How To: Survive a Festival
The summer is here and besides holidays, hot weather, and BBQs for a lot of us it is primarily Festival Season. I am one of the few girls I know who will actually do a full festival because people think its gross and too intense to handle but as someone who is an avid brunch attendee and fond of a Boujee lifestyle I can confirm that you really are missing out because it does not have to be a bad experience, it’s all about the knowing the little hacks and tricks to making it as bearable as possible so you can enjoy it for what it actually is.
Have I had melt downs at festivals? Of course I have! I have been found on Day 2 screaming outside my tent and throwing jars of peanut butter at a fence because I felt gross, just like Keith woke up one morning to me screaming every curse word I knew at other campers because they were behaving like barbarians (I stand by this) But once I have my coffee and mini bitch fit all is well and I know deep down I will overcome the madness.
So with that in mind I have put together a list of tip's, trick's and must's that I have learned over the years on staying fresh, looking good, and just flat out surviving with ease.
1. Tent placement is everything at a festival - so get up early to be the first in line for when the gates open and pitch your tent that is near a toilet but not next to it, you need to be pitched away from the path way coz people are drunk and will fall on it, and never camp at the bottom of a hill because if it rains you’ll be flooded. Also try and spot a landmark of some kind coz 30,000 tents in the dark when you’re drunk can get confusing its best you narrow it down a bit. A flag pole with a unique flag over your tent is a great idea or a teddy bear tied to your tent can help.
2. Charge up - Buy a decent portable charger or two and fully charge them before you leave. You should have a few full charges on each of them so at night or before you head into the arena turn your phone on to flight mode and charge your phone. Not just for the insta pics but you need to be able to call your friends if you get lost or they do. Everyone needs to be contactable at all times.
3. Make an itinerary – you won’t get to see every band that you want to because some will clash on the festival schedule, just like your group may not all want to see the same acts so the best thing to do is make a schedule and decide who is going to what. You could squeeze both in if you leave half way through a set and run to the other stage - You just have to be able to decide if it is worth it and which of the two acts will have the better last song.
4. Family pack of baby wipes and a shower in a can foam - this will be the only way you can stay clean. The showers are impossible to get to and you won’t have access to a sink for the luxury of a whore's bath so just wipe wash, spray on the shower in a can foam, and dry yourself with a towel. (FYI -Nivea body foam is the best one)
5. The hair band/Go-Go/Bobble – always I repeat always have a hair band on your wrist at all times. If it gets too hot or some twat spills beer all over you, you’re going to need this to scoop up your hair and carry on.
6. Sleeping – you won’t get a good night’s sleep because let’s face it it’s a tent and when the sun rises you’ll be baked but a cheap air mattress and pillows will make it so much easier. I usually buy pillows for £4 in Primark before I go even though they are awkward to carry but they are worth it. We have a festival tent that fits 6 with separate rooms which is also a good idea in a group coz it means only having to find one spot to pitch it and then we can all share the load - leaving spare hands for luxuries like pillows and air mattresses. If you aren’t overly Boujee like me then a Lillo and or yoga mat will help too.
7. The toilet – this is the hardest part of a festival because it gets really bad by day 2 people are eating nothing but fast food and drinking beer so the toilets get very messy very fast. There is no easy way around this so all you can do is accept that it will be bad so tie your bandana around your face, have you lil pack of wipes in your bag, and hand sanitizer for after coz there are no sinks to wash up after you’ve faced death. Boys have the luxury of getting to pee against any fence anywhere but for us girls I suggest just dealing with it and count to 45 - it will all be over in 45. I would suggest a sheewee but let’s be real here, when you are 12 cans in and you have minimum experience with a hose sure you’re gonna piss all over yourself.
8. Food – this is where mistakes are made because you don’t take into account how bad the food is at a festival,and fast food for 3 meals a day really takes a toll on your body and makes you feel disgusting! so be smart and pack things like cereal bars, nuts, peanut butter and rice cakes for the mornings. It may just be one meal but starting with something that isn’t from a van can be life changing. The food is usually very bad but you can’t not eat so do your research and see if there is a shop near by etc. for something fresh. If there isn’t (which is likely) then start the day right with foods like I said. I usually have a cereal bar in the morning, split a bacon roll from a van with Keith at lunch time, and by dinner I’m drunk and don’t care so will eat anything from any vendor.
9. Bring your own lids – at a festival when you are buying a bottle of water they remove the lid and hand it to you which is no good because you won’t just chug it on the spot so bring a few lids with you to use when you buy water. There are water stations around to fill water flasks but I usually lose my flask bottle by day 3.
10. Easy Fashion – this is not London fashion week so you need to be realistic and wise with your choices. You need to be comfortable and have appropriate foot wear! Once you have done that then just add the accessorise to make it festival appropriate. I always bring my desert boots with me to festivals and wear comfy clothes like shorts, skirts, and t-shirts. By doing this all I have to do is add accessories to jazz it up.
11. Hair – The best advice I could give a girl is to get a blow-dry before you go to a festival because then you can get 3 solid days out of it and then after that - in comes the dry shampoo to see you through to the end. Get a curly or boho blow-dry before you leave and then every night before bed just spray in some dry shampoo and tie your hair in two low buns. This really will keep your hair looking fresh and the buns will keep the body in it.
12. Makeup – keep it minimal and just add glitter. A perfectly structured contoured face, winged eye, and red lip is not a common thing at a festival so don’t bother. I do my makeup every day at a festival but I keep it basic and add face jewels and glitter to it. Believe me by day 3 you will only care about meeting the bare basics.
13. The bum bag – This isn’t a poser accessory I promise! It is a necessity for you to keep all your valuables where you can see them and helps to avoid pick pocketers and mosh pit madness. In the bag you can keep your phone, cash, wipes, mints, and hand sanitizer.
14. Valuables – Don’t bring any that aren’t essential and if you have to bring it then always keep them on you. Tent burglary is huge at festivals so keep your valuables on you at all times or don’t bring them. The only things worth stealing at a festival that you should bring is your phone and cash. If you are careless with your phone, then bring an old one with you. I have my old iPhone that I kept when I was upgrading so it still has all the functions of my new one but if I lose it or it gets stolen then all I need to do is cancel my number and put it on a new sim card.
15. Light at the campsite – put your torch underneath or onto a big water bottle for way better light-distro around the tent.
16. Getting to the front of a crowd is not easy at a festival and you have two real choices. You can come in from the side and edge your way in OR you can do what I do and look like you're terrified, scared, and looking for someone – by doing this people are more likely to step out of your way and allow you to pass (what? I’m stage trained what do you expect from me?).
17. Hardware - Bin Bags, Cable ties, and duct tape are absolute necessities to bring with you. The bin bags have multiple functions like an emergency poncho, protecting your stuff if there is a leek, clearing your campsite, and for sitting on if it’s raining. The duct tape is for holes in the tent or when something breaks like a chair or table. The cable ties are for when things break like your tent rings, bag, or tying things to your backpack.
18. Folding chair – I cannot emphasise how much you will want one when you are at the campsite. You will spend a lot of time at your campsite drinking before you go into the arena and being uncomfortable on the ground is not what you want to be. A folding chair can be as cheap as a fiver, and can be tied to your backpack with cable ties. Trust me when I say sitting in your chair after all the tents are pitched and you take a sip of your first campsite drink is the best feeling.
19. Drinking - Smuggling drink into the arena has gotten very creative over the years but at the same time I feel if you can’t afford to buy drinks then you probably shouldn’t be going to a festival. We all smuggle in a few if we can mainly because the queues at the bar are madness so what I suggest doing is buying miniature travel shampoo bottles (the empty ones) and stuffing them in your bra or knickers. Drink as much as you can at your campsite and then when in the arena you will only need a few beers or sips of your bra bottle to top you up. When you do buy drinks buy two at a time and just double fist for a few minutes.
20. Enjoy the festival – that’s why you are there and for every moment that’s difficult there’s 20 brilliant moments to outweigh it. So you haven’t showered in a few days who cares you are still clean. So you haven’t eaten a nutritious meal in days like are you actually crying over lack of carrots? And so what you haven’t slept properly in days you can sleep when you get back to the real world but while you are there allow it to take over and just embrace the whole experience. You chose to go so be there!
and now you know that you can Stay Boujee(ish) xx