It’s nearly festival season!
Seasoned festival goer Ketki Chowdhury gives us her top tips for festival goers.
Location, Location, Location!
When it comes to picking your festival camping location, you have to be a bit like Goldilocks. Not too far, not too close, not by the loos, but far enough away from the bar. Think about how you arrange your tents. If there are a couple tents of friends, you could make a right angle to pitch your tents? It might just stop someone from getting in your space and give you some breathing space.
There are some great cheap tents out there, ideal for a festival, so don’t waste money on an expensive one. I don’t think any of my tents really have survived the journey home. They are damp, smelly, and usually missing something. I read recently about the new cardboard tents they look fab. Apparently you can colour them in too. So, we’ll be trialling ours this summer. Don’t rely on tech to find your tent, it will inevitably fail put up a landmark that will help you and others find their way back.
Share the responsibility with your friends in being the ‘sensible one’ that helps you wobble back to your tent; and won’t let you do anything you might regret in the morning (like ringing your boss and telling them you a) love them b) hate them c) stole the Christmas treats). Shaz and I share this, one night I get to go mental the next night, I have to be the grown up! Shaz did save me from telling my then boss what I really thought of him (not pretty).
Just don’t take your tech with you. Unless you are a festival journalist, do you need to take your laptop, tablet and phone? Chances are you won’t get a signal anyway! So don’t take your brand-new phone, you’ll either a) drop in the mud, b) drop in the port-a-loo or c) have nicked. Go old school and be at the meeting point at the time you agree. It saves wasted time and arguments.
Anything you take make sure you it’s in a clear zip-lock bag. Then it’s waterproof. I have a festival wallet that hangs around my neck inside my shirt. It means I can only carry a small amount of stuff. I really don’t need my supermarket points card at that moment.
Let’s be honest here, festvial organisers have a captive market when it comes to food and drink and its’ not cheap. Before you go stock up on protein bars, dried fruit, nuts, cakes, crisps – make sure you have your fave midnight snacks! You probably aren’t going to get your five a day, but one weekend isn’t going to derail your eating plan or cause lasting damage. Stick to stuff in packets that you can bin as you go. It’s really distressing when back from an awesome band in the rain, picking up a tube of pringles the wrong way around midnight, when you are ankle deep in mud. Don’t take glass bottles they’ll have them off you, but gin in a plastic bottle is much lighter to carry!
Wear layers. You know great British Summer isn’t that predictable. So, I have a wardrobe of festival clothes, some have great memories others are just cheap and cheerful, but only take clothes you aren’t really bothered about and some cheap wellies (wellington boots). I avoid jeans they are a bugger to dry when it rains. But I do love me some shorts, and chinos they are so much easier to dry. I always have flip flops, wellies and trainers with me.
I met an ex-solider a few years ago, who said we only need two sets of clothes, one dry and one wet. I thought he was mad, but apparently not. Sleep in the dry clothes and put the wet ones back on in the day, if it’s bucketing it down. Keep the dry ones dry.
Other random stuff I take to festivals, other than condoms, tampons, ear-plugs, water proofs, dry shampoo, wet wipes (no way I’m wasting time in the line for a cold shower) and loo roll is a decent mattress, pillow and a warm sleeping bag. For too many years running, have I been barely able to stand from sleeping on my yoga mat under a t-shirt. Get a decent inflatable mattress, Shaz and I shared a double one last year, with a couple of thick sleeping bags. It made a massive difference. A couple of dry-sacs for when it inevitably throws it down. Oh and your dancing shoes!