Music festivals are one of the best ways to spend a long summer weekend: good friends, good bands, and good times. What’s not to like?
Actually, quite a lot. A festival can quickly turn into a miserable experience if you’re not properly prepared. That’s why we’ve put together our top festival tips to make sure you’ll have a weekend to remember – for all the right reasons.
Check the weather…
Festivals are famous for their mud – in the UK, at least – but it’s no good just assuming it’s going to be wet, only to find yourself totally ill-equipped for a weekend of blazing sunshine. Check the weather regularly before you leave home so you know what to expect.
…and pack accordingly.
If it’s going to rain on your parade (er, festival) make sure you pack the requisite wellies and a good waterproof raincoat. Nothing will ruin your weekend like being soaked for the duration. You should also take a pair of hiking boots to help you get around when the mud turns sticky.
If it’s going to be dry, you need to prepare for dust. It will get everywhere. For many this is merely an annoyance, but anybody suffering with asthma or similar conditions should carry their inhaler with them at all times. You might also consider taking a face mask (which has the added bonus of protecting you from the pervasive stench of body odour).
Pitch your tent uphill
It’s worth arriving early on the first day of the festival to secure a good camping spot. Pitching uphill means you won’t end up sinking into a bog if the rain gets really bad. It might also stop other fluids running downhill and into your tent…
Take a roll of bin bags
Whatever the weather, the humble bin bag is central to so many festival hacks. You can load your possessions into one to keep them dry inside your tent, wear one as a makeshift raincoat in a pinch, and use them to keep your campsite nice and tidy.
Take wet wipes
Wet wipes are one of the most versatile festival items: freshen up your pungent armpits, clean mud from your phone screen, wipe down a toilet seat before use, clean your hands off before eating… carry them with you at all times and you won’t regret it.
Take sandwich bags
You probably won’t have a packed lunch with you at a festival, but re-sealable sandwich bags are an essential item for keeping your possessions safe and dry. At the first sight of rain, just seal your phone, money, and anything else important inside a bag and pocket it. Sorted.
Wear sun cream
Standing in an open field for hours on end is the perfect way to get sun burn. Beside that being bad for your health, it can also make the rest of the weekend utterly miserable. Even if the weather forecast is for rain, wear sun cream (preferably factor 30 and above) just in case the cloud breaks.
Camp near a recognisable landmark
The field might be nice and empty when you arrive, but it’s soon going to fill up with near-identical tents. Setting up camp near an obvious landmark – like a path or a toilet block – will make it much easier to navigate home when you’re a little worse for wear. Remember, you need to be able to find it in the dark.
Carry a torch with you
A landmark is no good if you can’t see it. A pocket torch (or even better, a headlamp) will make finding your camp significantly easier. It’s also useful for going to the toilet in the night, or just for finding things inside your tent.
Don’t rely on your phone light – chances are you’re going to run out of battery at some point.
Pack a portable phone charger
Most festivals these days offer on-site charging points, but it’s not worth queuing for hours just to be able to update Instagram. Packing a portable travel charger means you can keep your phone alive without missing out on any fun.
Don’t do drugs
We’re not your parents, but there are so many reasons to avoid drugs at a festival. If you’re buying on site, you really have no idea what you’re getting. It’s incredibly easy to get separated from your mates and lost in the crowd. And if something does go wrong, you might be a long way from medical help.
This is one of our most important festival tips. It’s just not worth the risk.
Leave early or late
By the end of a festival you’ll be exhausted, filthy, and smell like the underside of a camel. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the inevitable bottleneck of people desperately trying to return to civilised society. Get up early to avoid the crush, or sleep in a while and wait until the masses have thinned out.
If all of the above sounds like a nightmare…
…consider staying in a hotel instead of camping. Yes, it’s not the complete festival experience. But if you just want to enjoy some bands without the deprivation, it’s worth spending a little more for a quiet, secure room and a clean, soft bed.