For those of you that have been following me for quite some time, you will already know that I am a true festival junkie. I have been to my fair share in the last 5 years. I may have gone a bit crazy in my first year of festivals and gone to 12… – My pockets were empty by the end of it but it was totally worth it! –
With Reading festival just around the corner, I can’t begin to tell you how EXCITED I am about going *fangirl squeal*. There are so many bands, artists and DJs that I want to see! I just have to share the line-up.
- To make those of you joining me there as excited as I am.
- To make the rest of you jealous! – Sorry, not sorry. –
As a seasoned festival-goer, I have put it upon myself to give the rookies, the virgins – and even the veterans – of the festival scene my experience and knowledge. And so, this post is for you, so you don’t forget the essentials and are fully prepared for your weekend away from reality, whether it’s down the road or abroad.
You can thank me when you come out the other side!
So, you finally managed to get your tickets, herd a group of friends together and arrange travel to and from the madness. Well done! The first steps are over and you can now move on to prepping for an intense – no pun intended – few days of roughing it up, drinking, dancing and chowing down on some incredible festival grub in the woods/open fields/beach or wherever it may be.
Your Essentials Checklist.
First things first, you need to know what important things to bring with you besides the obvious like sleeping bags and pillows. – But sometimes people do forget! – The list below should give you a rough idea of what NOT to leave behind!
- TICKETS – duh! –
- WATER and lots of it!
- SUN SCREEN – I like to bring a small squeeze bottle to take with me in my bum bag –
- PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER
- TRAVEL JOHNS – You’ll thank me later, trust me. – Nobody likes to get up in the middle of the night and dance their way through a tent string assault course of death to go for a pee.
- PACK-A-PARKA make sure you buy this waterproofing solution and wash your parka in it to make it waterproof! it’s really handy. Yes, sometimes your waterproofs just aren’t quite waterproof.
- BABY WIPES – for that fresh festival wash in the morning, yum. –
- DRY SHAMPOO
- FLAT PACK WATER BOTTLE (a bit like this one from Vapur.)
- TOTEM OR FLAG for marking. It’s a great way to find your pals in the masses. Consider one for your tents too!
- WELLIES & COMFY SHOES! – I cannot stress this enough. – You will be walking and dancing ALL day & night. comfort is everything.
- SOCKS, socks, and more socks! If it’s wet outside and water gets in your wellies you will wanna be changing or wearing double to keep those toes nice and toasty.
- BUMBAG (or FannyPack as they say in the US). So you can have all your valuables, money and extra bits in a safe place and still dance comfortably.
Please for goodness sake, do not pack a suitcase… Take a back pack. You do not wanna drag that thing through the mud! And you might look a bit of a plonker, so take my advice *winks*
Festival Food & Drink
Festival food is actually really good – unless you go to Creamfields… I paid £8 for a sweet & sour chicken and was served chicken nuggets with sweet chilli sauce! Not impressed. – There are plenty of pop up food vendors with really great quality grub these days *COUGHexceptCreamfieldsCOUGH* and you are always spoilt for choice. Foods from all over the world like Spanish paella, Indian or Thai street food or even just your local favourites like hog roast, or the very popular cheesy chips!
Now if you are a student, or just trying to save money, cos festival food – if you are eating from the good quality vendors – can range from £7 to £9.50 and that’s a lot of money to spend 3 times a day and let’s face it we all know most of us would rather spend that on booze! Depending on the stalls you pick, you can find some pretty cheap places to get food from or just be savvy with your spending. In the past we have also brought our own food and drink to save on costs, so definitely think about that if you are driving to the festival. – Just be aware that you have to carry it all in once you get there. –
Most festivals do not allow you to bring alcohol (or liquids of any form) into the main area so you are forced to buy their overpriced, not cocktail-cocktails, spirits with mixer and let them rob you blind of all your cash. One of the only exceptions I know of is Glastonbury. Glasto allows you to bring in alcohol from outside the festival – as much as you can dare to carry in with you – as long as it’s not in a glass bottle. Other camping festivals will allow a limited amount of alcohol in cans and plastic bottles into the campsites only. If you’re clever, there are ways to smuggle drink in to the main festival area, if you must.
Toilets and Hygiene
If you have not been broken into the washing ways of a festival then some of you might be in for quite a treat! Once you have been to a few you usually just get down and dirty with the rest of us and rough it out for the weekend making sure that the important places are fresh and clean. – I’ve heard that letting your hair get oily is supposed to be good for it anyway…Right? – But if you really are not that kind of person and need your super soft locks to be pristine all weekend then there usually are shower areas you can go to somewhere in the campsite. There’s even pop up hair dressers too for the ladies that need a hair straighter or a blow dry. VIP areas almost always have all these facilities and luxuries available to the people that are willing to pay extra for them.
The toilets…. There is no subtle way for me to tell you that festival toilets are disgusting. – The porta-loos anyway. – They only tend to be decent first thing in the morning when they have been cleaned but once that morning rush has gone by they are totally disgusting again. Make sure you always have an anti-bacterial hand gel with you at all times!
At some festivals there are Eco-Friendly toilets which I love the idea of but they are a bit airy… Although, I appreciate the clean breeze over the air constricting conditions of a porta-loo I must admit.
Lastly, please make sure you lock the door behind you! More than once I have been caught out, – or caught in – the toilet hovering over the seat with my shorts down for all the festival to see! And more importantly, if you are wearing a jumpsuit or costume of some kind that zips all the way up, you will be BARE – ASS – NAKED my friend…. So LOCK that door!!
Keeping Together/In contact
Logistics is the next important factor when going to a festival with a big group of people. You need to plan,because you guys will inevitably lose each other one way or another. People have different music tastes and favourite bands/artists/DJs they want to see, so make a meet up spot that you all recognise and have a clear and specific description.
When you all plan to be there at a certain time, be there! Respect the the time you all agreed, be punctual and don’t keep your friends waiting. – And if you aren’t gonna turn up let them know before hand. People have places to be too! –
For example: Meet right in front of the BLUE ROBOT DANCE OFF STAGE directly under the sign.
Or under the GIANT BASIL BRUSH FOX.
When you are texting your pals, make sure you put the time you sent it, in the text. Signal is crap when at festivals and sometimes messages don’t get through straight away, so avoid confusing your friends by making them think you are somewhere you were hours ago.
A festival is probably one of my favourite places to meet people and make new friends. In fact, the majority of our friendship circle are people we either met abroad or at a festival. We have made life long companions with some of the most interesting, open and honest people!
We have all experienced low signal at a festival, so trying to connect with someone on Facebook or some other social platform can be pretty frustrating. Or sometimes you get the signal but can’t find the person you are looking for due to similar account names and no previous connections or mutual friends with that person. – I mean it can really be a mood killer, and such a waste of valuable conversation time having to search on social media for someone you’ve just met! – It’s just a pain in the butt.
Luckily there is a solution! And it’s called FLIKIT (click link and head over to the website to find out more about this awesome app). – You don’t even need any signal to use it! It’s GENUIS – It’s a very handy and innovative mobile app that has just been released on app stores around the world. – Available on iOS and will soon be for Android! – Check it out on the iTunes app store here.
You will never miss a connection again! You won’t regret it, download it now! IT’S FREE!
So there you have it, there will be updates to come but I hope what you have read so far has given you the basic know how or recap on all things festival! Enjoy the summer, drink lots of water, make friends, dance lots, respect the planet and use the bins, and above all have fun!