Handy Hints for Festival Goers
Whether you are new to the festival scene this year or a seasoned professional that forgets those same essentials year in year out, we hope the following guide will help you out along the way.
Once inside the arena, strict regulations will be in place, particularly surrounding the sale of alcohol. Even if you are over 18 make sure you take some form of ID with you, as bar staff will frequently challenge everyone to be safe.
Having lost a phone or two inside festival arenas we would recommend that you leave all valuable belongings safe at home. Once you enter the arena, chances are you will be surrounded by thousands of people, so if you lose your phone, camera or MP3 player, your chances of being reunited are pretty slim.
Parking, Food and Camping
Whilst we may like to think we have perfected the art of last minute packing, such a belief can leave one standing stranded in a muddy field with a pair of broken flip flops, longing for a toothbrush and a clean pair of pants. For this reason we have attempted to put together some top packing tips along with a check list or two of essential items to help you along the way.
If you are going to be camping at this year's festival, the most important things to get hold of are a tent and sleeping bag. For those of you that aren't too keen on sleeping on the floor, you may want to consider taking a self-inflating matt or blow up bed. A number of campsites will have a stall that will charge to blow up an air bed, or you can take along a pump of your own. For reasonably priced camping equipment and accessories we recommend Yeomans Outdoors.
If you are a first timer when it comes to camping, it's worth attempting to put up your tent in advance, as when the wind blows away your instructions and you can't determine your tent from your ground sheet, things can get a little tricky. For the more experienced camper, check out all of your equipment before you leave; we've been the people trying to round-up enough tent pegs to put up a 10 man tent in the past, and we wouldn't recommend it.
Essentials Check-List: Tent and Sleeping Bag
Whether you plan to cook up a deluxe dinner by night or just a cup of tea in the morning you will need some cooking equipment to help you out. While disposal BBQs may seem like an obvious choice, these are prohibited at a number of festivals so make sure you check out festival restrictions in advance. On the whole camping stoves still seem to have the seal of approval from festival organisers/local authorise and are great for cooking all kinds of meals. If you decide to buy a camping stove make sure you have enough gas for the weekend. Once all cooking equipment has been purchased don't forget to take something to cook in, as well as plates and cutlery (preferably disposable). It is also worth noting that while your pots and pans from home may do the trick, a weekend of cooking fry ups with limited washing up facilities may leave them slightly worse for wear.
Essentials Check-List: Camping Stove, Mess Tins, Cutlery, Plates , Collapsible Water Carrier
The unpredictability of the Great British summer makes preparing for a festival all the more exciting. If you are stood in your room packing and wondering 'Do I really need to take waterproofs, sunglasses, wellies and suncream?' the answer is probably yes. While it will significantly increase the weight of you bag, try and be prepared for every eventuality.
Essentials Check-List: Underwear, Wellies, Sunglasses, Waterproof, (Day Wear i.e. T-Shirts, Shorts, Jeans, Hoodie), remember to put your clothes in a plastic bag inside the rucksack
While we have learnt to embrace a weekend away from the shower with a can of dry shampoo and a packet of baby wipes, we realise that this is not for everyone. That said, even those of you that make your way into the shower queues should take as few toiletries as possible. One must have for the weekend is sun cream. Whether or not you may think it's particularly hot, being in the sun all weekend can still leave you with rosy cheeks. For those of you that are likely to have a drink or two it may also be worth taking along some painkillers...just in case.
Essentials Check-List: Sun Cream, Baby Wipes, Toilet Roll.
Food and Drinks:
While we won't give you a list of all the things you should eat and drink over the course of your weekend, we recommend that you take plenty of water and enough food to last you the duration of the festival. When making your visit to the supermarket its worth taking along a shopping list of planned meals, otherwise you are likely to end up with either too much or too little food. Tinned foods and non-perishables are ideal. When taking alcohol make sure you check site restrictions in advance.
Essentials Check-List: Water and....Food
As demonstrated above, even if you take only the bare essentials along to a festival, you are still going to have a considerable amount of luggage. Think in advance about how you plan to get your belongings from car to camp site (as this can sometimes be a fairly lengthy journey). Fold up trolleys, wheelbarrows and hiking rucksacks seem to be the best move as suitcases don't move all that far in the grass. Some festivals offer a service whereby you can borrow a wheel barrow to ship around your belongings; this is definitely something worth looking into, albeit a rather costly option.
The Build Up:
In the build up to the festival the line up will be slowly released. Keep your eyes on our festival pages for line-ups, running orders and clash finders. If you are short on cash this year, try and note down running orders in advance as programmes at festivals can be quite pricey.
If you (like us) are overly excited for this years festivals, why not join a forum to get to know your fellow festival goers. Forums can be a great place to get information and top tips, for new and old timers alike.
Arriving at the Festival: If you are travelling by car we suggest that you note down where you have parked; that way you will be able to find your way back on Monday morning.
When you arrive, make sure you have your ticket to hand as this will be needed for entry to the site and is likely to be exchanged for a wristband that will gain you access to the campsite and arena for the remainder of the festival.
While no spot will ever be perfect, there are a few things to take into consideration when pitching up your tent; don't set up too closely to the toilets, the smell will get worse, camping on a hill can make sleeping at night interesting, likewise avoid pitching in a dip as if it rains you could wake up in a lake, and if there is loads of space around you when you set up, the likelihood is that this space will get filled. Once your tent is pitched try and remember the vague location it is in before you go exploring - lots of people have flags which can be pretty helpful landmarks along with toilets, showers and security towers.
Once you have decided on the festival for you, make sure you buy your tickets from a reputable website or ticket agency. There's nothing worse than having to leave a friend at home whilst you have a fantastic festival weekend because they made a snap decision and purchased their tickets through an unknown source.
Some of the major festivals now sell out of tickets in just a few hours, so being organised will increase your likelihood of getting there. If you are planning to attend one of the major music festivals this year we have tried to increase your chances via the buy tickets button on the individual festival pages. Simply find the page for the festival you are hoping to attend, and click buy tickets, which will provide you with links for a variety of approved ticket agencies. Five minutes before the tickets are due to go on sale, open up all of the browsers and keep clicking that refresh button until you sneak your way into the queue.
Festival tickets can also be purchased via phone and sometimes local shops (Reading and Leeds festivals sell tickets via HMV stores), so it might be worth an early start to get in the queue. Don't be caught out by the additional booking fee and postage charges, if you start getting angry with the person at the end of the phone they can all too easily hang up!
Unfortunately, luck will play a huge part in bagging a ticket to the likes of Glastonbury, V, and T in the Park so keep your fingers crossed, don't walk under any ladders and always carry a four leafed clover.
When you get round to purchasing your festival tickets, the likelihood is that it will be well in advance of the event. Some booking agents will supply you with a unique reference number, be sure to note this down in a safe place that you will remember when it comes round to the time of the festival.
It goes without saying that there are numerous ways to get yourself to a festival; car, train and coach being the most obvious.
A number of festivals offer 'coach tickets' including both the price of your ticket and transportation. Whilst the coach will drop you off at an ideal location, take a look into where it will be starting out, as this may not necessarily be all that close to you. If the 'coach ticket' pick-up point is a little way out, look into alternative coach companies as a cheap method of transportation.
Trains (on the whole), are a reliable and comfortable way to travel. If you are feeling organised you are likely to save a great deal through ordering in advance, just be sure to find out how far the site is from the station and whether the festival offers a shuttle bus, as unnecessary taxi fares may significantly hike up your costs.
When travelling to the festival by car, make sure you get hold of a parking ticket well in advance and don't forget to take into consideration the amount of room needed per person for camping gear, food and drink. Before you set out on your journey make sure you check back on the relevant to get yourself a map and directions. If travelling by car be prepared for heavy traffic on both entry and exit to the site, particularly when leaving the car parks of the major festivals.
For those of you who like to keep your cars looking shiny and new, think carefully about this option before driving your car through a water-logged mud basin.
There are numerous festivals taking place across the UK every month showcasing some of the very best music, comedy, food, dance, and theatre around. If you feel like trying out something a little different this year, why not take a look at our and see if anything takes your fancy. Some festival organisers are so happy to pull in the masses, they'll even let you in for free!
Once you've got hold of your tickets there's lots to think about regardless of whether you get yourself organised from the word go, or simply attempt to pull everything together at the last minute.
When you wake up on Monday, chances are you will be overwhelmed by the urge to leave everything behind. Resist, pack up, and get home for a shower. While we're not here to lecture you, be careful how much you drink on your final night at the festival if you are driving home the next morning.