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Festival Noob The Simple Guide To Taking On A Festival

Updated on May 26, 2015

Festival noob

Festival Noob The Simple Guide To Taking On A Festival


Welcome to the simple and quick guide to tackling your first festival.

The idea of going to your first festival maybe scary but at the same time very exciting , however knowing how to prepare for one can be a challenge for many newbies. So in this simple guide, I will cover many aspects of preparing for festival using the experience I have gained over the years. I have been to many rock festivals and gone through t

What to take

The Tent

By far one of the most essential parts of your kit. Many people who go to festivals tend to by these cheap pop up tents and then leave them at the festival once its over. However these despite being easy to put up and eradicate loosing time before that first beer, they are awful when it comes to weather. My recommendation is search around for a good tent that is strong and sturdy and has a reasonably good hydrostatic head rating. Usually anything above 2500 is worth it as you know it will last a downpour. Weather can be a big enemy to festivals so its well worth investing in a tent that will not only last but keep you out of the rain and warm too. Getting one that has an inner shell will also help reduce condensation getting you but also keep you warmer. If you are ever unsure, do some research or speak to an advisor in any camping shop who will be able to find the best tent for you.

Sleeping Bags and Roll Mats

Probably one of the second most important bits of kit. Its ok to have a tent you have got your privacy and your shelter from weather but if you want to keep that extra bit cosy and sleep well then grab a sleeping bag. They come in all shapes and sizes, so if your camping in a hot country then having a really thick one may not be necessary, though if you're in a place like England it may be wise.

Roll Mats act as soft foam bed as such, that give you a barrier to the ground. If you want to go the extra mile than a camp bed is well worth the investment, as it gets you off the ground and gives you added comfort. It will add extra though to the amount of stuff you are carrying.

Self Hygiene Kit

Imagine camping with 70,000 people who sweat, get drunk, sweat beer, smell and loose all sense of social attraction! No body wants to be one of those so keep on top of hygiene. Baby wipes act as a good alternative if there is no shower facilities around as thy can get rid of sweat and dirt to a reasonable standard. Of course deodorant and oral hygiene products are another essential and most often you can get these in little travel versions.

Finally dry shampoo can refresh hair if it feels greasy and horrible but not everyone bothers with this as much as baby wipes. Women do not forget your important lady things as well and if your on any medication, do not forget to take them or forget to bring them with you!


What would you do with out one of these? One of the worst mistakes people do is take things in plastic bags or bin bags. Having a suitable backpack is vital to not only being able to carry your stuff easily but making life as stress free as possible. I have seen people holding up lines into festivals because they have dropped everything from their plastic bags. Do not end up one of these people believe me. Packing your backpack in a correct way will make your life easier in the long run. Always try to have the things you do not need immediately at the bottom. The things you want quick access to keep at the top or in side pockets. Make sure you try and pack light too so you do not break your back. And only take what you really need and not a hundred outfits and twenty pairs of shoes. Remember most often you are only going for a couple of days so only pack the essentials.


Getting this right can prove tricky. Asking your self how much you need to take as well can also be hard to get right. First things first and that is to pack enough underwear for the amount of days you are going. Trousers you can get a few wears out of so take that into consideration. Again the same for tops, though if it is warm it may get sweaty so another thing to take into consideration.

Boots are a great piece of footwear as they are rugged and keep your feet nice and dry. So take a pair of decent boots and maybe a pair of trainers to kick back in when your off your feet. Waterproof clothing is always something you should never go with out unless you are 100% sure it is not going to rain. I have literally come back from a festival not to long ago and my new raincoat saved me from being soaked to the bone. So well worth it. Again a decent jacket and hoodies to keep you warm especially in the evenings are worth bringing along too.

Food and Drink

Yes food and drink is something definitely worth taking, especially if you do not want to be spending five quid a time on a burger with no trimmings. Festival food is expensive, so when you buy food make sure you get food that lasts a long time. Avoid bread and dairy products as these will go off quick. Tinned food and snack food is good, however you can also buy special boil in the bag camping food that will deliver you a good warm meal. At the end of the day you want to still get the nutrients and vitamins your body is use to on a daily basis, so try and take tinned fruit as well or healthy things that will give you that boost. Take plenty of water to keep hydrated and drinks that will keep your energy levels up.

Avoid energy drinks as from my experience they are not the best for festivals as they give you a short boost but make you crash. So they will not aid sleep at all buy instead affect it. Try to drink alcohol responsibly. Or if you plan on getting drunk, have enough water and headache pills on standby. Headaches,

hangovers and sickness ain’t fun!

Other little bits

They are kind of the essentials but other small bits to take along include a light so you can see at night, especially when taking a visit to the portaloos. Loo roll for when you need to go the most and spare tent pegs and mallet to see to any tent woes. A sack trolley or a trolley with big sturdy wheels is great for carting all your gear on, saving your back and arms from wearing out. Just make sure your bring enough bungees to secure it all on. Get a cheap stool from a supermarket so you keep of the ground, especially when it is muddy!

If you want to capture your memories then bring a camera with plenty of space and a spare battery. Just make sure you keep it on you at all times and secure. A phone preferably a cheap one, with out the fancy apps will get you through a festival as they have longer battery life. If you do take a smart phone be careful not to loose it or make your self a target for theft. Bring a hexamine cooker and fuel tables with a lighter so you can cook your food. You can get these at most camping shops and sometimes high-street stores. Finally do not for get sunscreen and sunglasses to keep away the sun!


If you do not plan on buying food from shops have plenty on stand by for when your at the festival. Food can be pricey sometimes nearly ten pound for something like Chinese. So have cash on hand. Just remember do not carry to much around with you and do not leave it in your tent as this will make you a target for thieves. Apart from food, festivals always have lots of stalls covering all sorts from music and clothes, to musical instruments so having money there to spend is an added bonus. If you need emergency transport home for what ever reason it is good practice to have money aside for this, and make sure your phone is topped up to so you can keep in contact with people!


What Not To Take

Below is a simple list of things you should not take to a festival. This could be because they are dangerous, bad for your own and others health or purely not practical.

  • Drugs- Security and police are always at festivals and they can damage your health and others. Furthermore they can ruin festival experiences. I have seen it happen to others so simply do not bring them.

  • Gas equipment- Most festivals do not allow gas stoves as they can be dangerous, especially if people are stupid and decide to set them alight.

  • To much stuff- The more stuff you have with you especially clothes, the more you are going to have to carry. Not fun if the camp-site is on the other side of the festival grounds.

  • Really expensive possessions- Do not bring laptops,tablets, expensive phones as they prove a chance of being stolen out of your tent or even of you. Be wise!

Top Tips

  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated and avoid alcohol if you can.

  • Make use of sun cream and glasses if it is hot.

  • Take plenty to keep you warm at night though do not take to much stuff with you.

  • Pack light

  • Make use of secure facilities at the festival to keep your valuable locked away and accessibility when you need them.

  • Have your phone fully charged and take a spare battery if you have one.

  • Try not to sleep around. Yes many of you will have sex at a festival but word of advice. If you are going to do it, do it on the first night when you are clean and dirt free and take plenty of protection. Festivals are great for meeting people but you do not know what their overall hygiene is like. And you do not know what they have. Be sensible and think about what you are doing.

  • Do not do drugs as this will not only put you at risk from getting arrested but also can ruin your weekend. Don't ruin your health and festival experience. Just avoid them or say no.

  • Go with a good size group of friends. This not only makes it more fun, but if your mate goes of drunk at least you have more around you. It also adds a sense of security to your weekend.

  • Work together and brain power will prevail. If you have forgotten something like a tin opener or some matches then your friends will potentially have them. Ask around and work together!

  • Have phone numbers jotted down, so in an emergency (when your phone battery dies) you can still find ways to get in contact with friends and family.

  • Have transport arranged before hand and make sure you know how you are getting to and from the festival. This will save you time and missing out on that important camping spot or even missing your favourite band!

  • Don't forget your ticket!

Check list and Resources


  • Tent

  • Sleeping Bag

  • Roll Mat

  • Backpack

  • Ground sheet

Other bits

  • Spare pegs and mallet

  • Cooker and fuel

  • Matches and lighter

  • Trolley

  • Hygiene kit including baby wipes

  • Torch/lantern

  • Bin Bags

  • Phone and spare battery

  • Camera

  • Stool/chair

  • Camp bed/air bed

(not essential)

  • Water

  • Other drinks

  • Alcohol ( if you plan on taking some)

  • Food ( not fresh or dairy)

  • Boots

  • Trainers

  • Underwear

  • Trousers

  • Tops

  • Waterproofs

  • Medicines

  • Camping Pillow

  • Tin Opener

  • Cutlery and plates/bowls/cups

  • Sunscreen

  • After sun

  • Sun glasses

  • Bungees

  • Duct tape

  • Backed up phone numbers

  • Insect repellent

  • Loo roll

Useful websites

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© 2015 Robert Beeton


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