24 British Festival Essentials

First-time or long-time since heading to a festival? Here’s everything you need to consider before entering the overwhelming sense of community and celebration of music.

In the UK, the aftermath of festivals have a long history of litter which cause damage to the environments they are held in, to be more eco-friendly, bio-degradable glitter and wipes are the future. The glitter needs to be applied outside the tent to further avoid the inevitable finding it for weeks/months on return, and the wipes are essential for ‘baby-wipe baths’ as a morning routine followed by a haze of dry shampoo. For further hygiene purposes, it is vital to carry anti-bacterial gel, this is extra handy when attached to your ‘bum bag’ (another key element) which you can attach using carabiners.

Prior to departure, it is important to visit a cashpoint to avoid any extra charges inside the arena, the average charge is around £2.50 each time you withdraw; which to put in perspective is half a pint you could have had. On the topic of alcohol, chances of arenas allowing glass are very limited for safety reasons, therefore to dodge confiscation, its best to bring crates of tins which can be from hoppy ales to classic G&Ts. Another issue you may face with this array of crates, the queues are very likely, tents are heavy and you all have a vast amount of stuff that needs to get from A to B, therefore, a solution used at large festivals such as Reading and Leeds are the use of bungee cords and snow sleighs which coast smoothly along the ground rather than wheels that may get stuck. As found frequently bought together on the amazon link to bungee cords, black camping tape is also essential to any tent/welly repairs or possibly even personal injury. In terms of a tent, it is worth investing in an extra birth to the number of people going together, this is beneficial to have an area to place belongings. A tent with an inner also goes a long way, this stops condensation dripping during cold nights. On a more exciting note, to distinguish your tent from others, flags, bunting or even paint on the side are also very helpful through blurry eyes.

Being of the mindset that camping chairs are not essential is a common mistake, from personal experience, a picnic blanket does not quite cut it for a weekend and these can easily be transported on the sleigh previously mentioned rather than stealing anyone else’s. You are already going to be spending money on the amazing variety of food stalls whichever festival you attend, being enticed by the smells of fryers and spices; have that extra meal out through avoiding spending money at phone charging stalls. A portable charger is worth the investment, the single-use chargers you can buy for a pound will not keep your smartphone charged to record a weekend of memories. A power bank with multiple charges is the way forward, also using devices that do not require electricity is another way to save the charge. For example, you can hang torches from the roof of your tent using the pack of carabiners to light the whole area and disposable cameras that you can develop prints from, a physical memoir of good times had with loved ones. To stretch money further, a cool bag of breakfast bars, wraps, salad and other filling make a good brunch, alongside pot noodles and the very British element of carrying tea bags or coffee which only require hot water; you will also need a spork for the latter.

Fashion expectations could be inspired by Coachella, where glowsticks and glitter are a step in the right direction, however, this is the UK and rather than spoil the perfect outfit by wearing a £3 bin bag labelled ‘rain poncho’ it is worth buying/taking a decent coat. Funky wellies or your worst trainers also need to be co-ordinated to prepare for the potential downpours, alongside beanie hats and bedsocks for the possible cool nights in your sleeping bags. Ladies, on a serious note, festival toilets can become very unpleasant towards the end of a weekend, therefore it would be strongly suggested to invest in a ‘she-wee’ - you’ll thank me later. Not everyone shares the same sleeping pattern at festivals, therefore if you are attempting to get an early night or a lay-in in the morning earplugs or earphones will aid attempting to get some sleep in the partying atmosphere. There may be a debate between purchasing an airbed or a roll mat, to solve this you need to consider that an airbed requires electric/foot pump and any punctures or overuse could cause it to deflate (another black tape solution). Whereas for a little less comfort a roll mat is easy to transport and the foil side maintains warmth when laying on the ground. These can be used to block out fellow campers potential difference in music choice through their portable speakers, or another solution is to buy a bigger and better sound system, a good suggestion is a ‘mini rig’ to be able to enjoy your own taste in tunes at a high quality. At the end of the weekend, no matter how tired or rough you may feel, there is the daunting aspect of packing away, to save time and hassle it is handy to have a constant bin bag in your camping area that can be tied and thrown away at the end of your stay. Not long until festival season now!


Charlotte Starbuck



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