From the waterlogged fields of Leeds festival, all the way to the posh bogs of Glastonbury, I have been there, seen it all and literally have a wardrobe full of t-shirts to prove it. So if you’re looking to survive your first festival, read on; these tips from a festival expert will transform you from a mud-stained zombie into the Bear Grylls of the party scene. The ‘Bear Thrills’, if you will.
The rest of the survival guide will be better than that joke.
Anyway, on to step one…
Buying Your Tent
The first thing on anyone’s shopping list when going to a festival is your tent. This is going to be your home for the next few days so it’s important to get it right. I would avoid the cheap pop-up tents that you can get for around £15-£25. They’re OK for storage but only small and if the heavens decide to open, you will almost certainly find yourself waking up in a puddle and nobody wants that. Plus, they might be easy to set up but trying to fit them back in the bag with a hangover is enough to put anyone off camping ever again.
Comfort is key when camping so I recommend shelling out a bit extra when it comes to buying the tent. Invest in one with enough room to stand up and a separate area for storing your muddy boots and wet clothes. As long as you do the right thing and take your tent home with you, you’ll be using it year after year, so it won’t be too expensive in the long run.
Setting Up Camp
Make sure to research the different camp sites of your festival before you get there. Some are party camps and some are family friendly or for those who want to get a good night’s sleep.
If you’re going with mates, you’re going to want to get there early so you can pick out a spot for your crew and get a communal area going in the middle. Put down spare ground sheets if you’re saving a space for any late comers.
Bring extra tent pegs and a rubber mallet. Those little buggers are always going missing. Speaking of going missing, trying to locate your tent at night after a few too many ciders can be quite the challenge. If possible, try and get a distinctive looking tent or a flag that can be seen across the campsite.
If I was cool, I would say that the only rule when it comes to festival fashion is that there are no rules. However, I stand by a few ‘guidelines’ that have saved me on many occasions.
Guideline 1: Boots not Wellies.
I would take a sturdy pair of walking boots over wellies any day of the week. You’re going to be on your feet all day and I don’t think there’s a less comfortable item of clothing than the Wellington boot. Sure, a pair of pink, glittery wellies might look cool and snazzy but you’ll be dying to take them off when they start rubbing the back of your legs after an hour.
Guideline 2: Bum Bags will Save your Life
Chances are you’re going to be showing off a brand-new neon one-piece and whilst you’re sure to look amazing, one thing that you’re lacking is pockets. This is where the bum bags come in. Not only are they lightweight and practical, you can also find some really cool ones on the market these days that will provide the finishing touches to your outfit.
Guideline 3: Let Loose.
OK, so here’s the, “THERE ARE NO RULES” moment. Festivals are your chance to absolutely go mad with your outfits. The social norms of everyday life are gone and finally you can completely let loose with the knowledge that you won’t be judged for your choice of clothing. If only every day were a festival.
At this point, I would like to do some shameless self promotion. You can check out our festival range by clicking the link here. In fairness, we do have some absolute killer designs this year so get them whilst they’re still hot!
Shameless self promotion over, on to the next point.
The Dreaded Toilet Situation
For a first timer, the idea of festival toilets is the most anxiety inducing thought before you set off for the fields; we’ve all heard the horror stories that have been passed down through the ages. However, as long as you know what you’re doing and where to go, it really isn’t THAT bad.
When it comes down to it, the main thing to remember is timing. Go early whilst the loos are still relatively clean. The toilets in the campsites tend to be much grosser than the ones near the stages so the earlier you can get in, the more pleasant your experience will be.
If you’re especially queasy at the thought of festival loos, you can even avoid them 90% of the time. With such wonderful inventions as the “SheWee” you can stay clear of the long queues and go to the loo in the privacy of your own tent.
Festival portaloos are notorious for never having enough toilet roll. I recommend keeping a roll in your bum-bag at all times for when nature calls. The same applies for hand sanitiser.
Food & Drink
Festival food has a reputation for being very expensive and not that great. That however is not always the case. In fact, some of the best street food I have ever had has been from festivals. I recommend scoping out all the food stalls before you decide on what to eat. Spy on other people’s food and go for something that is making you jealous.
At the campsite, it’s important to eat well as you’re going to be on your feet all day. Cereal bars are great for this as they’re only small but pack a load of energy and will keep you boogying until the early hours. Equally be sure to stock up on trail-mix to snack on throughout the day.
It is so important to keep hydrated, especially when the sun is out. Keep a bottle of water on you at all times. There are re-fill points to top yourself up when you’re running low. You wouldn’t believe how many people ruin their weekends through dehydration.
When you arrive at your festival, the first thing you should do once you have set up camp is work out where your nearest medical tent is. Whether it’s sunstroke or the effects of drinking too much, we all know someone who has overdone it from a day of partying. It’s always better to be safe than sorry so make sure to help out your mates if they take a turn for the worse. You’d want them to do the same for you.
There are also plenty of stewards marshaling the festivals that can easily be found in case of an emergency.
The worst part of any festival comes when slogging your bag across a mile and a half of campsite, whilst looking for the perfect spot. Because of this, it’s important to pack light and pack smart. Here is a list of the essential items that you will need:
- Festival ticket (obviously)
- Cash – about £200 will usually suffice for a 3 day festival
- Debit cards – just for emergencies. Keep at the bottom of your bag.
- Sleeping Bag
- Toilet roll
- Hand sanitizer
- Plasters – if you insist on wearing wellies
- Baby wipes
- Sweets and chocolate
- Cereal bars
- Waterproof coat
- Travel towel
- Duct tape – for any tent mishaps
- Spare tent pegs
- Bin bags – for all your mucky gear
- Spare change of clothes for the way home