Won’t lie, I’ve been to a few festivals and had varying experiences. Some have been mind-blowing ‘best weekend of my life’ events, others have ended in rain and tears. (I’m a crier, what can I say?!)
What I have learnt however, is that planning ahead can save a whole HOST of hassle and stress! It can make things run more smoothly, improve your experience and save you money.
1. Plan ahead – don’t go half prepared. You need that camping kit
Don’t want to carry that extra roll mat to pop under your sleeping bag? Think that it’s ridiculous to bring that extra rain cover for the tent?
Bring them. Bring them all! You never know what will happen, and if you‘re going to be spending 4 nights lying in an English field then you need to bring suitable camping equipment. Otherwise you will be utterly miserable. Trust me.
2. Bring wellies
Standard festival guidance here, but can’t stress it enough. These are utterly essential. Wet feet are never conducive to a good time.
3. Bring food and drink – festival prices are hyped!
Opinion is divided on this, I know. On the one hand you don’t want to be the miserable fun-sucker eating egg and cress sandwiches in your tent whilst everyone else is out ‘experiencing the vibe’. On the other hand, you also don’t want to pay 8 quid for a lukewarm pot of noodles 3 times a day.
Just compromise. Festival food is expensive, so if you can shore yourself up for a few days on muesli bars, fruit, and any other things you can bring from home, they can help supplement the festival food. That way you don’t spend a ridiculous amount of cash on food but you also don’t miss out on savouring some of the yummy stuff.
4. Stay safe
Listen to your friends, stick together, and don’t take any risks that you wouldn’t take on an ordinary night out. Festivals are essentially a collection of thousands of happy, fun loving, drunk people, so a lot of the time you will be absolutely fine. However, there’s always that minority who do not have your best interests at heart. Stay savvy.
5.Don’t bring anything you love
It’s a festival, you’re there to have fun, not to catch up on Netflix. Don’t bring your iPad, your brand new phone, or your laptop. You don’t need them! If you can, try and bring a battered old phone whose demise you won’t mourn if you drop it in a mud filled puddle.
6. Research the bands so you know some of their stuff
Sounds silly, and maybe you’re a total music nut who knows every performer going. However, if you’re like me and are a bit slow on the musical uptake, then doing a bit of research and listening to a few headliner’s classic albums before you go can really enhance your enjoyment of it. It’s always more fun singing along to tunes you know, rather than awkwardly nodding along at the back.
7. Learn all that there is on offer
Festivals aren’t all about the music! Latitude offers great stand-up comedy tents, and you can get up and do yoga classes at Secret Garden Party. There’s loads of activities on offer so make sure you have a good look around and see all the things you can experience.
8. Always always always plan travel
(and this is England so always have a travel plan B)
Sure, getting to the Isle of Wight is as easy as 1-2-3. However, when there’s 100,000 OTHER people also wanting to get on the same ferry on the same day as you, it gets more complicated.
Always do your research; how many different ways are there of getting to your destination? What’s the cheapest, the most reliable, and the most comfortable?
Bear in mind that for many different reasons things can go awry – road works can throw of bus routes, rail works can delay trains, and traffic jams can cause you to sit stationary on the M25 for what feels like your entire adult life.
If you can, always figure out a backup. I’m not saying buy tickets for every mode of transport possible, but just be aware of other ways you can get there and get home in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
9. Rekky your tent neighbours.
Can’t tell you how important this is. Choose wisely, and pitch up next to a bunch of likeminded funsters, you’re going to have a great weekend. Even if you don’t become best mates, you’re all there for the same reason and you want the same vibe from your weekend. Choose poorly, and end up with people around you who are on a totally different wavelength, then things could get aggro, messy, and make you stressed out and miserable.
10. Make a budget for the whole weekend!
I KNOW I SOUND BORING! But this is something that I tend to do and it makes the whole event so much more chilled out for me. (Maybe that says more about me….)
If I go there with a general idea of what I want to spend, and what I can afford to spend whilst I’m there, then it means I’m not constantly stressing about how much things cost. I know what my budget is and so I can just get on with enjoying the festival.