If you’re a festival newbie, benefit from the mistakes of seasoned festival-goers with some top survival tips. Navigate the mud, infamous festival ‘facilities’ and pop-up tents like a pro!
Arrive early – no faffing!
This sounds like an obvious one, but if you’re travelling in convoy with a big group of friends, it’s very easy to get held up. We all have that friend, ‘the faffer’; the one who realises they’ve forgotten their toothbrush as they shut the front door to leave. Make sure everyone is packed and ready in plenty of time. Arriving early means bigger queues, but arriving late means you risk camping by the loos and potentially miles away from the action.
Be ruthless with your packing
Sure, it’s great to be the smug member of the group who has a solution for everything in their magical rucksack, but what’s not great is being the friend left behind on that long old slog from car park to camp site. A few comforts are fine, but remember you have to carry every gram of luxury!
Broken-in footwear is your friend
You’ve seen some snaps of celebs in their festival attire from last year; you’re inspired by the effortless hippy chic, ladies in elegant Grecian sandals or fellas looking cool and casual in flip-flops. You obviously want to turn up to the festival looking suave in your newest fashionable footwear, right? WRONG. That walk from the car park really can be surprisingly far and crowded. Arrive in supportive, broken-in footwear. When you’re pitched up with a cold drink in hand, only then is it time to pop your flip-flops on.
Ditch the glass
Now, you know how to put the tent up, you’ve arrived at the campsite with plenty of daylight to spare, and the weather is fine. What can go wrong? Well, it’s worth ensuring that the tent’s guylines are properly adjusted so that the flysheet is taut, just in case the wind picks up and the heavens open at 2am. The last thing you want is to have to leave the warmth of your sleeping bag to adjust the guylines in the pouring rain.
Festivals attract people from many points on the camping expertise scale. If you’re an avid camper, you will have all the gear and accompanying know-how to pitch up and relax in no time. However, for those on the lower end of the spectrum the invention of the easy-to-pitch and affordable pop-up tent has been a real game-changer. Just pop up and peg down, easy right? Well yes, but harder to achieve is popping it down again – make sure you’ve mastered this with the help of YouTube before you leave.
Nowadays festivals can win accolades for the cleanliness of their toilets, but even the poshest of port-a-loos can be a grim experience after five days of answering the calls of nature from thousands of people. Go equipped with loo roll and hand sanitiser – even if they are provided this is not the place to be caught short if they run out (and they almost always do). If you’re an early riser, get down to the toilets first thing in the morning; you’ll beat the rush and they’re usually freshly cleaned at the crack of dawn.
Strengthen your relationship with mud
Wet weather waits for no man. Neither will it wait for you to finish setting up your campsite, or for your favourite band to play. If you’re lucky the sun will shine, the cider will flow and you will return tanned and dry (if not a bit dusty). If the rain pours before or during a festival, it’s never a bit muddy – it’s VERY muddy. Thousands of people stomping through it all day, every day, makes festival mud inescapable. So embrace it! You will get muddy, your things will probably get muddy, but everyone else is in the same boat – it’s all part of the fun!
Buy a funny hat - seriously
Festival stalls and shops are a goldmine of vintage, retro and - let’s be honest - some quite daft attire. Festivals are an environment of eccentricity, so it’s almost impossible to feel silly in what you wear. Take this opportunity to buy a daft hat! Once you leave the festival, be prepared for said daft hat to draw a very different kind of attention, so maybe put it away until next year!
Cotswold Outdoor sells a wide range of clothing and equipment online and in-store, which can enhance any festival trip or outdoor holiday. For more information, visit www.cotswoldoutdoor.com.