Festival-season is almost underway, and if you’re heading to your first festival this summer, then our guide to what to pack and how to actually enjoy the camping bit will prove indispensable.
Here’s how to party, eat and sleep surrounded by thousands of strangers, many of whom won’t have seen so much as a wetwipe in over 48 hours, and still have a good time.What Stuff Should I Take?
For the first-time festival-goer, it’s easy to pack far more than you need, while forgetting the things you’ll need most. Here’s a rundown of the essentials, which for a three-day event shouldn’t require more than a large backpack…
Two sets of clothing, including the one you’re wearing, an extra change of underwear and at least three pairs of socks. Aim for dark clothing that will hide stains, and ensure you have at least one thick top or hoodie as well as a waterproof jacket and hat.A torch – vital for getting into the right tent when it’s dark.
Comfortable trainers and, depending on where you’re going, a pair of wellie boots.
Your tent, more on that later, and comfortable bedding including an insulated sleeping bag and a pillow ( an empty pillowcase stuffed with clothes will be fine).
A washkit that should always contain bottled soap, deodorant, sun screen, painkillers, wet wipes and toilet roll – always, always bring your own toilet roll.Alcohol – of course not every festival allows you to bring in your own alcohol, instead wanting you to drink at the sponsored bars on-site which offer a limited choice. Even so, you can usually smuggle in at least a small amount of your own alcohol such as in a washed-out bottle of suncream.
Transportation – unless you’re glamping, then virtually every festival experience involves carrying your stuff around until you find a pitch, which can take a while. Seasoned festival-goers will bring either a wheelbarrow or a trolley.Logistics- Become a Festival Ninja
Perhaps the most important bit of advice you’ll ever be given for festivals is: remember where you pitch your tent. If all you know about yours is that “it’s blue, it’s quite small and it’s over there somewhere” (wave vaguely eastwards) then chances are you’ll never see your tent and everything in it again. Write down exactly where you’re pitched on a bit of paper that goes in your pocket, type it into your phone, and take a photo and email it to yourself so no matter how late the hour, no matter how wasted you are, you can always find your way back.
Point two in this regard is – never leave anything of value in your tent, ever. Because the unwritten law of festivals is that it will get stolen. In fact, try not to bring anything with you at all that it would bother you to lose.
Consider buying a cheap ‘dumbphone’, loading it up with credit and giving the number to your friends and parents. Not only does it prevent you losing your expensive smartphone but it also means you won’t spend the entire festival annoying people about it on Facebook and sharing your selfies on Instagram.Bring plenty of cash to avoid the need for long queues outside the cash machines, but distribute it in small amounts about your person and hiding places in your tent. That way if you do lose some, and let’s face it you almost certainly will, at least you won’t be wiped out.
You’ll usually receive a schedule of what bands are on when, and on which stage, so you can put together a rough itinerary for each day, but keep it loose. If you can circle just two must-catch performances every day, that leaves you a lot of flexibility for encountering new music or just wandering aimlessly around to immerse yourself in the festival vibe.
Festival Camping Advice
Tents – With ticket prices so steep, and the cost of alcohol to factor in, it can be tempting to skimp on your choice of tent. Bad move. Investing a little extra in a robust, waterproof can ensure you stay warm and dry even in the worst weather.When pitching your tent – if you’re not an experienced camper, be sure to allow yourself plenty of daylight hours to do it, and ask for help from friends or neighbours if you get stuck – this is the best way to meet new people early on. Never pitch your tent at the bottom of a hill in case it rains heavily, and if you want to be close to the toilet block, be sure to camp upwind!
Eating at Festivals – Festival food has got a lot better over the last 15 years to the point where you should have an abundance of choice available wherever you are. If you’re going as part of a group, and this is of course the best way to go to a festival, then you could also bring along a camping stove or some disposable barbecues, if they’re allowed. So at least you can have one filling meal every day before hitting up the beer tents.Toilets – Another aspect of festival life that has thankfully improved a lot in recent years is the toilet situation, but by day three it’s still going to be pretty rank wherever you are. The best advice we can give you here is: go as little as possible, bring plenty of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and hold your breath.