Inside Terminal 1, Glastonbury’s newest immersive experience

At Terminal 1, Glastonbury goers experience a smal taster of the challenges migrants face when finding a new home, through an expertly executed immersive experience.


In a small portacabin, a man dressed in an airport security uniform hovers over a clipboard. Six people stand in front of him as he holds their fate in his hands – whether or not they can enter Terminal 1, a new stage in William’s Green area of Glastonbury, built from the bones of Heathrow’s now disused, Terminal 1. As he quizzes them on their names, purpose of travel, place of origin and relationship to each other, his face is stern and cold, making every correct answer feel like it should be second-guessed. 

Once he’s satisfied, there’s one final hurdle to gain access to the area – answering a question from the actual UK Citizenship test. Easy, right? Not necessarily: the questions focus on the origins of tea or the specifics of the House of Lords, factoids you may have banked from primary school, but if you were educated abroad, are equally likely to have never encountered. Those who answer correctly are directed through a door to the left and the unlucky to the right.

Passing immigration’s bar is far from the first thing you’d be concerned about when coming to Glastonbury, but Terminal 1 aims to get us thinking about movement and migration in a new way. It’s delivered through a fun, immersive experience, but also challenges you, at every step, to consider your privilege.


As the experience continues, you climb the stairs to yet another airport security-style experience – but with staff who shout at you in Rwandan. When you’re through the scanner and want to retrieve your shoes, instead of passing them to you, they lob them to the other side of a floor covered in small rocks. It’s amusing in the moment, but a clear statement about the harsh treatment many migrants faced when trying to find a new home.

Not all of the experience is so unwelcoming. Reunited with your shoes, you make it into a Rwandan scene, where a smiley local offers you a drink of milk. “This is very special for us, sharing milk,” he explains. “It’s more than us giving you milk – we’re welcoming you. It’s like a friend request on Facebook. We’re trying to connect.” In the country, the cows that produce the milk are highly important, representing a bond between families and neighbours. “If my family offers you a cow, it means we’re linked. If you have a problem in your household, you can run to mine and the same [in reverse].”

This space isn’t just a chance to sit and sip, though. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on how travel and migration can enrich our lives – and how countries are trying to restrict and control those freedoms. Our new friend points to the birds flying outside, sharing a Rwandan phrase that translates to “The little bird that does not fly will never know where the sun rises”. “We love birds, don’t we?” he asks. “Seeing them fly, the freedom. But these days, we try and tell birds where they cannot go. We give them freedom in an area and then make it hard for them in that area.”

Given the country whose culture we’re currently enjoying, it’s a highly-effective and smart reminder of the British government’s current attempts to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The wider Glastonbury community and the artists it backs continues to find creative ways to spread messages of unity and acceptance. In Terminal 1, they have done so with remarkable creativity. It’s an experience that will stay with us, long after we leave the site.