Sunday, 28 June 2015

How to survive Festival Season 2015

Hello again World,

It's been a while, but to say life got a bit mad is an understatement. But, with summer finally making its way over, I've found myself dreaming of long nights spent on the beach and weekends spent in fields soaking up the Festival atmosphere, cider in one hand and the other raised in the air or wrapped around a friend as we sing a long to our favourite bands.

Festival season is my favourite time of year (aside from Christmas and my birthday, because presents, duh), as it's a time when I get to spend many a weekend away from 'the real world' and surrounded by those I don't often see due to life commitments.

I'd like to call myself a bit of a Festival expert now, having attended the likes of Reading, 2000 Trees, Bestival and many others since the ripe old age of 18 (that's six years FYI). I've attended both as a paying customer and for work purposes and although Festivals vary in style, size and atmosphere I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.

So, without further or do (that's an odd saying isn't it?) here's my guide to surviving Festivals this summer.


Step One: Choose your Festival + know your crowd

If like me, the thought of going on a lads/girls holiday to Zante or Magaluf sends a shiver up your spine, you're probably going to want to avoid V Festival, Parklife and the like. I went to WILD LIFE festival recently and although (most) of the music was great, the crowd and general atmosphere was just not for me.

Bigger isn't always necessarily better either. I love Reading Festival, don't get me wrong, but my favourite UK Festival will always be 2000 Trees. It's a 5,000 capacity music paradise set in the Gloucestershire countryside. The line-up alone makes me gooey-eyed every year, but add to that the warm, friendly atmosphere, superb food & drink and the fact you can get from main stage to tent in under fifteen minutes makes it a winner for me.

So make sure you shop around for what suits you best. For family friendly, try Blissfields or Camp Bestival. For the hottest new acts check out Barn on the Farm, Green Man or Festival No.6. There's a Festival out there for every type of person, you've just gotta find the right one.


Step Two: Tents and Camping

  • Double skin, always. (Not that kind you filthy buggers). Always make sure you buy a double skinned tent. This is Britian, it will rain and a single skin tent won't last five minutes in a downpour and everything inside will get soaked. Double skins are a little more difficult to erect, (I'm really not helping myself here am I?) but the extra effort will pay off when you're dry and snug while your mates are ringing out their sleeping bags and shivering in their damp clothes. 
  • Bring a pillow. Your neck will definitely thank you for it and no, using your backpack instead is not a good idea. 
  • Rollmats. Because sleeping on the ground for three days is going to leave your back in agony. Double up for extra cushiony comfort. 
  • Location is important. Don't be that guy who pitches their tent as close to the arena as possible, right on the walkway. Unless you don't actually plan on getting any sleep. Find a spot big enough for you and all your mates to camp together that is close enough to the toilets for the morning dash, but that is far enough away so your not getting a waft of toilet for the entire weekend. 

Step Three: What to pack

Remember you're there for a weekend, not a fortnight, keep it simple. 
  • Pair of jeans / one dress / 2-3 tops or vests
  • Warm layers for the evening i.e jumpers/cardigans - you WILL need these
  • Leggings/Trackies and a tshirt to sleep in. A baggy band tee will be ideal for this, but make sure you do change into different clothes to sleep in otherwise you'll struggle to keep warm overnight. 
  • Wooly hat. Because believe it or not, it's actually really cold at night when you're sleeping outside and a wooly hat will keep your head all snuggly and warm. 
  • A pair of boots or wellies. Personally I prefer my Doc Marten boots, just make sure they're waterproof and you don't mind them getting dirty. Also, don't wear wellies if it's 25 degrees just because of 'Festival fasion', your feet will melt. 
  • A pair of trainers. Again, ones you don't mind getting a bit dirty. You're going to be on your feet for a LONG time, make sure your footwear is comfortable and leave the sandals at home. 
  • A coat, or at least one of those really attractive pac-a-mac things because nobody likes to be soggy. 
Wash kit
  • Babywipes and dry shampoo will be your best friends. 
  • Packet tissues, because loo roll is like gold. 
  • Suncream. You'll be outside 90% of the time so protect yo'self!
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste. (Also pack an old plastic cup to wash your mouth out after)
  • Plasters. Because wellies give you blisters worthy of Satan. 
  • Paracetamol & berrocca. Because hangovers. 
  • Tampons/Sanitary Towels. You never know when that bitch is going to appear. 
  • Condoms. In case you really do fancy some awkward, sweaty tent fun. 
  • Moisturiser. Preferably one with SPF in it to keep your face feeling fresh all weekend. 
  • Hand sanitiser. Everything you touch will be dirty, so keep this on you at all times. Wash your hands where possible as often as you can. 
  • Hair bands, clips etc. You'll need these come day three and your hair is looking a little worse for wear. 
  • Deoderant. You're not washing for three days, you're going to smell. 
Food & Drink
I know some people that will bring a weeks worth of food shopping with them to Festivals, and then I know people that bring nothing and spend a ridiculous amount of money on food at the Festival. These are both terrible ideas. 
  • Water. Water, water, water. Drink lots of water. Bring with you a 2L bottle (or two if you can carry them) and keep them full over the weekend. You'll get dehydrated and alcohol will only make it worse. 
  • Cereal bars, crisps, small snacks. Chuck them in your bag during the day and they'll keep your tummy happy until dinner time. 
  • Save approximately £8 a day for a hot meal in the evenings. Festival food is expensive but you owe yourself at least one good meal a day to keep you going. 
  • Breakfast. Personally, if I don't eat in the mornings I feel really sick so I buy a multipack of juice boxes and some tear & share brioche to munch on while my friends and I go over the events that happened the night before. 
  • Alcohol. Duh. Most Festivals don't allow glass so stock up on hip flasks or decant your spirits into plastic bottles. 
This should really be all you need, forget trying to cook a can of smartprice baked beans or a pot noodle. Ain't nobody got time for that. 


Step Four: Essential Tips
  • Portable charger. It's 2015 for christ's sake, why don't you already have one?
  • Don't spend the whole time at your campsite drinking. You paid a lot of money to be here, go explore and discover some new music!
  • Don't go too mad. I'm not one to judge, but if you shove enough drugs up your nose and drink an entire crate in one evening, you're probably going to make a complete tit of yourself and forget everything you saw that day. What's the point? 
  • Don't hold your poop in. I know the toilets are gross but just try not too look. Your stomach will hate you if you try and keep it all in.  
  • Head to clashfinder and print off a timetable before you go, that way you don't have to pay a tenner for a lanyard and you can make a rough plan of what bands you can see. 
  • Bring enough cash with you, but not too much. The average cost of a full Festival weekend is £200, but you can totally do it cheaper than that. £100 is a comfortable number, although to be honest I usually survive on about £60. Don't bring anything more than £200, because if you lose that you'll kick yourself. Remember to always keep it on you in a safe place, which isn't easy for thieves to get to, because unfortunately yes there are people out there to knick your stuff at Festivals. 
  • Finally, have fun. Don't plan your days down to the minute, embrace the atmosphere and do some exploring, there's always something going on to enjoy. Forget about work and make the most of your weekend away! 

And that's it! Your guide to surviving Festivals this summer, if you have any other tips throw them my way and if you're at 2000 Trees or Reading this year come say hello! 

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