It’s been a while since I blogged, but during the break I’ve had a few adventures, so expect future posts about Greek islands and cruises…
After an awesome Glastonbury festival earlier this summer, I started thinking about what makes a good festival experience, and I’ve come up with a few top tips for anyone heading off to their first festival…
1. Get up early at least once! I’m a morning bird, so love nothing better than rolling out of my tent at 7am and wandering around the festival ghost town, skipping the long queues for the loos, and munching on a tray of hash browns. Judging by the amount of people up at that time, I’m in the minority! But this is a pretty special time of day, you’ll see things you might otherwise have missed, and it’s the perfect time to check out some of the busier spots before the masses emerge from their tents.
2. Embrace the unexpected! Whether it’s Mark Ronson bringing out Boy George for some Culture Club classics (my personal Glasto 2015 highlight), a ‘sand man’ dance routine in a beach-themed bar, or the awesome band your friend recommends on the basis that he stayed in the lead guitarist’s house as an Air B&B guest, you can’t move at festivals without tripping over something amazing, and that’s what makes them so special.
3. Buy a shewee. This is one for the girls – no more thigh-busting hovering! If you’re a man you save your pennies by having your own in-built shewee. My mum bought me mine last Christmas, and I can’t believe I ever survived festivals without it! Easy to use, hygienic, and portable – fab for camping!
4. Invest in a portable phone charger. We may not like it, but phones are now a pretty essential piece of kit – and festivals aren’t immune from this! Whether you’re trying to find your friends, take selfies with a man in a monkey suit, film some grainy footage of your favourite band, your phone might just come in handy. Even if you’re not the type to view life through a lens, buying a phone charger is worth every penny – you never know when you’ll need that emergency 10% you’ve been saving, and you won’t waste your festival waiting in a soul-destroying charging queue.
5. Go vegetarian…for one meal at least! The range of food at festivals is amazing, and as a vegetarian I’m spoilt for choice, but I’ve converted a few self-proclaimed carnivores, who discovered that a good falafel wrap deserves their respect.
6. Pack light! You might have a couple of miles to walk (uphill) before you reach your ideal camping spot, and while it might seem like a good idea to pack maxi dresses/heels/multiple hoodies/a brolly, “just in case”, it’s just not worth it! A heavy duty trolley (complete with bungee ropes to hold everything on) might help too. If you aren’t sure you want to carry everything, you can buy most things on-site at the bigger festivals, from airbeds to camping chairs.
7. Pitch your tent carefully! While it might seem handy to be next door to the loos on the day you arrive, after a few days the stench is unbearable and you can only pity the unfortunate souls who made this mistake. Likewise it’s a mistake to be at the bottom of a hill, it’s worth the walk uphill to ensure you won’t find yourself in the middle of a swimming pool if it rains.
8. Respect others’ festival experience. While you might not be one for folk music/all night raves/finding a spot in front of the stage at 8am and waiting there all day for the headliners… your friends might be! Sometimes this means compromise, sometimes it means going your own way for a few hours, but it’s not worth falling out over. And you never know, that thing your friend drags you to might just end up being the highlight of your festival! (And of course if it’s something dangerous/illegal, follow the dictates of your conscience!)
9. Take ear-plugs! You can’t pick your neighbours… On day 1 it might seem like the perfect spot, but you can easily wake up and find a tent pitched centimetres from your door. Ear-plugs are essential if you want to maximise sleep and wake up ready for your festival experience.
10. And lastly, in the words of Baz Luhrmann… “Wear sunscreen. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists. Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.”