What to expect from your first Glastonbury experience

My powers of irony are failing. A few days ago, having about the best time of my life at my first Glastonbury Festival, I told my Facebook pals, "Glastonbury is rubbish". Everyone thought I was serious. No - I was joking. It was, in fact, one of the most exhilarating and enlightening experiences of my life. Exhilarating to see the headliners like Robert Plant, Paulo Nutini, Kaiser Chiefs and the bedazzled Dolly Parton but just as rewarding were the more intimate gigs: Tankus the Henge, the Beautiful South's Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot, Peatbog Fairies, Vintage Trouble, Rusty Shackle and CC Smugglers.

Most of the acts I saw wouldn't have been given the time of day by Simon Cowell and his money making bandits. This was about real artists making real music.

It's a massive festival and it's full of surprises. Some of the best times were spent wandering aimlessly from stage to stage stumbling across stunning acts I'd never heard of but will never forget.

Enlightening because almost everyone one of the 120,000 ticket holders were there to enjoy music, meet people and have fun. It's a sort of paradise – a hedonistic Brigadoon where everyone smiles and connections are instant.

I spent the wee hours of the last night partying in a filthy disco packed with people of all ages who hadn't bathed for five days. No pretentious dickheads, designer labels or moody bouncers here (who ever decided that was fun?). Everyone wore crazy outfits and limboed across the dance floor in wellies caked with mud. The music was fun, the dancing was silly and everyone (regardless of what they do in the real world) had the time of their lives.

And finally, to the hippy epicentre of Glastonbury – the Stone Circle. Littered with campfires and candles there was no better place to contemplate the last five days and watch the sunrise over the massive festival site.

Thank you Glastonbury. You dragged me through the mud and replenished my spirit. My body may be broken but my mind has never been better.

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