Since the first ever Glastonbury (technically the Pilton Pop, Blues and Folk Festival) in 1970, or Woodstock in America, music festivals have become an integral part of the summer. Each festival has its own character, but most involve camping for several days and nights in a field alongside thousands of other festival-goers.
Maintaining a carefree, sunny attitude despite the mud – or the state of the porto potties – is key to enjoying a festival, but a bit of preparation and forethought will go a long way too.
If you’ve organised a group of friends to attend a festival together, make sure everyone in the party has their own ticket and knows which car park to head for and which campsite to pitch in. Plan who will contribute what to food, drink and equipment so that you don’t end up with a month’s supply of baked beans but no tin opener.
Take a trolley or wheelbarrow with you to avoid making lots of trips from the car to the campsite.
Pitching your tent
Avoid areas of the campsite that are at the bottom of a hill, downwind from the bathrooms or on a main route to the festival arena. Create a social area by the tents where everyone can congregate and relax.
Hang something on your tent so that you can recognise it amongst the hundreds of others, and note any landmarks to help you find your way home in the dark.
Embrace the unique sense of community that music festivals create and make an effort to introduce yourself to neighbours. Be friendly to strangers and willing to share food, drink, sun cream, umbrellas and blankets.
The festival environment
Leave your patch of the campsite just as litter-free and nature-friendly as you discovered it. I always say leave a place better than you left it. Find a bin for everything, or hold onto it until you do, and try to recycle as much as possible. Stick to any rules prohibiting campfires, barbecues and fireworks.
Belongings and valuables
Label any bags with luggage tags so that they can be returned to you if found. Similarly, mark any valuables such as keys, phone and wallet with your phone or email in case you lose them. Some festivals have lockers available to hire for the weekend, which can double up as phone charging ports.
Eating plenty and staying hydrated will boost energy and mood, and help mitigate the effects of any alcohol. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and make sure they are kept well-fed and watered.
Most festivals offer a wide range of tempting food stalls, but bringing a few snacks and drinks will help you save money and avoid queues.
Avoid anything perishable or that needs to be kept cool – robust and portable snacks such as flapjacks, cereal bars, dried fruit, apples, crisps and nuts all work well.
Bring a reusable water bottle you can refill at taps for drinking, teeth-cleaning and washing.
Glass is usually prohibited, but cans are allowed in camping areas. Make sure you recycle.
- Festival ticket
- Cash and cards
- Sleeping mat
- Sleeping bag
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Hand sanitiser
- Bathroom paper
- Flip flops changes of clothes, socks and warm sweaters
- Bottle opener
- Torch / flash light
- Spare batteries
- Bags for rubbish or laundry
- Phone charger
- Plastic-backed rug
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