the settler experience

Hi, I've been coming to the GM since 2007 but this is my first time as a settler. I'm starting to get my stuff together, is there anything I need to know about the experience?


I've only done settlers twice, in 2013ish and then in 2018ish. There'd been a total transformation in those 5 years and I believe there's been a further transformation since, and it's alone bigger than many festivals. 

Others will be able to update, but there's (at least one.,..) bar and 3 or 4 food places. Think there are now 2 stages at which some very good local  acts play in the evening, and I think there's a pub quiz one night too? There are a load of activities aimed at families going on most of the day every day, and people from the national park on hand to advise on days out.

My experience is that it's more obviously a family thing than the main part of the festival, but not so much that those of us non-families feel out of place.

The settlers is great.  Such a brilliant way to extend the experience and gradually ease yourself into festival-mode so that once Thursday arrives you're ready to hit it (reasonably fresh).  I've never looked back since trying about 5/6 years ago.

As mentioned there have been two bars in past, several good hot food options, and local deli Cashells have a stall stocked with decent range of basics (bread, veg, fruit, meat, milk, snacks...).  There's live music at nights and plenty of activities - not tried them but foraging, woodwork, star gazing, storytelling, local walks etc I think.  Oh and they provide communal BBQs you're free to use (which disappear for Thursday).

Mr Trolley is there too but - word of warning from experience last year - only Mon/Tue.  So if arriving Wed you'll need to haul your gear from car park under your own steam.  Might not be the case this year (seemed bit mad to have all the trolleys there and not make some money on the Wed when still plenty of settlers arriving) but worth mentioning in case it is and you're relying on hiring a trolley.

Also a first-time Settler (2007 was also my first GM)... I'm guessing there's plenty of room for tents, and the spaces in between get filled in on Thursday? And if you want to be in a quieter area during Settlers you just go a bit further from the festival entrance?

In past years there has been a limited area of the site to camp during settlers... the rest of the site is off limits until Thursday. 

The camping area for settlers becomes family camping when the festival commences. Some settlers decide to move their gear into general camping on Thursday, when that becomes an option.

It might be slightly different this year because of the Wednesday admission of folk trying to get there by public transport. 

The Settlement is a very relaxed run up to the festival proper and feels special in its own right. 

General bit of advice...Get your wristband before hiring a trolley otherwise you'll be paying Mr Tolley whilst you stand in a queue.for your wristband.

The Settlement car park is much closer to the box office and settlers camping than the weekend parking.

Have a great time.

Thanks all for taking time to answer my query. I feel reassured. As an old duffer I am looking to ease my way into the festival with a few walks. I have found in recent years it got  bit manic arriving on the Thursday.

Find time for a walk down the river or canal to Crickhowell. Splash some cash in the shops, cafes and pubs Particularly recommended is the bookshop, Book-ish (they'll be at the festival as well I'd imagine), who also have a lovely cafe. 

Seconding the bookish cafe- that (and the off licence) is usually my Friday morning activity- probably gonna be my Thursday morning activity this time.....

Also recommend visiting the 'natural weigh' shop.  GM visitors get 10% off on food items and cleaning materials that you bag/bottle and weigh.  The lemon infused oil is fantastic to cook fish with, take a sealable bottle to fill.


It has always been part of settler tradition to go for a pint there on the Tuesday or Wednesday and for the kids to go for a swim in the river.

My kids are grown up now and are arriving on Wednesday, but still...

Quite a few festival goers meet in the Britannia Inn beer garden on Wednesday afternoon,good to see people but not the same as meeting in the Bridge beer garden.


Gonna miss the Bridge! Nice people and nice beer.