Sunday, 4 March 2012

How To Survive Festival Season
 The well-anticipated arrival of March this week sees us saying  farewell to the doom and gloom of Winter (hopefully), and the sudden realization that Summer really is just around the corner. For us music lovers, the summer can only mean one thing; it's festival season!

But whether you're an experienced festival goer, or a total newbie; it's important that you know what you're getting yourself into in order to make the most out of your experience.

This is my 'How To' guide, on surviving festival season.

1. Do a bit of research beforehand

We've all done it; been so excited about an event, splashed out our remaining overdraft on an over-priced ticket, only to find out it's in a remote part of Lincolnshire, and we don't have a car. No? Just me then, (true story). So my first piece of advice is to find out the nitty gritty before you hand over the cash;

Where is it?  How long is it for?  Can I afford it?  Who's performing?

Many festival organisers have cottoned on to the fact that us students aren't great at saving, and give the option of paying for your ticket in instalments, so that's something worth thinking about. Also many offer packages with travel included. 

If you're still stuck on how to travel to your destination, bus company National Express offer a service to various festivals in the UK. All coaches have toilets on them too, so it's a win win.

2. Make a tick list

It might seem like the obvious thing to do, but you really don't want to face the wilderness of a festival field without proper ammunition. Make a tick list before you go, or ask someone to help you check off your supplies to make sure you're fully prepared. It'll also prevent you from rummaging in your bag at the gates for the tickets you've left on the kitchen table! Here's my own tick list of basics to give you an idea:

  • Tickets - obviously essential
  • Money - just enough to cover the basics like cider and burgers, but not too much - there'll be ATM's on site.
  • Toilet roll & baby wipes - self explanatory
  • Tent and sleeping bag - this will be your home from home for the next few nights 
  • Wellies and waterproofs - because as much as we pray for sun, there is a very great chance of mud and puddles
  • Torch - going to a festival with no torch is a real rookie mistake; tent pegs are very good at camouflage when it's dark!
  • Sun cream / hat / sunglasses - because it's never a good idea to get sun-stroke 
  • Disposable camera - just in case you lose your expensive one
  • Some form of ID 
Have a look at the recommendations from last year's Isle of Wight festival visitors.

3. Pack light

It may seem like a hard task, given the long list of items you'll need with you at a festival, but it's important to remember that you're going to have to lug your possessions with you to the  camp site. That extra outfit might have seemed like a good idea when you were at home or on the bus, but when you're dragging your bag through muddy fields to get to your tent pitch you might think differently!
Also, it's important to remember, with thousands of other festival goers around you at all times, you're going to have to keep an eye on your stuff; the less stuff you have, the easier it is to keep it safe!

If you really do have to bring that extra pair of shoes though, there is another option. Some UK festivals now offer a service called 'Barrow Buddies'. It's a service that lets you hire light-weight wheel-barrows for a small fee, to help you transport your clobber from car park to campsite - easy!

4. Budget

So you've got your ticket, you've saved up throughout the summer, and the day has finally arrived; don't spend all your cash on the first day! Festivals are well-known for their wide array of amazing food and craft stalls, and it can be a huge temptation to blow your whole budget on the first afternoon on a pair of tie-dye hareem pants. Well don't. 

It's no secret that festivals can be expensive, and in reality you're looking at spending about a tenner on a meal, about three times a day. However, by stocking up on non-perishable foods like baguettes, fruit, pasties before you arrive, you could save yourself a few quid; just make sure you don't crush all your food on the way in! You can also bring in your own alcohol too, but there are rules so make sure you don't get caught out smuggling a load in, you will be asked to drink it before you enter, and that could make for a bad start to your weekend.
Once you're at the festival, a good idea to do is to set yourself a daily budget and stick to it, as hard as it might seem to resist that £8 rollover hot dog for your midnight munchies, it will be worth it, and if on the last day you find yourself with a bit of left-over shrapnel, you can treat yourself to those hareem pants after all. 

The other option for saving money is to opt into a day ticket instead. Festivals like Wakestock in Cardigan Bay offer a ticket for just one day of the festival, meaning you can enjoy the same atmosphere and music, without the smelliness and the extra cost!
5. Make the most of it

There really is so much to do at festivals, and with many stages and hundreds of different acts and artists performing, it's important that you get up, shake off your hangovers and get stuck in!

 Try not to plan too much; if you're struggling to keep to a tight schedule of artists and performances it might become a bit stressful and you might not enjoy yourself as much as you should.

Of course if you want to see someone in particular, make sure you don't miss it, but if you've got a spare few hours in the day, have a wander round and soak up the festival atmosphere - you might just find something  new and unusual that becomes your new favourite thing!

So there we have it, that was my 'How To' guide on surviving this year's festival season. Wales has loads of great festivals this year, like Wakestock, Beach Break , Greenman and Swn just to name a few, so best get planning!

If you think I've left anything out, or want to add any tips and comments of your own, feel free to send a comment below.


  1. Love this post. As a festival go-er this tick list will be really helpful!

  2. This post is amazing. My friends and i say every year that we are going to hit a festival and i am still to see the day!! But it is on my things to do before i die list (and stands pretty high up in priorities too). the whole group of my friends would be total newbie's to the world of festivals and i am only glad that i stumbled across this guide before my first ever one because i would be totally unprepared!! one things for sure, when the time eventually comes and we hit our first festival, i will inevitably be returning to this page beforehand to make sure i got everything i need!! :D


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