With the festival season well under way, it’s time to start the all-important pre-fest preparations. If you don’t have eleventy hundred quid to splurge on fancy glamping options such as yurts, squrts and pop-up hotels, I’m afraid you’re going to have to slum it with the rest of us.
But it needn’t be hell in a tent before you’ve even hit the festival site. Whether you’re a keen festival-goer or you’re thinking about going for the first time, following these tips will help you make the most of your music festival experience.
Before you go, make a list of everything you will need. This checklist is extremely useful. If you think it’s going to be a muddy one and want to rid yourself of grime after a long day of field raving, then wet wipes and antibacterial gel are essentials. It’s definitely worth queuing for showers if they’re available, if not, dry shampoo will become your best friend.
Remember you’ll be carrying a tent, roll mat, sleeping bag, (booze), as well as your rucksack, so make sure it doesn’t weigh a tonne. You probably won’t fit a pillow in your bag, but I found that bringing a pillow case and filling it with clothes sufficed.
Pack for all weathers
Check the forecast before you leave to get a feel for the weather. Even if it says it’s going to be swelteringly hot and sunny, don’t believe it. Do pack your sun cream and sun glasses, but it doesn’t hurt to pack your rain mac/poncho/umbrella, whatever it is that will shield you from a surprise downpour.
Wellies are a must. I lugged mine all the way to Belgium from the UK, just in case. It ended up being extremely hot, but you never know – Pukkelpop had a freak storm the year before. Don’t get caught out!
So you’ve packed your Ray-Bans, your digital camera and your iPhone. Think again! Don’t take anything you would hate to see get ruined. I bought a pair of Primark sun glasses for £1 and they served me well. If you want to take some snaps to remember the experience, bring a cheap camera, or even better, a disposable one. Switch to your old brick phone – who wants to be on the Internet all day when you can be enjoying a festival, technology free?
And don’t take loads of clothes. You only really need one outfit per day, a hoodie in case it gets cold at night, sturdy trainers/wellies and maybe a spare t-shirt and shoes, in case you lose one in a most pit/mud fight.
Pitch your tent
Make sure you get to the campsite early to get first pick of the camping spots. Try and be close to the entrance and showers, but far from the portaloos – it’s only a matter of time before they start to pong. I also found that pitching your tent near a landmark will help you find it again when drunk and faced with a sea of similar tents. Why not go next to the idiot who bought a tent in the shape of a boob?
And I cannot stress enough – pin your tent down firmly! Make sure you have enough pegs and really hammer then down. I recently went to Isle of Wight Festival which suffered from strong winds on the first night, leaving a couple tentless. The next day our own tent had collapsed! It would probably help to buy a decent tent too. Ours was pretty cheap, hence its downfall. Be sure to take any valuables with you whenever you leave the campsite.
Making sure you drink lots of fluids while you’re at a festival can be hard work – the price of drinks can be ridiculous, the queues can be long and you have to weave it into your packed music schedule. However it is of upmost importance that you keep yourself hydrated, especially at a festival where you can be drinking alcohol, dancing and, if you’re lucky, in hot weather. Make sure you find time to buy water, or, if there are free drinking water facilities, make use of them.
If you’re going to have alcohol, take it slow. You want to be able to remember the bands you’ve seen and avoid the stinking hangover the next day. Be careful what you drink and don’t accept alcohol from a stranger as you never know what could be in it. Why not stay sober? Much cheaper and safer!
Don’t get lost either. Try and stick with your friends, but if you do decide to split up, keep in contact via phone or if that fails (and it probably will), arrange a place and time to meet in advance. Don’t forget to protect your ears. According to NHS Choices, festival music can reach over 110 decibels so invest in some ear plugs, it could save your hearing!
At the end of the day you’ll have to accept that you won’t be in the most luxurious of conditions and that you will have to get up close and personal in crowds of sweaty festival-goers. I actually found that when I was at my sweatiest and dirtiest I had the most fun. Put aside your reservations and enjoy it – you’ll be witnessing amazing live music in an incredible atmosphere with thousands of like-minded people.
You can have a nice bath when you get home.
– Published at This Festival Feeling