Ahhhhh, it’s finally here! Festival season is upon us!
Festivals are my absolute fave, and that’s that.
There is just something so dreamy about spending the day, or even better a number of days, bonding with your best friends, in a field, in your favourite denim shorts and Hunter wellies, with a can of Kopperburg in your hand and a spring in your step. HashtagBasicBitch.
To be honest, I thought I would have grown out of festivals by now, but basically….no chance big pants.
I’ve come to the conclusion that festivals are good for the soul….seriously. Although I think I left mine somewhere on the beach in Garden Festival Croatia 2015 so if anyone’s going there this year please can you retrieve it for me ? Thanks babes.
In my opinion, the main reason that festivals are such an absolute WINNER is that they remove you completely out of your every day reality and catapult you in to a magical blur of sound, colour, friendship and happiness.
In real life you’re a responsible human being with a stressful job, paying bills, shopping in Aldi, reading kindles, drinking Malbec, trying not to make epic mistakes on a daily basis so that people around you don’t realise that actually you have NO CLUE how the hell to be an adult and that you’re making it up as you go along.
For a small period of time, festivals enable it to be completely acceptable to dance around like a lunatic with glitter on your face, glow in the dark tattoos on your legs, not caring about a thing except which act you’re going to see next.
So listen, I’m not saying I’m a festival expert by any stretch, however last year during what has gone down in history (if last year can be called history? LOL) amongst our friends as Summer of Fun 2015 ,we made it our mission to do our fair share of festivals. From day festivals, to weekend festivals, to festivals abroad and to your good old fashioned British 4 day tent marathons- we tried a bit of everything.
We definitely picked up some observations along the way which any festival goer should know and be prepared for before embarking upon a festival adventure.
1) Carrying your belongings across a 6 mile field is physically and emotionally draining
I know the temptation is to pack 293432324 items of clothing so that you look absolutely #FestivalChic. But if you’re camping, remember that you have to carry whatever you pack on your back. For a long time. Possibly hours. And miles. Possibly in sweltering heat. Possibly in pouring down rain.
On my way to V festival, I definitely cried whilst trying to carry half of ASOS on my back, a box of wine and crate of cider under one arm and my tent under another across a field for 2 hours.
And then after that turmoil you have to find a spot and put your tent up. Oh cruel world!
However, the pain is like childbirth ( I mean…..apparently).
Looking back you remember it being significantly less painful than you originally experienced and therefore you do it all over again.
And thus, I made the same mistake when delivering child number 2 (Bestival) and cried that I wanted to go home after precisely 8 minutes of walking uphill with a backpack bigger than me on my shoulders.
Basically, trolleys are the way forward. And let’s face it. You’re going to wear the same pair of ripped shorts from River the entire time you’re there any way.
So don’t over pack. Just don’t.
The face of victory when you have arrived after 7 trains, a ferry, a taxi and a 6 mile trek. Deserved.
2) You will have to queue. A lot.
You will queue to get in.
Then you will queue for the pleasure of being felt up by a bouncer looking like a bull dog chewing a wasp who opens up every corner of your bag before you go in.
You will queue to have your ticket scanned.
You will queue for an offensively coloured oppressive wrist band.
When you’ve finally made it inside, you’ll queue to get a drink.
You’ll buy 5 drinks in one go to save you from queuing at the bar again any time soon.
Then you’ll need to join the endless loo due to rapid consumption of said 5 drinks.
The only thing to do is to accept the queue. Embrace the queue. Make queue friends. Tell them your life story. Bond over your shared hatred of the queue. Start a queue song. Snog a queue randomer. Take their number with the intention to meet up and never call them.
Oh and always pick the corner toilet. You’re welcome.
3) Pick a meeting point for when (not if) you get lost
Here’s the thing- the chances are, you will get lost.
Everyone generally just tends to get a *little bit* over excited and starts wandering off, going to the bar, going to the toilet, making festival friends, or if you’re me, deciding you are desperate to “go in” and make your way as close to the stage as possible.
But you wander too far. And in every festival I’ve ever been to, there has never been any phone signal or Wi-Fi.
So pick a time and a place that you will meet if you get split up.
In SW4 we forgot to do this, but I stood in the Lost and Found for 20 minutes until my menaces came to find me. So that was nice.
4) There is no escaping the glitter
Face glitter is essential. As is body paint. And they must be taken seriously.
But you should know that you’re probably going to have to rock up to work with a glitter tattoo around your arm for at least 10 weeks post festival. But it will be worth it.
All of the glitter. None of the sense.
5) A Group Photo is a MUST
Firstly, because it will probably be the only proof you have for yourself that you were actually all at the festival, in one place together at the same time (see point 3).
Secondly, because what’s the point of going to a festival if you can’t show everyone how much of a great a bunch of friends you are and how much fun you’re having via the medium of Instagram? Say? SAY?
It can be difficult in a busy crowd to nail this, so it must be well project managed.
Make it as quick and as painless as possible:
- Get in pose, preferably in front of some tall letters spelling out the name of the festival
- Ask your most authoritative group member to ask a passer by to take a pic and quickly (Raechel Mattey, I’m looking at you)
- Upload pic to Insta
- Put as your cover photo on Facebook
- Watch the likes roll in
- Move on with your day
Haven’t quite nailed getting the whole name in yet. Soz.
6) Work out who you want to see (and where they are)
It’s always a great idea to get a little agenda going in the morning (over a gin and a tin and a brioche….obvs)
Work out who wants to see what artist, at what time and importantly, where. In a big festival it can be as much as an hour to get out of the campsite and in to the music, and even then some of the stages can be a good 45 minutes away. Hell of a treck like!
At Bestival, Greg Wilson was meant to be playing at 2pm. We were still 45 minutes away in the campsite at 1:40pm resulting in widespread Wilson Anxiety. (Yes, that is a medical term).
So be organised.
Equally, there will be slots in the day when there isn’t anyone any of you are that fussed on seeing, and so take the opportunity to go wandering aimlessly. Go listen to something you wouldn’t normally listen to.Listen to the festival playlist before you go on spotify to get a feel for new artists you may not have heard of before.
7) Pace yourself
If you’re at a day or weekend festival, obviously you can just GO FOR IT.
Anything longer, remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint people!
If you don’t believe me….ask Hannah Rix.
8) Take plenty of food and snacks with you
If you’re camping this is an absolute must.
You’re going to wake up SO hungover, in an absolutely SUSAN BOILING tent . Literally hotter than the surface of the actual sun.
The first thing you’ll need is something to drink and to eat that you can get your hands on pronto.
Make sure you eat in the morning as the likelihood is you’ll be too excited to eat in the day (or is that just me?!)
You can’t go wrong with brioche, croissants, cereal bars, lucozade and bottles of water.
`In Bestival, a multipack of Walkers crisps doubled up as my pillow every night. Multifunctional.
9) Layers are key
No matter how cold you think you’re going to get, you can always get colder.
Take a nice sized backpack and keep hoodies and a waterproof in it as well as your snacks and alcohol.
The cold never bothered me anyway. *sassy emoji*
10 ) Always go in to the crowd via the side
If you need to get in or out of the crowd, ALWAYS go in and out through the side.
Do not attempt to walk up through the middle of the crowd.
My butties attempted this whilst trying to get out of the crowd in the middle of Chemical Brothers and it took them 45 minutes.
Do not even go there.
11) Glamping is SO WORTH IT!
I mean, I cannot emphasise this enough.
In Bestival, for £50 each extra each, we had a tent already set up for us, access to a shower, mirrors, straighteners and curling wands. It was THE DREAM.
We still had the experience of the great out doors, except there wasn’t a maze of guide ropes to navigate and we could stand up in our tent so like…winning.
Oh and always get a bigger tent than you need – 4 days on top of one another in a confined space when you’re ALL OF THE HANGOVER is really not a thing.
12) Portable mobile phone charger
So. Bloody. Handy.
However…at the same time kind of redundant given that there is NEVER ANY SIGNAL (see point 3).
But at least you can wander around waving your arm in the air trying to find some 3G with a full battery which is nice.
Phone signal wars
13) Try to avoid a mirror
Get ready before you go in the morning. And then do not look in a mirror until you return to your respective homes.
Just trust me on this one.
14) Wellies are an essential
It’s all well and good insisting that wellies are in the ‘not for you box’ and insisting on wearing biker boots, until torrential rain happens and you are literally stuck in the mud.
15) A sunny beach festival is the ultimate festival experience
Beach festivals are the ultimate festival dream.
And mostly a chance to escape the noise and chaos of the festival and recover by the water when you’re feeling wobbly and hungover.
The Garden Festival was the absolute dream. RIP.
So there we have it.
Basically I plan on going to at least 3 a year until I am 85 and have disco fairy lights wrapped around my zimmer.