Tuesday, 22 August 2017

What really happens at a festival

Festival season Is synonymous with summer isn't it? From the moment Radio1 start harping on about their 'Big Weekend' we know that months of sunshine, barbecues and live music is just wound the corner. Hundreds of thousands of us pack up our tents and go and party away our weekends in muddy fields to catch a glimpse of our favourite bands, and our social media feeds fill up of amazing pictures of these celebrations. It is hard not to get envious while you sing along from the sofa watching it live on BBC3, wine in hand. This year I went to Download, and with festival season coming to a close I'm going to share some of the thoughts we all have at some point over these festivals, (especially if you camp!).

"I NEED to take an outfit for each day, makeup, shoes, food, alcohol, and all my camping gear"
We pack up enough for a small family to survive a month, put it all on our backs, drag it through miles and miles of queues and muddy fields, then probably use less than half of it. In reality we could make things far easier for ourselves by either getting the things we need there (some camping gear isn't too badly priced there - we got a stove and an air bed cheaper than Amazon), or by splitting the load with our friends and sharing when we're there. Try to pack light, honestly you will thank me on the last day.

"Oh my god that organic farm burger sounds delicious"
A lot of the food at festivals actually isn't bad, but boy oh boy is it expensive! We're talking at least £10 per meal, which can end up being hundreds by the end of the weekend. Plus by the Sunday you will likely never want to see fast food again in your life. Food is the one thing I would recommend packing, take some fruit with you and snacks at the very least. For those who are able I would even recommend pre-cooking some meals you can eat cold for at least the first few days. You can get certain things at normal prices within the venue too, sausages, bacon, and bread were all around the same price as a supermarket at download (essentials, of course).

"For the love of god get me water"
At most festivals you're talking £2.50-£3 for a bottle of pop or water, and about the same for a tea or coffee. Take pop with you if that is what you are going to drink, and I really do recommend making your own hot drinks there. What is even easier is taking a bottle of cordial and refilling water bottles each day for free. You can't take open water bottles into the arena, but you can take empty ones. Think savvy.

"These loos are really luxurious"
Ok, nobody has ever had that thought at a festival have they? Take wet wipes, take hand sanitizer, and figure out the best loos to use at each point of the day. The ones in the 'village' and arena are generally cleaned overnight and so are fresh first thing in the morning, the ones in the camping grounds are usually both in the early hours of the morning and the middle of the afternoon (when everyone is watching bands). Use this information wisely.

Get. Quiet. Camping
Seriously, you may not use it when you get there, but if you value your sleep you will need it. I spent one of my nights at download listening to people having camp sing-songs and overhearing paramedics working on a girl that had OD'd at 4am in the morning, while I was desperately trying to sleep off a combination of sun stroke and hangover. Not fun. Yeah, I'd have still had the sun stroke and hangover if I was in quiet camping, but I would have definitely had more chance of recovering from it.

Don't get me wrong here, I don't want to be a 'Debbie downer' in the slightest. I LOVE festivals and am planning on going back again next year, but now I have learnt my lessons and will be going back far better prepared.


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