Festival season is upon us once again and literally thousands of people will be heading to the countryside and enjoying the best of the British music scene, many for the first time.
Over the last few years, I have now been to enough festivals to consider myself a bit of an expert on the do’s and don’ts of enjoying a festival to its entirety.
1. Make sure to budget
There is nothing worse than waking up on the Friday morning with a sore head and realising that you spent all your money on the first night, something that given how expensive festivals can be, is extremely easy, so set out a budget and stick to it, not every meal has to be from a burger van, you don’t need three different Native American head-dress and there are cash machines at all major festivals now so you no longer need to carry all your money on you, it lowers the risks pick pockets and prevents splurges, that special souvenir can wait till Sunday evening when you know you’ll be okay to get though to the end with no cash.
2. Watch out for the sun
Although you want the weather to be good for entire time your there, the sun can be just as much of a pain as rain if you are under prepared, sun tan lotion, sun glasses and a hat are required to stop you looking like a tomato by Sunday morning, they are also good at hiding the fact that you look like a zombie after 3 days of partying.
3. Know your limits
The freedom of being away from home and surrounded by your peers can be an amazing feeling, but there is always someone who doesn’t know when to stop, either drinking too much, using narcotics or just burning the candle at both ends, all of which will lead to you spending time in the first aid tent or worse, something that you don’t really want to be doing and I’m sure your friends don’t want to spend their days looking after you.
4. Take clothing for every eventuality
Waterproofs are a godsend, but that only covers you for a small portion of the time, in the warm sun or the crowds you need clothing that isn’t going to get you too sweaty (it’s not a good look), in the evenings and early mornings you’ll need thicker items to keep you toasty, a swimming costume & flip-flops are something that will make your experience less uncomfortable when going to the dreaded shower blocks and finally plan your shoes based of comfort instead of fashion, you might look on point in your most expensive shoes, but your feet will not forgive you and while converses just become a pain to put on inside a tent, so my advice is always have wellies handy.
5. Buy an official programme
The problem with music festivals is that no matter how hard you try, you will always miss one of the bands that you want to see, but the best way to see as many as possible is to by a programme and plan out your route of attack, it’s a necessary purchase at most fests these days and one that I strongly suggest you make, though it is important to remember that at a lot of the larger festivals lately, there has been a the rise in knock off gear, ranging from shirts to programmes, everything and anything sold at a festival, will have a cheaper and usually bad quality alternative, this is especially true of programmes, but remember that you pay for quality in these circumstances and knowing the exact time that a band is on, rather than a rough estimate, is always a better option, this is also where you can look out for those secret sets thay might pop up from time to time.
6. Pick a camping spot carefully
You might not think it makes much of a difference, but this will have a massive affect on your festival experience, with the general rule being that the fields closest to the show ground tend to be the noisiest and the ones further back being better for people who value their sleep, but there are other factors to consider too, being close to the toilets might seem like a great idea at the start, but being woken up first thing by pumps and early risers isn’t fun, having a tent in the middle of that action can have it’s advantages, but you will fall over guide ropes at some point and will spend a long time trying to remember which one of a million blue tents is the one near the other one that you need to turn left at before going right and so on and so on, so in my experience, it’s better to be on a corner and relatively near to the toilets, but not too close.
7. Remember that tents aren’t sound proof
At some point over the weekend, you will hear something that you wish you hadn’t, from sex, drugs use or just odd conversations, people seem to forget that literally everyone can hear what you are saying and doing, so if you plan to take part in any of these things, just remember that someone is probably listening in.
8. Experience a little of everything
You may love the hardest rock around or live for the next drop, but I highly advise you to visit every tent and stage, take part in some activities, look out for secret areas and take some time out to relax and meet new people, this is how I have ended up with some amazing memories and some of my best friends.
9. Battery packs are a godsend
Pretty much every festival these days has phone charging points, but paying to charge your phone will eat through your money very fast so it’s always good to take a few battery packs with you, especially if you plan on using your phone as a camera, spend a lot of time tweeting about your experience or for when you and your friends split up to visit other stages
10. Know your limits
The last place you want to be in in the medical tent, so make sure to know your limits when it comes to drinking and if you do plan on taking drugs (which I don’t suggest you do) make sure to be careful, many festivals have partnered up with The Loop, a charitable organisation that will test drugs that you take them on site and let you know exactly what is in them, they won’t judge you and won’t tell anyone, all they are doing is letting you know what it is that you are putting in your body so you can make an informed decision.