How to survive a festival this summer: A comprehensive guide
Don’t forget your wellies
If it's your first festival this summer, then you're probably going to Google 'how to survive a festival' in preparation for the most fun, and most tiring, weekend of your life.
Whether it's Boomtown, Bestival, Houghton or Reading and Leeds that you're going to this year, this festival checklist will tell you all you need to know, ticking off tents, clothes, shoes, food as well as everything else.
What to wear to a festival
Festivals are where you can literally wear whatever you like and no one will bat an eyelid. Fancy dress, a bikini, your pyjamas – no one will care.
The vibe tends to be lots of glitter and sequin-clad outfits, because you can't wear that get-up when you pop down to Tesco. So if that's what you're looking for, shops like Missguided, Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and ASOS all have cheap festival ranges to deck out your festival wardrobe. Here's a handy guide on how to dress for every festival this summer.
Things you will definitely need:
– A pair of socks for every day you're there. If you're wearing wellies wear long socks or walking socks
– Something warm for the evening because it gets freezing. Take 2-3 jumpers
– Pair of jeans or leggings, your chilly legs will thank you at 4am when it's single digits.
What shoes to take
With the British weather being so unpredictable, you need to have a few pairs of festival shoes so you don't end up wearing only muddy wellies or wet shoes over the weekend. Take one pair of wellies, a pair of trainers you don't mind getting a bit scruffy for if it doesn't rain, and a pair of flip flops or sandals to wear when you're hanging around the campsite.
What to take if it rains
It would be a miracle if it didn't rain at some point, so wet weather gear is essential to stop you from getting wet clothes. Being constantly damp will make your whole experience miserable, so it's worth investing in a decent waterproof, like something your mum would insist on you wearing – any of these. They usually have loads of pockets in them also, which is handy for storing your phone and money.
Also pack a poncho – sure they make you look lame but they're light to carry and will save you from getting soaked if you're watching an act and can't find shelter fast. They also double up as something you can sit on if it's wet on the ground. Cheap ponchos can be bought from places like Tiger for a couple of quid.
Umbrellas are fine for when you're walking around the festival, but you will receive some serious hate if you put one up in a crowd – so it's best to stick to a waterproof jacket or poncho.
How to carry all your stuff in
Depending on the weather, you can bring all your possessions in either two ways: a festival bag or a suitcase. If it's dry all weekend and definitely won't rain, a suitcase can stop you from getting a tired back. If not used for clothes, it's a much better way of dragging along crates of beer and the rest of your food.
Most people go for a festival bag, like one you would take travelling, around 40L in size. There's no limit on how much stuff you can bring into a festival, so some people buy trolleys or rent out carts on entry to transfer their stuff to their campsite.
When all set up, a festival bum bag is one of the best ways to carry your money and phone around safely, especially if you don't have pockets.
Getting the right festival tent will depend on how many people you're planning on sharing with. Not all people share tents but it's common, so the best festival tent will be one which comfortably fits you and whoever else, plus space for your bags. If you're camping on your own, it's worth buying a cheap two man tent so you'll have more room.
Each festival will have a different camping sites with different vibes, some being more quiet or more rowdier than others. Check the festival map and ask people who have been before where is best to go.
If it's going to rain all weekend, try and get a pitch somewhere on a hill to prevent your tent from getting flooded.
Be nice to your festival neighbours – they'll be the first to look after your stuff if you get on, or the first to steal your tinnies and chairs if you piss them off.
Probably the least fun part of a festival, festival toilets can be pretty grim. Expect to queue up for a lifetime if you're a girl, and to feel like vomiting from the smell come the final day of the weekend.
But there are a few ways you can make your festival toilet experience better: always have some loo roll on you for wiping the seat (boys can be gross) and if there isn't any toilet paper left in the cubicle. Always have hand sanitiser for after, as sometimes the festival might have run out of free sanitiser.
Festival toilets usually come as portaloos, eco-toilets (which are much better) or 'posh toilets' where there's an actual toilet. She-wee stations are now at most festivals, and are by far the fastest way to have a wee if you're a girl: the queues are minimal, and once you get over the fact your bum will be a bit exposed and you're having a wee standing up like a man, you'll never turn back. What kind of toilets there are will depend on the festival you're going to.
Festival showers are never going to be nice, but at some smaller festivals you may have a more pleasant experience. They'll probably be communal, so pack swimwear if you don't want to be parading round fully naked. Avoid the showers at Reading and Leeds – they're grim.
Festivals often limit how much alcohol you can take in per person. For example, Bestival say: "The maximum you can bring in per person is one crate of cans/plastic bottles (24 max) and 70cl of spirits, OR one crate of cans/plastic bottles (24 max.) and up to three litres of wine in a plastic bottle or carton/bag/box." But fear not, because this handy guide shows how to sneak alcohol into a festival, so you won't be spending a penny on pints.
But if you do want to spend pennies on pints, a pint of cider or beer usually costs around £4-4.50. A single spirit and mixer is around £5, and a double spirit and mixer or cocktails are around £7-£8.
Bar staff are pretty hot on ID, and some will ask over 18s to get a special wristband stating they're not underage, so always have your ID on you.
Festival food you can buy
Festival food is really good just because there's so much selection. Burgers, paella, pasta, pizza, Pieminister, Anna Mae's Mac n Cheese (the best Mac n Cheese ever), fish and chips, curry, noodles, burritos, nachos, Lebanese – the list goes on with the festival food options.
Prices usually range from £4-10, depending on how fancy you're going. Generally, between £15-£20 a day for food should be more than enough.
Food to take to a festival without cooking
Unless you can be bothered to bring in cooking equipment and gas canisters, going war-time with your food is the best way to go. Cans of beans or spaghetti hoops are good to snack on (if you can handle them cold). Food vendors will often fill up a Pot Noodle with hot water if you give them a quid – a lot will do it for free.
Bring a box of cereal or energy bars which you can take with you in your pocket. Crackers, biscuits and anything else dry will give you energy in between meals.
If you're going to take in drugs, you need to think about how much you want to take in, and what. Cocaine, pills, MDMA, ket, nos, acid, weed and shrooms can usually be bought once you're inside if you don't fancy sneaking it in, but it'll come at a price and you'll rarely get what you pay for. If you do want to bring in your own, this is how to sneak drugs into a festival without getting caught (some of the ideas are genius).
It's important to space out your drug taking to make sure you have the best time – like don't go all out and have acid on day one. This guide explains what order to take your drugs at a festival so you don't mess it up.
Every up must come down, and comedowns at festivals are grim if you're not prepared. Pack some magnesium tablets and some Valium if you can which will help with your gurning and sleeping if you're on MDMA or pills. Orange juice, Lucozade and lots of water will help you plough through the next day, as well as everything else in this MDMA comedown guide.
If you've taken too much or if you just feel shit, find someone in a high-vis and they'll be able to help or take you to the welfare tent. They're not going to kick you out for seeking help.
How much money to take
How much money you should take to a festival is subjective, and dependent on how large you want to go. £30 a day minimum will be enough to buy food and a few drinks, but if you want to go all out and buy cocktails and get your hair done, you will want around £50-70 a day.
These gross festival sex confessions will probably never make you want to have sex in a tent ever, but the situation may arise where you wanna get down.
You're going to need a tent with space, baby wipes and obviously some form of contraception if you want a half decent shag. If you don't know how to pull at a festival to ensure you get laid, this guide will help.
And don't forget, tent walls are paper thin, so chances are everyone around you is going to hear. Also because tents get so hot and sweaty, it's not going to last forever, and you're going to look grim after it. But girls, if you're getting some afternoon delight and wanna head straight back out after, make up artists told babe.net how to keep your make up from falling off during sex.
For any problems regarding sexual health head to a welfare tent, where medical staff will be able to help.
Pillow: Okay taking a pillow looks a bit extra, but it will genuinely make your sleep ten times better. If you're a bit hungover or on a comedown you will love yourself for bringing one.
Eye mask and ear plugs: Festivals are noisy and once the sun rises your tent becomes daylight, meaning your sleep is going to be disrupted. It sounds boring, but the more hours you get per night the more you can stay out the next day and have a good time.
Foil blankets, like the one they give runners at the end of a marathon: If it's going to be a heatwave, your tent is going to be boiling. Covering your tent in foil blankets will make it look like a shiny beacon of light, but a lot of the heat will reflect off the foil keeping you cooler on the inside.
Empty 2L water bottle: Useful for so many reasons but best used for washing your hair.
The ultimate festival checklist:
This is literally EVERYTHING you should be packing if you're going to a weekend festival this summer:
– Sleeping bag
– Loo roll
– Hand sanitiser
– Festival ticket
– Baby wipes or wet wipes
– A towel (useful if you want to wash your hair or have a shower)
– Bum bag or some kind of day bag
– Flip Flops
– Sun cream
– Clothes for each day
– 2/3 jumpers
– Bin bags (good for putting any rubbish you create in your tent, like smelly wet wipes or tinnies)
– Drugs (if you're taking them)
– Cigarettes (if you're smoking them)
– Camping chair
– Portable phone charger
– ID and other cards
Other festival related articles this writer recommends: