By: Flora Dallas, Fat Lama
It’s that time of the year again, spring is in the air and people are waking up the idea of planning their summer holidays, which is why it’s important to note that festival tickets are going on sale - and selling fast. So if you haven’t yet decided between Electric Zoo, Electric Daisy Carnival and Electric Forest we suggest you do so now. With over 32 million people attending festivals in the US alone, it’s good to get ahead of the crowds and organise your holiday now. With this hurdle out the way, you can crack on with planning your summer fun. Here are some great tips to bear in mind as you make your plans.
A person’s home is their castle or so the saying goes… well, the same applies to your tent. It might seem decadent, but marking your tent out with a flag will save you lots of time (that could otherwise be spent reveling) relocating your bed. BONUS TIP: Pitching near an identifiable feature is a good move as well - an inflatable, a lit up tree, marquee, whatever (probably not the loos though - that’s not a good plan).
You might go into the festival with few plans to spend much time sleeping, but at some point, even the most hardcore partiers will need to rest their heads somewhere. The best course of action here is to invest in a bigger tent than you think you need. You might think you can get by on the cheapest pop-up but if you want to maintain stamina for the whole time you are best off making sure you are comfortable. A big tent allows you to have room for you AND your stuff which you will thank me for if it starts to rain. If you constricted by budget in this respect, should consider renting a large tent or even camper van (at a much lower cost) on peer-to-peer rental sites like Fat Lama.
It’s one thing to put all your possessions in a bin bag and hope for the best, they will probably be fine unless they rip or someone accidentally throws them away… much better to invest in a dry-bag as a more reliable choice. Good weather is not guaranteed at all festivals and it only takes one poorly pitched tent to result in you and your possessions being flooded out. If you hope to own at least one dry pair of pants and some intact food, be careful and put your essentials in a fully waterproof bag.
In the case of swelteringly hot summer festivals (or severe hangovers) you will want to have easy access to a plentiful supply of water. However, in your moment of need, you are likely to be stung by the practice if festival retailers of throwing away the lid to your water as they sell it to you. This is very annoying. Defy the system and take your own water bottle caps to prevent yourself having to either down it in one or carry it around precariously for the rest of the day.
Old festival hands will not require me to explain the value of these items, however, if you are a newbie I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important these items are. In the absence of showers and running water, baby wipes will become your primary means of washing yourself, your possessions and your tent. The hand sanitizer, on the other hand, will be your best friend when you eventually have to visit the porterloos!
I know this goes against everything you thought you ever knew, but head torches and bumbags are ’in’ - or at least they are in the world of festival fashion. The head torch will be your headlight (literally) to guide you home at night and prevent you walking into the wrong person’s tent (it happens). It is also very useful as a light for your tent. BONUS TIP: Stick it in a plastic milk bottle for extra glow. The benefit of the bumbag is obvious, you can carry about your vital items whilst keeping your hands free for eating, drinking and dancing - ideal!
The last thing you want to taint your memories of a great holiday is the frustration of having lost or broken a high-value phone. This will be doubly annoying if said phone also has all your pictures on it. A festival is a great time to embrace ‘the old school’ and invest in a cheap alternative phone that won’t financially cripple you if it breaks and is less appealing to steal. If you will miss your camera phone most, then why not take along a disposable camera as well - it’s retro and will sharpen your mind about which picture you take when you only have 20-odd to choose from.
I think it’s safe to say that almost any problem at a festival can be solved by duct tape. Broken tentpole: duct tape. Leak in your wellies: duct tape. Very loud tent-mate: duct tape (just kidding). But seriously though, it will help you out in a surprisingly large number of situations. BONUS TIP: If you are packing light, wrap a supply around a water bottle and leave the big roll at home.
To avoid blowing all your budget on festival food stall, it’s a wise move to pack some essential supplies so you can at least have the option of intaking some vaguely healthy food. I know it seems unlikely now, but if you are there for a long time you will eventually tire of a 100% fries based diet. Pack some fruit and some breakfast foods for reserve - it will give you (and your finances) a welcome break at some point.
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice in this list. The practicalities of where to sleep and eat pale in comparison to your real goal which is to see the music! In order to make sure that you make the most of your time at the festival, do not linger at the back of the crowd or spend hours getting in position, try this key tip instead. The pincer movement. You will get to the front far quicker if you go down the side of the crowd and then move inwards when you are parallel with the front.