Birmingham charity worker has been to Glastonbury Festival for free five times - here’s how

Mary Horesh hasn’t paid to go to Glastonbury Festival for five times

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A woman who’s been to Glastonbury for free five times says she "doesn’t even know how much the tickets are anymore".

Mary Horesh, 47, began going to the festival in 2002 as a paying customer. After buying her ticket conventionally four times over the years, she later discovered a way she could attend the festival completely free of charge - saving herself more than £1,000.

The charity worker discovered that she could guarantee a free place by volunteering to guard attendees’ personal belongings - from passports to instruments - at one of the sites ‘lock ups’. She says she only has to volunteer around 25 hours of her time from Wednesday to Monday - including one eight hour night shift - then she can spend the rest of her time exploring the festival and seeing her favourite artists.

Mary, a member of Birmingham Friends of the Earth, said: "All the volunteers have a great time. We get to enjoy the festival and also meet and speak to so many people you wouldn’t normally. Someone was asking me how much a Glastonbury ticket was and I actually didn’t know - I don’t need to know.

"All the volunteers have designated camping spaces, access to showers and we all get to go the day before the site opens. It’s great to hear the cheers when the fence opens and see the site gradually fill up and get used to the festival vibe.

"You have to work up to 30 hours and do one night shift across the six days but if there’s an act you particularly want to see, usually you can swap with another volunteer. I remember it being an absolute nightmare trying to buy tickets yourself. I’d definitely recommend volunteering - it’s such a unique way to experience Glastonbury and I’ve probably saved thousands."

Mary Horesh at GlastonburyMary Horesh at Glastonbury
Mary Horesh at Glastonbury

The 14 on-site lock ups are completely free to use for festival goers wanting to store their valuables. They also distribute phone chargers and toilet rolls for those in need. The lock-ups are run by volunteers from Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament groups, Brighton Peace and Environment Centre and Birmingham Friends of the Earth - which Mary is a part of.

They take all kinds and sizes of items including bicycles, trolleys, rucksacks, car keys, medical supplies, passports and coach tickets. Whilst most items deposited are fairly conventional, Mary has seen some more interesting cases over the years.

She said: "We take the smallest to the biggest of items so quite the variety. One year an entire orchestra who were playing left their instruments and I’ve also had a DJ leave his precious records. We do get busy at peak times, especially on Sunday night as everyone packs up in the day and leaves other rucksacks with us, but usually it’s just a drip feed. The only thing we don’t take is children - but there’s still a few every year who try it."

Glastonbury 2023 sold out in minutesGlastonbury 2023 sold out in minutes
Glastonbury 2023 sold out in minutes

The lock ups are manned 24/7 by the volunteers who put in place a series of security measures to ensure your belongings don’t get stolen. Although the shifts can sometimes be "hard work", Mary says they’re "totally worth it".

She added: "It’s swings and roundabouts. You still have all the frustrations of work so it doesn’t always go smoothly but you don’t have the hassle of trying to get tickets. I always have an amazing time and volunteering enhances it. You have to let Glastonbury happen to you. I’m really excited to get back this year and do it all over again."