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Lots of people are packing and getting ready to head down to Leeds & Reading festival this weekend. I’ve been attending Leeds Festival since I was 18 years old…I don’t even want to admit how many years that is! And over the years have been to festivals all over the country. Festivals are amazing fun but quite tough going too. Going to your first festival is so exciting but can be super nerve wracking too as you don’t know what to expect. I have lots of experience and a festival essentials pack from Push Doctor to help me out this year. But for anyone with no experience, here is my guide to surviving your first festival.
A guide to surviving your first festival – planning
Proper planning has to come in to a guide to surviving your first festival.
All of the festivals have different camping zones and each zone has a different atmosphere. Some are the party hotspots, some quieter, some near the stages and some are for families. Work out where you want to be before you get there. It is much easier to get to your camp if you know which car park is nearest. The walk to the site from your car is usually long and your bags are heavy!
Print out a copy of the stage times and sit with your group to work out who everyone wants to see. There is a distance between stages and you don’t want to spend the whole festival running between stages. There will be clashes and you will all either have to compromise or split up. The tents often get full for the headline acts so if you want to see that band get in the tent a set or two earlier. There’s nothing worse than hearing your favourite band start whilst you are stood queuing to get in the tent. The right timing means you can get front of stage if you are lucky.
Have a list of essentials and work out who is bringing what. It saves everyone packing the same things when you can share. Less things = lighter bags.
When you are tent planning choose the right tent. The small pop-up tents look really cute and seem a brilliant idea. They are small, light and super easy to put up. But, from experience, they’re not very good when you realise you AND all your stuff has to sleep in them. And trying to dress yourself laying down just isn’t the easiest thing to do.
A guide to surviving your first festival – packing
What you pack can be the difference between loving your first festival or hating it and never going back. So packing is another important part of my guide to surviving your first festival. Apart from the obvious clothes, tent, sleeping bag, dry shampoo and beers there are things you might not think of.
You WILL need clothes for all weather. This is the UK so sure that pretty, short playsuit and gladiator sandal outfit will look cute but make sure you can add layers. Leggings, long socks, and long sleeve shirts are all great for adding layers. You will need hoodies and thick PJs, even if you are lucky enough to have gorgeous weather it still gets cold once it’s dark. Pack more socks than you think. Wellies will rub, you will get a pint spilt down your leg and you will get muddy. Wellies are not optional. No matter what the forecast is like for the weekend the ground still gets muddy. They also protect your feet from the crowd too.
Roll a waterproof raincoat / poncho up in your bag it doesn’t take up much room or much weight. It’s a lifesaver once the heavens open.
Take a bottle of sun cream and aftersun. If the sun does come out there isn’t any shade.
Pack plenty of bottles of water. Whilst yes you can drink beer for breakfast at a festival you still need to get your 2 litres down you. AND you can brush your teeth with it too.
Hand sanitiser gel and baby wipes are essential. The toilets are disgusting. You will get sticky and dirty and you can’t wash. Just go with it.
Glitter is mandatory at a festival. Take some with you and you will save a fortune not buying it from the stalls there.
Make sure your group has at least one torch. It is such a pain going to the toilets in the middle of the night trying to guess where all the tent ropes are.
If there is a group of your going club together a buy a gazebo. Arrange your tents in a circle with the gazebo in the middle. You now have a sitting area protected from the rain and wind….you’re welcome.
A guide to surviving your first festival – general tips
The battery on your phone won’t last the duration no matter how little you use it. Just enjoy the break from it.
Because of the phone problems ^ have a meeting point with your group. It’s so easy to go to the toilet or bar and not be able to find where everyone is stood again.
If you have time between seeing your favourite bands check out the smaller introducing stages. You can see some amazing bands that you wouldn’t hear otherwise.
As boring and mum-like as it sounds try and pace yourself. You have at least three full days and nights of drinking. Going too hard the first day spoils it for the rest of it.
Festivals are hard work. There is a lot of walking, standing around and little sleep. Everyone is cold, wet, tired and hungover. Moaning about it will just annoy whoever you’re with.
It more than likely will rain. It will be muddy. Slosh through the mud and just take it as part of the festival experience.
You will feel dirty, you’re hair will be a mess and you’ll think you look like s**t after the first day. Everyone feels the same so just forget about what you look like. Glitter and sunglasses do hide so many sins though.
Make friends around your camp and get in the festival spirit and join in with the activities away from the music. Decorate your face and do buy the flower garlands for your hair.
Finally, most importantly, have THE best weekend with your friends and with the music.
If you like my guide to surviving your first festival, Push Doctor have their own brilliant guide. Do head over to read that here.
*I received a festivals essentials kit in exchange for mentioning them in this post. This has not influenced my post or my thought and opinions.