I remember the first time I went to a festival I had just turned 16, I was incredibly excited but also incredibly naive. I didn’t really know what to expect other than fun, freedom, seeing my favourite bands and partying with my friends for 5 days.
Festivals can differ massively, from family-friendly to hardcore party and everything else in between, it’s difficult to know what to expect even if you’re a seasoned festival-goer.
Festivals exist in their own mini-world, many things that seem normal in the outside world are ridiculous at a festival and visa versa. 6 years later and with more than my fair share of festivals under my belt, I’ve compiled a list of my top festival Do’s and Don’ts to save you from the humiliation of making some classic mistakes.
1) Do Make friends with people camping next to you – It’s always nice to make friends and can be really fun meeting new people, you can have some great parties. It can also be useful if someone tries to go in your tent to steal things, more people are watching out and hanging around when you might not be there.
2) Do always carry tissues and hand gel – keep them with you everywhere you go!
3) Do go to the end toilet cubicle – they stay cleaner for longer as no one wants to walk that far
4) Smuggle alcohol into the arena – normally I wouldn’t condone this but it’s just so expensive a popular way is hipflask down the wellies just make sure your wellies aren’t too loose or too tight that you can see it. If you don’t have a hip flask to hand try getting an empty water bottle and squashing it flat and filling it with your choice of spirit you won’t fit as much in but you’d be surprised by how much you can get in.
5) Decide on arena food carefully – it’s no secret that food inside the arena is expensive, so make wise choices based on how expensive it is and how long it will keep you full for.
6) Take easy food to eat – buying food the whole time can get very expensive so make sure you bring easy like cereal bars. Many food vendors will give you hot water for 1 pound so taking porridge pots and mugshots can help you save money.
7) Take a portable phone charger – they do have phone charging stations but often it’s a struggle to find a plug that works and you don’t want to stand in the rain for 30 minutes waiting for it to charge. Consider these more of a last-ditch solution.
8) Print out the schedule beforehand – The day before the festival websites like clashfinder will release the set times for each artist if you print this out it can save you about £10 rather buying a program.
1) Don’t Take a suitcase – You need a backpack or bag you can carry, festivals are not a place for suitcases. Don’t be one of those people who lugs a suitcase through layers of mud, people will laugh at you.
2) Don’t pitch your tent in a bad spot – This is critical for your entire weekend, always avoid toilets, the bottom of hills and walkways. The ideal spot is the top of a hill a few tents in from a walkway.
3) Don’t Forget where your tent is – You would think this is easy but after a few drinks in the dark everything starts to look very similar. People will have the same tent as you and it can get incredibly confusing once my friend got lost for about two hours before she found her way back. You need something identifiable if it’s a tree, gazebo or flag to use as a memorable marker.
4) Don’t leave any valuables in your Tent – This is again another obvious one, it’s very unlikely that you would be robbed but it can happen so just be sensible, hide things in your tent and keep anything really important on you at all times.
5) Don’t Wear any clothes you would be scared of getting ruined – There is an 80% chance it will turn into a mud bath so be prepared to have your clothes destroyed. No one looks good at a festival by the 5th day anyway so who cares what you are wearing.
6) Don’t think you can survive without wellies and a raincoat- This is essential even if it’s forecast for sun don’t think you can get away with not taking wellies. Even little rain can turn into a mudslide. A raincoat is useful in general even if it’s sunny the whole time you can use it to sit on.
7) Don’t buy a barbeque and loads of food to cook on it – This might seem random but I’ve seen a lot of food go to waste this way. Unless you buy one on your first day and do it that night it’s just not worth it. The food will go off sat in your tent and when you are surrounded by food carts selling tasty easy options the last you want to do is try lighting a cheap BBQ in the rain.
8) Don’t forget to check out some of the more alternative things happening – It’s easy to get caught up in rushing around trying to see as many of your favourite bands as possible but if you get a chance try checking out some of the more alternative things. Often you can stumble upon some random and great things without huge crowds. From live art, comedy, games and pop up events it’s worth exploring a little more you might find something unexpected you love.
Do you seasoned festival-goers have any Do’s and Don’ts you would add?