So festival season is well and truly ready to go, with Glastonbury kicking off as you read this, and Download having taken place a couple of wet weekends ago. Having watched a few people's Instagram/Snapchat stories, and survived Download (2015 and 2019, the wettest I've ever been) I thought I'd write something to help you avoid making some of the errors I've already seen this year.
Let's start with the basics.
When you go to a festival, never, EVER assume that the weather will be as the forecast tells you. Pack for all eventualities and cover yourself. As most of you who read this will be attending festivals in the UK, please, you should know this. If it says sunshine, it's probably going to rain. If it says it's going to rain, well, chances are, it's already raining and likely won't stop at all. You never know. Take waterproofs, take shorts, take wellies and take comfy shoes. Cover all of your bases.
Take sunscreen and water. Yes, it might say that there is water on site, but that could mean traipsing across the campsite, tripping over other tents and their lines that (let's face it) are going to be pretty hard to see in the dark without a light (it's worse if you're drunk, believe me, I made that error). Plus, if you're drunk, you aren't going to think about it before you get into your bed for the night. Or at least, take a big container and fill it up on site before you set off.
Sunscreen should be obvious. If, like me, you burn in even the slightest glimpse of sunlight, you'll appreciate that sunburn on day one makes for a not so fun day two or three and you probably run the risk of sunstroke too, which is equally bad, if not worse.
Toilet roll, paracetamol/ibuprofen and Wet wipes. I cannot stress this enough. Festivals are breeding grounds for germs and illnesses. Festival flu is a real thing. As is mud. And hangovers. And toilet horror stories. Take toilet roll, and plenty of it (Don't put your wristband on your wiping hand though). Some festivals don't have the ability or budget to put showers in, so wet wipes will save lives, or at least make you feel a little cleaner. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen will make ease off the headaches that come with hangovers, but so do crisps, electrolyte/isotonic drinks and water.
Oh, take your toothbrush and toothpaste, nobody wants to smell your rancid morning breath. Ever.
Food and Drink
Booze. You won't be allowed glass bottles on the majority of festival sites. But cans of beer or cider are extra weight, and if it's warm, warm booze is grim. Thankfully, the heat won't affect spirits. Decant them into plastic bottles, or pre-mix your drinks at home, cover yourself. Don't carry too much either, that's hard work, that is counter intuitive, as most festivals don't allow you to take drinks into their arenas, where the bars are there to take your money.
You should take biscuits, sweets and crisps. Cereal bars are also a good idea. These will keep your blood sugar up and keep you going. If you are going to take a bbq, make sure you know when your food is cooked, otherwise you'll just make yourself ill, which you really don't want to happen in a field in the middle of nowhere. There are food stalls at festivals, serving hot food, but they can be between £5 and £15 for a decent bit of food, so it's up to you, just be sensible.
Don't overdo yourself, lugging everything plus the kitchen sink to the campsite. Take what you need, not all the luxuries. Tent, clothes, food, drink and basic toiletries. Don't go too hard in the pit, in case you get hurt and spend the rest of the festival limping about in pain. Just be sensible and safe.
Condoms. If you're looking to get laid, or you just want to be safe, carry some with you. Personal preferences aside, contraception is key. I said before, festivals are breeding (no pun intended) grounds for germs, including STDs. The only thing you want to come away with are great memories of a great time, not the clap. Be safe.
DON'T BE A DICK
Yes, you've probably paid to be here, but that's no excuse to be inconsiderate of those around you. Festivals are made by the people, not just the music. Most people are fun and friendly and the majority of people are tolerant of everyone else