Top Ten Festival Tips

Hannah Ralph | Monday, 20 April 2009

Top Ten Festival Tips

We were all festival virgins once and it can be a daunting prospect for newbies. Need to guarantee survival and make your first festival experience an awesome one? Then here's everything you need to seal the deal and bag yourself the highlight of you're summer season.  

Whether getting there by car/train/bus, GET THERE EARLY. By car, you can expect a queue the length of ten footie pitches on the way in. Always good to book train tickets in advance and reserve seats as trains get packed with festival-goers. The festival puts a bus on from the train station for no more than a tenner – unless you fancy the trek!

Walking from the car/bus into the site can seem like a mission, the long slog to the camp site is easily the most stressful part of any festival, so use your noggin and pack cleverly. Suitcases are an absolute no (believe me it has been seen!) or anything with wheels that can get stuck in the mud. A proper rucksack that's big enough to squeeze all of your stuff into will be perfect. Leave your hands free to balance (or carry the crate of beer!).

Glastonbury, like a lot of festivals, has a 'no glass' policy. Any found during bag spot-checks will be confiscated by the pesky stewards. So decant all your liquids into plastic bottles before you enter and spoil the after party for the glass police.

Before pitching your tent in the first empty spot you can find and cracking open a can, have a quick think to why the area is vacant! Too close to the pathways means you could be on the edge of a potential land-slide... or double check just where the toilets are. They may be convenient, but regrettably close after the thousand people that use them have been drinking and eating dodgy burgers the night before!

Wellies, wellies, wellies. Everybody knows that British summer = rain. So chuck on the newly fashionable footwear, squeeze a thin waterproof jacket into your bag, wear a stupid hat so your mates can recognise you at a distance and you're ready to get muddy!

Follow the noise in the morning and you'll be led into the main arena. Thousands of people crammed into a field can make the initial outlook somewhat daunting! Although pricey, grab a lanyard between a few of you to share. From this you can see the line up from each day, a map of the arena and where all the stages are. Pick your fave bands to see, a 'lost-spot' for those with no sense of direction and locate your nearest watering hole. Done.

Whether you're tee total or a beer monster – all the singing, dancing and fingers crossed sunshine is guaranteed to bring on a thirst. Whatever your tipple, you will be queuing to get it. If it's a pint of the good stuff you're after, you'll have to buy vouchers first and go to a separate bar to exchange for drinks. If you're planning on a boozy weekend, the best bet is to stock up on vouchers first so you can take a trip to the bar whenever you like.

As you can imagine, thousands of people that haven't washed for a few days can be a little errrm... whiffy. To replace the shower, a bumper pack of wet wipes are the way forward. A collapsible water carrier will only need one or two visits to the free on-site tap and has multi uses, for washing, drinking and brushing teeth (or keeping drinks cold). Antibacterial hand-wash is a godsend, especially after a trip to the portaloo!

Thousands of people, thousands of tents, thousands of pounds. It is an impossible task for security to keep track of every activity going on in the campsites and arena. Keep valuables on you, even if it means going retro and getting a bum-bag-esque waist belt. Even stuff the important bits at the bottom of your sleeping bag at night – if people want to take your things then you're going with them! Keep the number for NHS direct handy too, just in case. The number is 0845 4647.

Most importantly - HAVE FUN. Everybody will forget something, everybody will get lost or stuck in the mud at some point and everybody will be equally as smelly as each other. At the end of the day, you're there to have a good time, embrace the music and whole atmosphere of being at a music festival. ENJOY!