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  • Erin Bashford

Livewire's Festival Survival Guide


So, it’s the season of festivals. Imagine this, you’re in a field for 5 or so days. The only toilets are long-drops and your duvet has been replaced by a polyester sleeping bag. Sounds like hell? Not in the slightest.

Festivals can be daunting for your first-timer. My first festival was Glastonbury, aged 17, so I threw myself in the deep end. In retrospect, a bold move. A somewhat stupid move. I blame my parents, for letting me go by myself.

Two hundred bands across fifty stages, the festival advertises. Yeah, but how? DJ sets until 5am? How? Wearing glitter and flower crowns for the better part of a week? Disappointed, but not surprised. Livewire’s festival survival guide is here to help you navigate a major festival.

First up is logistics before the festival. This feels glaringly obvious, but book your travel in advance. Do the travel part before anything else. Most festivals have official partner coaches--check the festival website. Glastonbury do partners with National Express, Latitude have connections with Big Green Coach, as do Reading & Leeds. Most festivals are in the middle of nowhere, and don’t have options for close train stations. But It’s worth shopping around to make sure you’re getting the best deal as well, as sometimes shuttle-buses from nearby train stations are cheaper than direct coaches.

Next up is pre-festival shopping. You’re going to need quite a few things. Obviously, you need a tent, sleeping bag, roll mat, and camping backpack. Getting all these first is a must. A cheap pop-up tent is fine, as long as it’s not going to rain. Otherwise you might get a bit damp.

Buy yourself some loo roll (most festivals do have loo roll for sale, but the price is ridiculously hiked), wet wipes, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, plastic bags, maybe even a sparkly bum-bag. My favourite festival food is dried fruit, nuts, and crackers. Boring, yeah, but when festival food trucks charge around a tenner per meal, it’s a necessity. Don’t forget some tinnies as well if you’re a drinker, as a pint at a festival makes my stomach turn, and that’s before I’ve even drunk it. I haven’t got £6 for a beer, and I’m sure you don’t, either.

Plan who you’re going to see, when, and where. Usually, festivals have their own app you can make a personalised schedule from. Do this a few days in advance, and you can relax during the actual festival. Don’t forget to look at the camping areas on the map as well, and plan where you’re going to pitch your tent--some festivals have campsites in amongst the stages, and some have designated campsites and stage arenas.

And please, for the love of god, check the weather forecast. If it’s going to rain, take some wellies and a nice waterproof coat. Don’t do what I did my first year of Glastonbury and take a fashion poncho for rain, because I didn’t look cool, I just got very, very wet, and very, very miserable. Take a real coat.

On the day of the festival, possibly the most obvious thing is keep your ticket in a safe place. Perhaps put it in one of the side pockets of your bag, or in your purse. When you arrive at the festival, you’ll need to have it to hand for a while, so in somewhere you can easily grab. Once you’ve got through the gates and you’re in, head straight towards where you’ve decided to camp, find a good (shade if it’s sunny, high up (just NOT in a dip, please, not in a dip) if it’s rainy) spot, and pitch your tent. I assume you’ll have practised at home a few times; if you haven’t, I can’t help you.

There’s no specific way to enjoy a festival! Go to everything you want to go to, but don’t be afraid to just relax sometimes. I know it’s nice making use of your £200 ticket by seeing every single band on, but look after yourself as well. Perhaps go and see someone you would never have normally been interested in, you might surprise yourself.

The toilets aren’t that bad. Just do it.

Have a proper meal at least once a day. Yeah it’s expensive but you need to feed yourself properly, otherwise you’ll just crash. Find a food vendor that does great tea, and make it your morning staple. Just fyi, charging more than £1.50 for a cup of tea is a rip off. Stay hydrated! I feel like a mother.

The main advice is simply enjoy yourself. It’s a holiday. Make it worth it, but also don’t be afraid to sleep in.

Once you’re home, have a sleep. Eat something green, have a hot shower, and have a proper sleep. Wash all the festival grime off and really savour that feeling of being super clean. Then sleep until Tuesday morning, I promise you it’s worth it. It’ll be the best sleep of your life, after one of the best weekends of your life.