So, you’ve booked your first festival, or you’re thinking of booking one, and both the excitement and nerves have kicked in. I’ve been to many festivals over the past few years, and think I’ve picked up some good tips along the way. Therefore, thought I would put together this first-time festival survival guide, from what to pack and wear to where to camp and what time you should get there!
This really depends on personal preference. Rule of thumb, pints are around £5, spirit & mixer is around £8 and a good meal is probably £10. It depends on how much you want to drink and how much you want to eat! Most festivals you can’t take alcohol into the arenas, so you’re forced to buy drinks. You can work out how much you’ll by how much you drink, I’d say around £50 a day is probably a good shout!
All festivals will have an ATM, meaning you can take out more money if needed. There does tend to be a charge of a few pounds, so you can club together with some friends if you do need to withdraw cash. Many stalls are also accepting cards now too, which is handier!
One of the best things about going to a festival is the fashion, I feel like you can go a bit extra when you’re at a festival and wear something you wouldn’t usually wear.
Although I love playsuits, jumpsuits, and unitards, they aren’t always practical! I recently went to Glastonbury and had a playsuit and unitard planned for two of the days. Although they looked great, it was a bit of a nightmare having to go into the portable toilets and having to take EVERYTHING off to go. So, if it’s your first festival be aware that it can be very annoying!
I’m a bit obsessed with co-ords at the moment, they look great (less thinking has to go into them!) and they’re a lot more practical!
I’ve had a few trolleys in the past, but the wheels have been too small and have got caught up in wood chippings or wedged with grass and mud. The wheels on a granny trolley are a lot bigger, and there’s more room in them too, winner winner!
Honestly, you’ll thank me if this is the only thing you take from my guide! The walk from the car park to the campsite tends to be quite long; therefore, it can be very challenging and if you’ve packed too much, then it’s going to be a lot harder. Don’t pack more than you need, else you’ll regret it! I have written a guide as to what to pack for a festival, which you can read here. At many festivals, once you’re into the festival, you can’t go back to your car, so you’ll need to do it all in one!
This is a bit of an obvious one, but could make or break your trip! If it’s going to be scorching weather and you’ve forgotten sun cream, that burn will be a nightmare! If the heavens are due to open and you’ve forgotten your wellies, prepare for dealing with cold, wet and muddy feet!
Pack a lightweight coat (Primark have some great ones for cheap!), lots of warm, clean socks and a hat!
This is going to be different to every festival. My suggestion, don’t camp too close to the arenas or stages, it can get loud and you’re more likely to get trampled on, or have someone fall onto of your tent! My second suggestion, don’t camp too close to the toilets. You don’t want to be miles away, but portable toilets absolutely REEK, you do not want to be smelling shit for three or more days!
Again, this will differ with every festival. All the festivals I’ve been too I’ve got there quite early, like as the gates open. I wouldn’t suggest arriving hours before the gates open, as you’ll be sat around for a while when you could be in the comfort of your own home! On the other hand, you also don’t want to arrive late, as camping spots fill up, if you’re with a group, you may struggle to find an area for all your tents! And you’re on holiday (sort of!), so make the most of getting there when it’s open!
Remember, most festivals don’t allow glass. This doesn’t just apply to alcohol bottles, this also covers foundation bottles, eyebrow containers, mirrors, nail varnishes.. the list goes on! Security will confiscate it, and you do not want them to throw away your brand new bottle of Estee Lauder Double Wear!
Writing from experience…! I’ve done this on more than one occasion, it’s the excitement of not being at work and being free. But, you will pay for it! I can count three times I’ve drunk a little too much on the first day.
I once fell asleep with my side of the tent open and someone stole my bumbag. Waking up with a raging hangover when you’re in a boiling hot tent, is not the one, especially on the first day!
We’ll start with the toilets, most festivals will have portable toilets. The queues can be long, they will smell horrendous and there will rarely be toilet roll. Prepare to wait and if you really need to go, don’t leave it too late! Also, make sure you take toilet roll around with you (or pack some tissues in your bumbag!) and some hand sanitiser!
Many festivals you’ll have to pay extra for showers and if not, the queues tend to be quite long for showers. It’s up to you whether you’d like to pay for the luxury of showers or stand in a queue for an hour or so. I shower twice a day normally when I go to a festival, I skip the showers and just freshen up in other ways, for example, using shower sheets! It’s really not that bad and that first shower back in your home will be heavenly!
Especially during the first few days at a festival, you’ll find that people will go around and rob peoples tents. I’ve heard stories of it happening and also as I mentioned before, my bumbag was stolen. To keep your stuff safe, ensure everything of value to you is on you. People just want to steal your money, nothing else!
Many people say to spread your money across your tent in different areas, but my recommendation is to sleep with your bumbag on with your money in. You’ll most definitely feel if someone is trying to touch your bumbag!
I felt a little anxious at the thought of someone coming into my tent, even though I’d sleep with everything on. It was the thought of someone coming in and sleeping through it. I purchased some little handbag bells from eBay (they were around £2) which you can put onto the zips of your tent, which will jingle if someone tries to get in!
With so many people in a place, phone signal can be crap! You may not be able to rely on your phone to contact someone. So, if you want to see an act which your friend doesn’t organise a meeting spot and time before departing, so you aren’t left wandering around alone!
I hope this first-time festival survival guide has given you some key takeaways so that you can be fully prepared for your first festival and enjoy yourself! I’ve been to many festivals over the past few years; therefore, have picked up on many little quirks! Do you have any tips for first-time festival goers? Let me know in the comments ??
I'm Kim, Head of Social Media by day, Travel & Lifestyle blogger by night 👩🏽💻 Love festivals, shopping, cheesecake & glitter 🌍✨