So you fancy trying your hand at a festival? Not been before? Here are some top tips from the experts:
First things first, find the right festival for you. If you're a beard stroking indie kid, you don't want to find yourself at a three day weekend packed with hard core dance heads; do your research. There's loads of festivals to choose from, from the majors which are splashed all over the news to the more quirky up and coming ones, check out a few reviews on our site to see which one will be best for you. Look at their website, and check the line up, a good festival isn’t just about the line up but, its pretty important.
Once you've found the right one, get your ticket in advance. A lot of festivals, especially the majors, sell out really quickly, so don’t hang about, get them early. If you miss out though, there are a number of reliable and reputable secondary ticket markets you can buy your tickets from. Don't buy from ticket touts at the festivals, you will most likely get ripped off and possibly not even get into the event.
What to take to the festival
So you've chosen the festival, got your ticket and you're almost set to go. But what do you bring? Here are the things we don’t leave the house without:
- Backpack –To carry all your essential gear to the event.
- Day pack – To carry stuff that wont fit in your pocket.
- Tent – Give it a quick check over before you go, make sure it’s in good condition since the last time you used it.
- Sleeping Bag and roll mat.
- Clothing – Don’t bring anything too nice, it will probably get wrecked. Pack comfortable shoes and sensible clothing that will get you through the days, as well as warm clothing for nights.
- Wellies, sunglasses and sun cream – Prepare for the extremes especially if you're heading to a UK festival. No matter what the forecast says, you never quite know whether there might be a heatwave or a thunderstorm, prepare for the best and worst.
- Mobile Phone – Festivals are usually very crowded, you're bound to get lost. Spare phone batteries are useful too. The last thing you want to do is be sitting by a plug, charging your phone while you're mates are having a good time.
- Cash – Take enough money to get through the whole festival, sometimes cash machines can be hard to find.
- Medication – Pack the essential medication you will need in the original packaging in case of emergencies and ensure your friends know your medical situation. Bring basic medication; paracetamol, insect repellent, indigestion tablets etc. your less prepared friends might be very thankful. But if you get caught you with anything illegal, you will be dealt with by police and possibly kicked off the premises and denied entry, so that’s not a good idea!
- Pocket Knife - For opening cans and things, it always comes in handy.
- Water – Essential in hot weather, most festival organisers will permit you to take water into the event.
- Toiletries- Especially wet wipes, when you cant be bothered using all the other stuff you brought with you.
- Toilet paper
- Extra plastic bags, to pack your dirty gear away.
Keep all your valuables at home, most festival goers are really friendly, but don't make yourself an easy target. Make sure you check the festivals website to confirm what you can and cannot take to the festival.
Getting to the festival
Festival websites usually have information on how to get to the festival grounds, but while we're at it, here are some tips on travelling to the festivals.
Ensure you know where you are going, print out maps if you have to, check the road conditions before you drive and fill the tank! The majority of festivals will have sign posting closer to the festival grounds, but be prepared to wait in car parking queues. Do not leave valuables in sight in the car, and ensure you lock up before leaving.
If you don’t have a full car, check the Summer Festival Guide Forum and the Lift Share group, there are always members looking for a lift to the festivals. It’s a great way to help the environment and meet other Summer Festival Guide members.
The majority of festivals can be reached by train, find out what train you need to catch and if you need to, get your train tickets in advance. Most festivals will have a transfer from the train station to the festival grounds, but double check on the festival website before you leave.
Some festivals have bus transports available from the bigger cities to the festival grounds, these usually need to be booked in advance.
Arrival at the Festival
When you've arrived at the festival, first thing you need to do is set up your tent. First, find out where your camping ground is located. This should be easy to find as most festivals are very well co-ordinated and sign posted, but if in doubt, ask one of the event staff. These are the guys that make sure the whole event runs smoothly, they'll be uniformed, clearly visible, and usually quite friendly.
Finding a place for your tent can be tricky if you don’t get in early. Try to find a space that has an area big enough for your tent and if you’re with a group, make sure there is enough room for everyone. Avoid locations next to toilets, there's a reason why there's so much free space around there!
With your tent all set up, scan around for a landmark that will help you find your way back, a pirate flag, yurt or teepee generally works quite well. Alternatively, you could fashion your own, just make sure you have a way to find your tent when you come back at night, its really awkward when you walk into a strangers tent at 4am.
With your tent all set up you're ready to go. Pull out you're site map and begin exploring. You could decide on a meeting point if you're worried about losing your friends, sometimes there can be minimal network coverage because of the location, or the amount of people, so make an old fashioned back up plan just in case.
Now for the safety warning, if someone offers you anything that you’re unsure of, don’t take it! Do not accept drinks from strangers and be careful to leave your drinks unattended even for a minute. If you’re the driver, make sure you can drive when it's time to leave the site. Alcohol and drugs can remain in the system for a number of hours after consumption, so be sensible and make sure you give enough time to sober up before you leave.
A festival can be the most unforgettable weekend of your summer, if you haven’t already noticed we proper love them, and we know that you will too. A bit of planning can go a really long way at a festival and we hope these tips will help you have a great time, so take care of yourself and each other and hopefully, we'll see you there!