The sure signs of a British summer are starting to arrive, the evenings are getting longer, the beer gardens fuller and most importantly the tickets for this years festivals are starting to go on sale – and selling fast. One of the reasons the festival market is so joyous is because it caters to all tastes, whether you are a fervent folky, grime or electronica fan you will find something to fit the bill this summer.
Yet regardless of the range of taste, there are some common problems that will affect all festival goers this year. These can be easily remedied if the right precautions are made. So in order to ensure that you have an entirely stress-free experience, we have compiled a list of some essential tips to keep things running smoothly.
Make your tent your own.
Amid scenes of thousands of tends you are going to struggle to spot a standard green canvas jobbie. More is more when it comes to festivals, so do not be afraid to make sure yours stands out. Make the guide ropes multicoloured, cover it in stickers or go the whole hog and get yourself a flag pole – anything to make it stand out! You will thank yourself for this a thousand times over as you stumble back from a long day of dancing.
Sleep is like currency.
Planning your 40 winks may not seem very ‘on-brand’ with the festival lifestyle but if you are doing a festival for a number of days then you are going to need to keep your energy up. To ensure you get at least a few hours, plan ahead and make sure you pack ear plugs and a pillowcase (you can stuff it with unused clothes).
Most importantly, always buy a bigger tent than you think you will need. Skimping on size will very quickly come back to bite you when it starts to rain and you need to store all your gear inside or when your discover that tentmate is a ‘starfisher’. If you are tight on budget, you can look at renting large tents on peer-to-peer rental sites like Fat Lama – you could even get a campervan if you really wanted to treat yourself.
We all know what a British summer is capable of, so come prepared and bring a dry bag. Yes a bin bag will do for most things, but if you want to keep your valuables and your spare underwear safe and dry you are much better off investing in a dry bag. You can get these for under £10 from camping shops which is a small price to pay compared to a water damaged phone!
Hoard Your Water Bottle Lids.
It might provoke some questioning glances, but for the last few weeks before you set off you would do well to stash any water bottle lids you use. These will come in handy if when, inevitably, you are caught out by the festival vendor’s trick of binning the lids when they sell you water. Being left with the choice of downing your water or carrying it around (steadily) getting warm is annoying to say the least. So beat the system and bring your own. Your hangover will thank you.
Is there such a thing? Undoubtedly the porterloos and lack of showers somewhat compromise the usual standards, but bringing a long a few key items will definitely make sure you remain ‘festival clean’. The obvious choice are baby wipes (your new shower) and dry shampoo (just spray it on everything) but you should ensure you remember hand sanitizer as well – if you ever want to eat again after you have seen the loos..
Fashionable and Pragmatic?
Not two words that often go together, but in the festival world there is a certain attitude of anything goes. Two essential accessories that will see you through the festival here, the first is a bumbag, accepted because it leaves your hands free for dancing, eating, drinking and general frolicking, whilst keeping your possessions safe. The second a head torch, if you ever wish to find your tent again. Bonus tip, put it in a plastic milk bottle for a DIY lightbulb in your tent.
Festivals are times to forget your smartphone and embrace the old school. However good a festival is you will leave with tarnished memories if you lose expensive kit, so just don’t risk it and bring a ‘brick’ phone. The same applies if you want to take photos, disposable cameras are best.
Duct Tape is Your Insurance Policy.
At festivals your most valuable item is the one that is most at risk of damage – your tent. Tripping over a guide rope, broken poles and rips can all usually be salvaged by some well places duct tape. The same is true of broken wellies, jackets and noisy tent mates (just kidding). Bonus Tip: If you are short on space, leave the whole roll at home and wrap a supply around a water bottle.
Your Festival Larder.
It’s easy to eat all your meals at a festival in the food stalls, but as these are rarely cheap its good to pack a few essentials as well. Focus on what cooking equipment you can take, cook as a group to spread the burden and make sure you get at least one square meal a day. Bonus tip, bring some fruit and cereal, you’ll will appreciate it when the novelty of a 100% chip based diet wears off.
Seeing the Music.
If you take nothing else from this article remember this, you are there to see the music so DO NOT waste your time lingering at the back or tackling the crowd head on. As, any experienced festival goer knows, the fastest way to the front is to walk down the side of the crowd and then duck in toward the centre as you near the front. To manage a festival crowd you need the tactics of medieval general – its best to try and out flank the crowd rather than beating against it.