The First-Time Festival Guide

The festival season is upon us and I love a good festival, I really do. But every summer I’m faced with those little festival problems that leave me in a bit of tizzy. That’s why I’ve decided to put together a list of five of the most troublesome things about festivals – and how to overcome them.

Walking, Walking, Walking

The first time I went to a festival, I thought I was going to keel over and collapse during a 45-minute walk from one end of a campsite to the other while carrying the world’s heaviest backpack in the pouring rain. To avoid such a scenario before you’ve even pitched your tent, pack as lightly as you possibly can, because trekking around a muddy field with ten tonnes (at least that’s what it felt like) of weight on your back isn’t going to be fun. In hindsight, did I really need those eight dresses, four pairs of shoes, and 30 cans of cider for a three-day festival? Probably not.


Hungry? Queue for a burger for half an hour. Thirsty? Queue for a drink for half an hour. Need the toilet? Queue for the Portaloos for half an hour. And so on and so on for the next few days. To avoid spending the entire weekend in a queue, come prepared with your own disposable barbecue (if the festival allows it), food, and drink, and make your own festival grub. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the Portaloos – that’s just something every festival-goer must face and I guess it’s probably a bit character building.

It’s Raining, it’s Pouring

I don’t know why magazines bother having “festival fashion” features filled with little summer dresses, crop tops, and barely-there denim hot pants when we all know that British festivals usually consist of rain, mud, and more rain. The most important item of clothing that you need to pack (and never let out of your sight!) is a waterproof jacket. You can buy waterproof ponchos from festival stalls but be warned – one year, the heavens opened and I ended up panic-buying a bright red one and ended up looking like a traffic cone for the rest of the day.

The Crowds

Two years ago, I was standing at a festival watching Faithless when a little thought popped into my head. It went something like, “Did you really pay all this money to watch a band from about two miles away with the sound of thousands of people drowning them out? Good one”. When you’re at a festival, you’ve really got to make the most of the party atmosphere, so edge your way through the crowd and start jumping around with your fellow festival-goers.

The Journey Home

Never in your life will you feel as exhausted and dirty as than when you are on your way back from a festival, and all you’ll want to do is go home as soon as possible. Many festival-goers who travel by car face a long, arduous wait (I’m talking hours and hours) just trying to get out the car park. The solution? Book a coach, as these are usually given priority and allowed to leave festival sites first, meaning you can be reunited with your warm, comfortable bed in double-quick time.


Photography by rosshuggett, DavidMartynHunt and danieljordahl

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