Glastonbury 2009

1000 AA signs lead the way to this year's festival

22 June 2009

The AA has provided direction signs for Glastonbury for 8 years It takes around 1,000 AA signs and nine months of planning to guide the 180,000 festival goers to this year's Glastonbury.

The AA has provided signage to the world's biggest greenfield music and performing arts festival for the last eight years and the challenge of ensuring it goes smoothly falls to Nathan Kendell, AA Signs Manager for the South-west.

Nathan explains: "It's a massive logistical exercise and the biggest event we sign for – the equivalent of the population of Sunderland descending at once.

"We start immediately after the festival with a debrief, then the planning starts in earnest about nine months before the next one.

A month to erect

"We sign the festival from quite far afield and in all directions and it takes 450 route signs and another 500 mandatory ones for things like road closures and one-ways. It takes around a month to erect them all but they come down a lot quicker than they go up!"

The AA team

The signage is not the extent of the AA's involvement. Three AA motorbikes will patrol the approach roads providing traffic information to the organisers and 20 volunteers from across the AA's five offices will marshal traffic in the site's 35 car parks.

Last year, the AA attended around 200 stricken cars on the site itself and dozens more on routes in and out of the festival. This year, 16 patrols will be on hand supported by specialist AA Land Rovers and two dedicated AA key cutting technicians.

AA patrol Steve Evans says: "It's mostly flat batteries and lost keys but people lose their car too! The car parks are so big that people ask us to drive them round looking for it.

"To help, we're issuing all drivers with cards so they can write down the car park number and asking them to mark their keys with something unique to make it easier to identify them.

"If the worst happens and your car breaks down, AA members and non-members can call our dedicated Glastonbury helpline for service: 0800 072 3642."

With 'green' issues highlighted at the festival, the AA is asking motorists heading to the festival to do their bit too with its 'greener driver' advice on the back of the cards.

Routes and traffic

Last year, thousands of drivers used the online AA Route Planner to get to Glastonbury with people travelling an average of 144 miles. The furthest route from within the UK was South Queensferry, near Edinburgh (435 miles) and the top five starting points were London (132 miles), Bristol (31 miles), Leeds (249 miles), Exeter (58 miles) and, somewhat surprisingly, Taunton, just 28 miles down the road.

Festival goers should allow plenty of time to get to the festival, as there will be inevitable congestion, but they can help avoid the worst of it by using the AA's traffic and travel advice line, AA Roadwatch. The number is 84322 or enter 'the AA' on your mobile phone keypad or call 0906 88 84322 from a landline1.


1Calls to AA Roadwatch cost up to 65p per minute. Calls should not last longer than 90 seconds.

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23 June 2009