A Festival Guide; The 'Do's and Don'ts' of Festivals.
Nothing says summer like a festival!
There's nothing better than the excited atmosphere created by hundreds of (slightly tipsy) music fans. There are so many weird and wonderful sights and experiences to be found at festivals, but if you've never been to a one before, how do you know what to expect? Where is a good place to pitch your tent? What should you take with you? This guide contains some handy tips for inexperienced festival goers to make sure that the festival experience is a good one!
Useful things you should bring with you.
The Less Obvious Things:
- Heavy duty bin bags - As well as being useful for rubbish, use them for fixing almost everything that breaks or leaks! I once had to create a makeshift shoe with these when the deep mud managed to pull the sole off my welly boot. Definitely not a pretty solution, but much better than walking around with naked feet whilst looking for back-up shoes!
- Duct tape - It sticks to almost anything and it's water resistant: Great for fixing almost anything, from a broken tent pole or chair, to a hole in a tent or shoe.
- Shower Gel - You may have thought, 'why-bother', when realising that you cannot easily shower at a festival, but there are drinking taps placed all over the festivals and if you are feeling particularly grim, it is not unusual to see people quickly having a cheeky hair wash under one of these.
- Anti-bacterial hand gel - A pretty obvious one that many people forget. There isn't usually any soap in the toilet sinks and it'll be unlikely that you can access a shower.
- Earplugs - for if you're not good at sleeping when there's noise going on...or if you're right at the front of a show.
Useful things you should bring with you.
The Obvious Things:
- Warm weather clothes
- Cold weather clothes
- A hat
- DECENT wellies
- Sun cream
- A bit of food
- Some cans of booze (if you fancy it!)
- Sleeping bag
- Baby wipes (you're not going to be showering for a while!)
If you plan to spend a few days camping at the festival, then chances are you're not going to have any easy access to local supermarkets. You need to decide if you want to take food with you or if you will buy it all on site. If you're buying every meal on site, be prepared to spend a lot! The food vendors at festivals tend to offer an amazing and delicious array of different cuisines, but often at a fairly high price. If you intend to save a little money by taking your own food in, then here's a list that could be helpful. You want to take lightweight, individually packaged foods that aren't going to become inedible during the day in intense summer heat.
Good food to take are things such as:
- Fruits such as apples or oranges
- Cereal Bars
- Sausage rolls (for eating in the first few days)
- Cured meats
- Bread rolls
- Sandwich spreads such as jam/chocolate spread
If you're at a festival that allows camping stoves then foods such as bacon and sausages are perfect for those colder nights.
The 'Do's' of festival camping.
There are a few things you should consider when camping during a festival if you've never been to one before.
- DO pack lightly.
If you're going to a larger festival with more than a few stages, then you will have to walk A LOT to get to the camp site areas, so try not to carry more than you need.
- DO set up your tent on a slightly higher bit of land.
Ok, so no-one wants to sleep on a slope, but if you pitch your tent on that nice flat bit of land at the very bottom of a hill, then your tent will be the first one to flood with muddy water if it rains heavily!
- DO bring empty water containers with you
I've never understood when I've seen people struggling along with great big heavy containers of water. Collect a few bottles before you go to the festival; a small one to carry with you during the day and a larger one to leave in the tent. Carry these in empty so they are light and fill them from a drinking water point when you get there.
- DO create a nice camp area with all of your friends.
It's nice if there's a group of you going to the festival, to create an amazing camp with a little space in the middle where you can all sit together outside under the gazebo. BUT LOOK OUT FOR THE SNEAKY FESTIVAL GOERS. We came back to our tents one year after building our 'mega-camp' to find that someone had sneakily come along and pitched their pop-up tent, yup you guessed it, right under our central gazebo. Just make sure you leave something behind, such as a few chairs, to make it tricky for people to do this.
- DO bring some food with you
If you're on a lower budget, then make sure you bring some kind of food with you, it will save you so much money. With most festivals, once you are inside, it is expensive to eat and its often too tricky to leave to visit the nearest supermarket. If you're planning on eating two meals a day from stalls inside the festival then you're likely to need just more than £10 a day for food alone.
And the 'Don'ts' of festival camping...
To make sure you don't have a complete camping nightmare whilst you are there...
- DON'T pitch your tent next to a convenient pathway.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is a good idea! You might think that it will make it easier to get around and to find your way about in the dark, but EVERYONE else in the festival will also be using this path and tripping over your tent guide-ropes at all times of the day and night.
- DON'T leave your valuables in your tent.
Sounds like an obvious one, but sadly, there are many thieves at festivals and you can't exactly lock a tent. Don't leave anything unattended that you would miss! And to be extra safe, it makes sense to keep your valuables inside your sleeping bag as you sleep.
- DON'T set up your tent anywhere near a toilet.
Apart from the horrendous smell when it's warm and the 'mud' that you get near a festival toilet when it's wet; you will also spend the entire time you are in your tent hearing people stomp past and the constant banging of toilet doors.
If you find yourself with free time when there isn't an act on stage that you want to see, I'd really recommend just wandering around the festival site. There are always secret events, live music bars, people in fancy dress, fire-eaters, jugglers, dancers and all sorts of weird and wonderful goings-on to discover at most festivals!