How to charge your phone at Glastonbury and save your battery

A new urinal, developed by UWE Bristol that will power lights and charge mobile phones at Glastonbury
A new urinal, developed by UWE Bristol that will power lights and charge mobile phones at Glastonbury

Why do people even take smartphones to Glastonbury?

Not long ago, Glastonbury used to be a relatively phone-free affair. When Michael Jackson died in 2009, for instance, barely any of the punters on the ground were able to verify whether it was true or not. By contrast, last year, when the EU Referendum collided with the festival, people standing in The Glade dance field were able to watch constituencies call out their results in real time thanks to social media, smartphones and brilliant service – even in rural Somerset.

Despite smartphones being valuable and easily damaged by moisture, they have become a festival essential as ticket-holders rely on them to keep in touch with friends and, of course, share their adventures with the wider world through social media. The problem remains, however...

How do you keep your phone charged?

While some return to the wild at Glastonbury, many hang on to their smartphones

Smartphones run out of battery during a single day spent in normal civilisation, so if you're taking photos, uploading them and using lots of data to contact friends, it can run out quickly. And then you can be scuppered.

Glastonbury has been responding to people's need for battery power for the past five years or so, with communications company sponsors Orange, and then EE, providing charge tents where people could sit and charge their phones after waiting in a massive queue. 

In 2014, power banks, or external, portable chargers were introduced for festival-goers to purchase ready to go, and then exchange for another charged-up one when it had run out. These remain available to buy in advance and at charge tents around the festival site, which are clearly marked on the Glastonbury map. 

But with a little preparation, you can save yourself the queue. Anker makes a variety of charge packs which, when fully powered up, can charge an iPhone between two and seven times. You can charge them up at mains power points and from your car battery en route down to the festival – just don't forget your power cable.  

How else can I save battery?

  • Wise deployment of airplane mode – when you're watching a set, sleeping or charging – will go a long way.
  • Switching off data usage for apps you don't need while you're at Glastonbury, such as those for hailing taxis, Pinterest or banking apps, will save your battery as well as your data usage. 
  • Keep the Low Power Mode on throughout the festival. 
  • Disable Wifi and Bluetooth roaming. Although there are a few spots where you can get Wifi at Glastonbury, most of the festival isn't covered, so you can save battery by switching it off.
  • Try to avoid letting the battery drop to 20 per cent. This is a bit of a Catch-22 situation, but it is far easier to charge up a phone when it has between 20 and 80 per cent battery. 
  • Turn off your location services. Remember, Glastonbury is one big field, so your GPS won't be very helpful anyway. Use recognisable features for meeting points instead. 
  • Turn off your notifications.
  • Update all your apps before you go – new versions will be less battery-hungry. 

Is there Wifi at Glastonbury?

The charge tents also have Wifi, and there are Wifi-powered cows dotted around the site which act as hotspots. Otherwise, you're reliant on 4G, which is, mercifully, usually pretty fast.

Can I keep it somewhere safe?

Yes. There are free property lock-ups at most of the campsites and within the main festival ground. 

What happens if it gets lost or stolen?

Firstly, make sure you have Find My iPhone switched on. You'll thank yourself later. 

Lost property can be found at the Wagonshed by the Farmhouse. People do hand things in – more than 700 items, 118 of which were mobile phones, were handed in during 2016's festival – so it's worth making the trek there to check.

You can also report a lost item via email. Copy and paste this form into the body copy of an email and fill it in. It's a good idea to send a screengrab of your phone's details, including IMEI number and model, and emailing it to yourself and a friend, to have a reference. 

If you think your phone has been stolen, the police compound is at the top of the Big Ground camping field, near the Bank and the Farmhouse. This is where you can report the crime and get a reference number for insurance purposes.