own experience of waiting in the ticket queue – and the far more useful advice I received from punters far more experienced than I – here are 5 tips for anyone looking to book their place on the Glastonbury setlist next year.
1. Make sure you’re already registered.
Unfortunately, if you’ve not already completed your online registration with SeeTickets, then you’ve wasted your time reading this. Sorry.
The window for registering slammed shut on Monday evening, and all of those who were not approved in time will be unable to try for tickets this year.
Forgot to complete the registration in time? You might not be out of the running just yet. Registration details don’t change year-on-year, and anyone who registered after 2010 should still be on the system for this year’s sale.
You can check if you’ve registered successfully here.
And if you come up short, well, there’s always next year…
2. Find a stable WiFi connection.
Perhaps the best advice you’ll ever receive for securing your tickets was given to me by the friendly Geordie man I found myself sitting next to on the coach down to Pilton last year.
“Find somewhere with insanely fast internet and go there, wherever it may be.”
For him, that meant the local sports centre where his daughter practiced gymnastics. And as someone who’d been to Glastonbury at every edition since 2000 (a year which counts David Bowie among the headliners), I’ve got every reason to listen to his advice.
Discover the quickest download speed you can reasonably make it to in time to try your luck. It could be your work, your local library, a computer at the university, or simply your fibre-optic broadband at home. If in doubt, take a speed test and throw your chips at the best connection.
The man I spoke to on the bus told me that all he needed was to hook up his phone to the building’s WiFi, but it might be worth trying your luck with multiple screens. Indeed, for most seasoned Glastonbury hopefuls, ticket sale day means digging up every device with access to the internet they can find: multiple laptops, tablets, that old iPhone with the broken screen you’ve had lying in a drawer for the past three years – the lot.
If you’re going with the multi-screen method (get ready to wish you had five pairs of arms), it might be worth trying your luck with different connections. So if, like me, you’ll be trying your luck at the library, why not try one of the university’s computers, Eduroam on your laptop, and the 4G on your phone?
So, sit back (or probably forward), grab all your antiquated devices, close every other tab, and get ready to spam F5 to refresh the page – over and over and over again.
Oh, and it’s probably best if you bring a few chargers along with you, too.
3. Buy tickets for your whole group.
Since getting onto the payment page is so notoriously difficult, it’s probably a good idea if you do get on to grab tickets for your whole group at once. Once (if) you successfully get through, you can buy a maximum of six tickets at a time.
If, like mine, your group of hopefuls is larger than six, this will probably cause a lot of squabbling over who gets ‘priority’.
Nevertheless, it’s worth choosing in advance who you plan to purchase tickets for (even if you don’t tell them) and being ready to snap up tickets for all six once you make it onto the page.
Make sure you’ve got everyone’s details noted down and triple-checked before 6pm. You’ll need the registration numbers and postcodes of each member of your group, along with the full name of the lead ticket buyer – you.
Right now the payment site will only take one payment method, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough money in your account (bring it, overdraft!) to pay the deposits and coach tickets for every member of your group.
That means having £50 per member + whatever the cost of your coach tickets ready to come out of your account if you’re successful in obtaining tickets.
Note that it might not be your only option to travel down from Glasgow, with a £109 return ticket a fairly steep outlay. If you’re strapped for cash, it might be worth considering a coach ticket from somewhere closer to the festival’s home of Somerset – you can figure out how you’re getting down to England in time for the coach closer to the time. Road trip, anyone?
Finally, if you’re a large group, make sure to message the other members of your group as soon as you secure the tickets. That way, they can try for tickets for everyone who missed out the first time round.
Once on, you’ve got five minutes to finalise your booking. Good luck!
4. Turn up early, and stay late.
Tickets might not go on sale till 6pm, but that doesn’t mean you should be willing to swing by at 6:03 hopeful of securing your ticket.
In fact, there’s tales from previous years of the website opening up accidentally five whole minutes before the hour, allowing those most punctual of punters to secure their tickets and have the kettle boiling by the time the masses show up to try their luck.
Once the site opens, chances are your first sight will be a white screen telling you the page is currently experiencing too much traffic for you to get in. You’re going to have to be persistent: keep refreshing the page as quickly as your fingers can click, and don’t be prepared to stop until confirmation comes through that the last of the tickets has been sold.
If you do make it onto the booking page, and the page crashes before you can continue, stop refreshing the page immediately. Close your browser and start again. That one comes from the organisers, not me, folks…
Even then, it might be worth trying for another five minutes or so. My experience with gig-buying tells me that ticket sometimes crop up whole minutes after they had allegedly sold out. I wouldn’t expect that from the Glastonbury site, but…you just never know.
Toilet breaks simply aren’t an option for the hardcore fans amongst us.
5. And finally, don’t lose heart.
If, come 6.30pm, you’ve not managed to secure your tickets, don’t bring on the waterworks just yet. The Thursday coach packages are just the first round of ticket sales and tend to have a far smaller chance of success than the general sale this weekend.
Those tickets will go on sale at 9am on Sunday, so – to borrow from a popular meme – be ready to come back, and be ready to do it all over again.
Oh, and there’ll be a limited number of resales available over the springtime period, for all those people who fail to pay for their tickets in time. Their loss, not ours.
Finally – and this I can’t stress enough – good luck. It takes more than a good bit of fortune to secure your tickets this early, but if all your friends are trying at once, who knows? The Pyramid might be just around the corner…