If you’ve never been to a festival before, don’t worry, there’s a first time for everything. Provided you follow a few sensible precautions and are well prepared for spending a night or two at an outdoor venue, you’re sure to have an amazing experience. Here are 7 practical tips that should come in useful.
1. Bring the right stuff
There are a few essentials that you absolutely need. Let’s start with the basics: a tent. A pop-up tent is best, otherwise make sure you have a go at assembling it beforehand, lest you rock up on the day and find half the poles are missing.
Also make sure you bring: a sleeping bag, bin bags, wet wipes, dry shampoo, sun cream, food, drink, and cash. And most importantly, toilet roll. Some festival toilets are pretty good, some aren’t, but the common theme is that you have to bring your own loo paper.
2. Wear the right stuff
OK, so clothes are up to you. You’ll see people wearing anything and everything at a festival, so there’s not specific sartorial advice. (Apart from: don’t bring anything you don’t want to get muddy.) But you must remember your wellies, sunglasses, and waterproof jacket. Wellies, especially, are probably the most important thing you need.
Even if the forecast is drier than the Sahara, Sod’s Law says that it will always rain at a music festival and when it does, wellies are invaluable. Don’t plan to buy your wellies there, either. The prices are about three times as much as a camping shop and all the sensible sizes sell out.
3. Get there early
There’s no such thing as being fashionably late at a festival. Turning up late guarantees there will be nowhere sensible to pitch your tent. And it gets here’s worse: You’ll be putting it up with everyone watching and judging your tent-pitching ineptitude.
Do yourself a huge favour and arrive early. Ideally, get there the morning of the day before the festival starts at the latest, pick out a prime spot, get your tent up, and then spend the rest of the day chilling.
It’s also helpful to have someone else to watch over your tent while you’re not around. Let’s face it: You won’t be spending that much time in your tent. You’ll be checking out the arena, the dance tent, the restaurant, and the shops. Friendly neighbours are a great way to help you have fun and feel more secure at the same time.
5. Plan your day
OK, so festivals are supposed to be about letting out your free spirit and having fun. – nothing wrong with that. But having a plan for your day helps things run a lot more smoothly. If you’re at the festival with a few friends, be aware that some of them will probably have different bands than you they want to see. Planning out who you are seeing and who is on when can help you split up and get back together easily.
There will usually be a lull in the schedule somewhere, with no bands that anyone’s particularly fussed about. That’s a great time to regroup, grab some food and drink, and get ready for one of your favourites to come on.
6. Drink in moderation (apart from water)
Resist the temptation to get too drunk. Remember: This is your first festival! There will be plenty of opportunities in the future for testing your limits. The last thing you want to remember about your first festival is that you can’t remember any of it.
Water, on the other hand, is vital. Remember that rule about how it always rains at music festivals? Well, it’s always ridiculously hot, too. Keep hydrated (and not just with beer), because the heat and exhaustion can really creep up on you if you don’t.
7. Don’t panic
Things go wrong at festivals – it’s a part of the experience. If you lose your friends, lose your phone, or lose your money, don’t lose your mind. It’s never as bad as it seems, and everything will be fine in the end.
Focus on having a good time and making your first festival experience something that you’ll remember forever. Even when bad stuff happens, stay upbeat and keep it in perspective – just think what a great anecdote it will make one day.