Survival tips for festival first-timers

So you’re heading to your first festival. You know what bands you want to see. And thanks to seeing TV footage, reading around and speaking to friends, you have a vague idea of what a festival weekend is all about. Oh, and you know you have to take wellies.

But being a festival virgin, you’re missing one thing – the all-important practical info that no one ever thinks to tell you about. Until now anyway. Following are some tips that will help you keep the focus on having a good time.

Camping gear? Check!

Transport

If you’re someone who likes to travel light, take a bus or preferably a train. Sitting in a car for hours … stuck in a field … in a long traffic jam waiting to exit a site … on the day after a festival finishes … desperate to shower and sleep … is … no … fun!

On the flipside, if you’re one of those people who needs a change of outfit everyday, a nice chair to sit in and a giant inflatable mattress to sleep on, make sure you’re a part of a group of friends sharing a car. Because there’s no way you’ll be able to haul all that gear to your camping spot in one go. Though it’d be entertaining to see you try.

A sea of tents - festival heaven

Camping

If possible check a few message boards ahead of the festival to see where people like to camp. Larger festivals like Glastonbury (not on this year, due to the Olympics) and Reading (August 24-26) have camp sites with differing vibes; needless to say, it’s useful to set up your temporary home in the right place. It would be a nightmare to be in the hedonism zone if you like catching your ZZZ’s. And you’ll be the nightmare if you’re the hedonist in the zone where people want their sleep.

Bring a tent that’s supposed to fit at least one more person than you need it to fit – the number never takes into account the space you’ll need for stuff you’ll be bringing along.

Pitch it a little bit away from the path but not in the middle of the field. No one wants to live next to tons of traffic. Likewise, no one wants to negotiate endless ropes whenever heading to and from their tent.

Lastly, make friends with your neighbours. Not only is meeting new people part of the experience, but they’ll also keep an eye on your stuff when you’re away from your tent.

A far cry from Pot Noodle

Eating

Unless your regular diet consists of reheated canned food, leave the gas stove at home – carrying the kit and the washing up is more effort than it’s worth. While expensive, festival food is generally good. In some cases, it can be really great.

Don't forget earplugs - you have to sleep sometime!

Earplugs

No matter how hard you party, you will need to sleep at some point. Having a pair of earplugs handy gives you at least half a chance.

Forget about a shower but brushing your teeth? Never!

Hygiene

Forget showers … festivals are about roughing it a little. All you need is toothpaste, a toothbrush, some soap and some wet wipes for freshening up and removing make-up.

Keep your money safe!

Valuables

You also need plenty of cash and your phone at a festival. Unfortunately there’ll be other festival-goers looking to get their hands on them. Do your best to spread your money around your tent. Stuff it into socks, down the back of your bag, underneath your beer. Just do it sober, so you don’t forget. Car keys are best kept at the left luggage point (if you’ve got a spare set give them to a friend to keep safe).

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

(Images: Steve’s Wildlife, martin_thomas, stewdean, dimsimkitty, tupwanders, squeakymarmot, singaporeaninlondon)