It's here again. It's festival season! And we're going to give you a realistic and honest guide to what to bring and what not to bring to festivals this year.
We are tired of seeing unrealistic festival guides, written by people who have probably never attended a festival that goes on longer than two days and have an unlimited bank account. This festival guide is designed to hopefully help you to look and feel less like a startled-hippy-zombie during your festival experience. It's for new festival goers who may not know what to expect, and for serial festival goers, who now have 20% mud, sweat and beer in their blood.
FOOD An important first thing to ask yourself when buying food to take to the festival - can it get squashed easily? Remember when your mum or dad told you to take lots of food before your first festival? And you rebelled and didn't take any because "all you need is alcohol", and then you suffered for five days getting ripped-off on the £7 burgers? Well, you were wrong and they were right. Whether it's your first or 50th festival, we suggest you take light, sustainable food. So anything which can be kept out of a fridge and it's virtually unsquashable (for instance, tough biscuits - breakfast biscuits are perfect).
BAGS + CARRYING HEAVY ITEMS You've just arrived at the festival, you want and need a good camping spot. There's always that friend who suddenly comes completely incapable of carrying a bag on their back. And they're moaning and whining, and however much support and encouragement you're trying to give them "come on, not far now, we're nearly there" you're running very low on patience and empathy. The camping spots are quickly running out and you need your friend to shut the hell up and help you look for the remaining glimpses of sprouting grass to squash with your oversized tents. Now this is going to sound too organised for your festival-going spontaneous brains, but listen up, as you will thank us for this - chip in for a trolly or small trailer for your bags. Every year those trollies pass the festival hikers with ease and they feel nothing but jealousy as they struggle up the never-ending hill. If you just go and have a look online, or in any camping shop, or even the festival-prepared supermarkets you will find these extremely handy pull-along trailers, and you'll be so grateful once your in your camping spot and your tent is up and you're instantly ready to get up and get involved, rather than having to take your usual lie-down after the long haul to the campsite!
DON'T BRING UMBRELLAS Seriously. You are not going to make any friends if you bring one of those bin-lid-shaped objects into a crowd, and blocking at least the row of festival goers behind you. Bring an umbrella if you're going to use it only in the daytime, getting from A to B. But once you're at crowd A or B put the damn thing down. Think how annoyed you get at people putting their phones up to record an artist at a concert. No matter how much it's raining, an umbrella is like 50 iPhones glued together, stuck up into the air, blocking the entirety of the stage from your view. But make sure you do bring rain coats and sturdy wellies.
ALCOHOL We all know how expensive alcohol is in the arena. "Blimey! That warm lager was a b***dy fiver, and John's just fallen into me and spilt the f***ing thing all over me!" Yes, the price of booze at festivals is a rip off. We know that already. Get over it. Some festivals, Glastonbury for example, let you take in your own alcohol, so take advantage of it. Get the cheap version of your favourite spirit and some cans to keep you going when you're hanging round the tent and don't have the energy or will power to move for half an hour. We suggest also taking a couple of different plastic containers for the spirit and mixer. Normal 500ml water bottles are great, and hip flasks are perfect for a little, warming top up now and then.
FANCY DRESS Crazy clothes and random bits and bobs are a must. It has been proven that being covered in glitter, wearing loud and patterned items of clothing, covered in face paint and wearing a holey straw hat you found next to your tent actually makes you happier and livelier. Ok, it hasn't actually been proven scientifically - surprisingly no one's bothered to find out whether a festival goer is happier before or after they're covered in glitter and fancy dress. But when you're on your fourth unwashed day at a festival, you've slept a total of six hours and you're in a queue for a limp bacon roll you really do need that uplifting moment when you look around you and notice that everyone is in such random, mismatched items of clothing. One girl's in a pirate hat, one guy has his skirt tucked into his pants, and there's a old hippy guy in front of you with long, dangly earrings. It really does cheer you up! Festivals are a rare 'anything-goes' paradise, and you should take full advantage of that! So start digging around the house for random items of fancy dress, and get them in that backpack! Being able to laugh at yourself is a fantastic personality trait!
CLOTHING I know you want to look constantly photo-ready, so you can put them up on every single social networking site and boast to your friends about that hilarious time your friend fell asleep with her face in the mud or the time you met Miles-sleazeball-Kane in the crowd. Or the time you met that "really hot" girl or guy, but the beer goggles well and truly deceived you, and they looked more like Sloth from The Goonies. There really is no point in planning special trips to the shops to buy some nice silk dresses, expensive tops or shoes. After one day they're going to be covered in unidentifiable gunk and your going to wish you just bought old clothes. There's no point in trying to spend hours every morning of the festival trying to trick people into thinking you just have a better alcohol tolerance and better stamina than them. Let's face it, humans weren't created to withstand five days of drinking and jumping and sleep-deprivation, but we're going to give it our best shot anyway! So I strongly suggest bringing old, random items of clothing, that you don't mind getting covered in mud and sweat and possibly tears (of joy).
LOO ROLL Loo roll. Now if you've taken our (wonderful) advice and are going to get a trolly or trailer then this will be no problem. But seriously, the only time those excretion pits has any loo roll is midday Wednesday; after that you're on your own! And after you stumble into a plastic poo tardis and you've done your business it'll all be too late! The small, plastic-packaged tissues are perfect. Just make sure you've got a pack on you in your pocket and you'll be ready for anything. Because, let's face it, the worst festival downer is having to ask for some over-the-counter laxatives in the festival shop.
DRY SHAMPOO This really does deserve its own category. Now, you're going to look like a greasy, puffy, post-apocalyptic zombie after a couple of days. And although I would advise taking a small mirror, just to check you don't have a mud streak across your cheek, I would brace yourselves for the worst before looking into it. And maybe you are naturally beautiful and can withstand the wind, rain, sun and intoxication redness, but most of us can't, so we need help. Your hair is going to be greasy, and dry shampoo will dry it out and make it smell slightly cleaner, creating the illusion that you...well, you've sprayed dry shampoo on it. Everyone knows you haven't washed your hair.
You will need a few other things to keep you going. These include, lip balm to relive dry lips, baby wipes, carrier bags/bin bags to sit on and for various other occasions, extra pants to make you feel slightly drier and cleaner, thick socks for wellies and cold nights, plasters for drunken falls into tent pegs, don't forget your tent pegs and waterproof tent for that matter, moisturiser, Berocca for your vitamin top-up, bottles of water - you're going to be very dehydrated.
We're at the end of this festival guide! Well, have an amazing time and make sure you don't take any expensive phones, cameras or anything else that people may want to steal. Keep your cash safe and never flash it around.
Festivals are one of the most enjoyable experiences a human being can have. So get prepared with this guide and enjoy it as much as possible!
For a more thorough and sensible festival guide, click here: http://www.festivalsurvivalguide.com/pre-festival-to-do-list
And for festival weather, click here: http://festiweather.com/index.asp