In focus: Walkabouts at Glastonbury Festival 2023

Glastonbury Festival’s famous Walkabouts were out in full force at this year’s festival; of the over 1000 performers from around the world who appear in the Theatre and Circus fields, many of them are walkabout performers. These acts immerse visitors in an interactive theatrical spectacle from 11 am until the late hours of the night.

They’ve been bringing joy to the festival since the 1980s, some of them have appeared at almost every festival – and it’s an amazing sight. As the Theatre and Circus area organiser Haggis McLeod said, “It’s like walking into a parallel universe – you don’t know what you’ll come across but it will be enchanting or clever, funny or downright ridiculous.”

“One of the best things for me is when I walk through and see people on the phone to their mates saying ‘You’ve got to come here, this is incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it.’ You can interact with the acts, pose for a selfie, or simply watch it all go by. Keep an eye out for enticing characters out to involve you in some nonsense!”

We had the pleasure of experiencing some of that glorious nonsense across the weekend at Glastonbury. While we wish we could detail each and every performer, below are just a few of the highlights:

Walkabouts Review Round-up

Tea Ladies on tour

Fancy a cuppa? Tea Ladies on Tour nabbed us to offer us some tea from the tea trolly, bringing some 1950s comedic charm to the festival fields. With their hair-rollers in, cigarettes dangling precariously from the corner of their mouths, frocked and aproned, these tea ladies were ensuring the Glastonbury faithful were staying hydrated in the sun and getting their daily dose of nattering. One of the most photographed Walkabouts based on our experience.

The Wardens

Mind where you park! After catching George Egg’s Set Menu in the Astrolabe we were a bit hungry having watched Egg whizz up a culinary masterpiece, so having grabbed a bite to eat from one of the many, many amazing stalls selling food from around the world we grabbed a piece of grass to take the weight off and fill our stomach with a magnificent Masala Dosa. But we ‘parked’ in the wrong place and were quickly apprehended by The Wardens and were (hilariously) warned about our lack of pre-purchased parking and our parallel parking skills.

Laura London Magic

We chanced on Laura London as we headed towards the Circus Big Top, appropriate given her circus ringleader-style outfit, and were lucky enough to catch her incredible sleight of hand magic. Think you’re close enough to see what she’s doing? Think again. Performed on top of a briefcase, London’s magic is truly baffling.

The Giant Seagulls

Go to the beach and it’s difficult to escape the attack of a pesky seagull as you try to finish off your fish and chips. Glastonbury has a larger bird problem in the Giant Seagulls. I say problem, but they are genuinely fantastic and no one is safe. We were lucky enough to come across them more than once and the most entertaining moment of the weekend was to see two women squealing in fear and laughter as they sprinted across the field pursued by a squawking Giant Seagull.

The Magnificent Kevens

If you’re having a slow day at the festival, why not let the music come to you instead of beating across the fields for your next act? The Magnificent Kevens bring the show to you with fun-filled mobile renditions of classic songs, Just Can’t Get Enough being a highlight for us! They were a roving joy.

Anyone for Tennis

We happened upon the Wimbledon final happening right in the middle of Glebeland, with the one and only Andy Murray – dressed in his Wimbledon whites and with racket in hand – playing on a very, very small version of a tennis court. He may have been an 8-year-old boy playing against an adult woman, but he still won – much to the crowd’s delight. Who’d have thought you’d see that at Glastonbury?

The Ministry of Happy

No one should be unhappy at a festival like this, which is why The Ministry of Happy are obviously a key part of the festival. The Ministry of Happy’s magical mayhem saw them measuring children’s and adults’ heads, asking bizarre questions and providing happy prescriptions. It’s one way to improve your mood.

The JukeBoxes – Bootworks Theatre

A pair of miming Jukeboxes? I’m not sure we need to say any more than that. Drawing one of the bigger crowds we saw for a Walkabout act, Bootworks Theatre’s The Jukeboxes saw two heads appearing out of two jukeboxes dressed up as the singer of the jukebox song. Bringing The Beatles and Elvis to the festival and performing quite a number of entertaining and very funny duets.

Vamos Theatre

Vamos Theatre’s midwives brought wonderful chaos (and the birthing plan you didn’t know your husband needed) to Glastonbury Festival’s Theatre & Circus fields as they coaxed dazed revellers into giving birth or providing them with strange remedies after the long weekend.

Walkabout acts are at Glastonbury Festival 2023