The Ultimate Festival Survival Guide

Festival season is upon us and whether you’re going to Bestival, Boomtown or Reading & Leeds you need to make sure you’re ready and well prepared. Festival season is well underway and I’ve just got back from Tramlines! No festival is complete without a disaster. Last year at YNOT, Jake and I discovered that our tent wasn’t waterproof, and so binbags saved our life. My friend Leah, on the other hand, got to Truck Fest and realised she’d left her tent poles at Glastonbury… oops! I always think it’s better to have a check list and some tips to help prevent any festival mishaps!

In this post you’ll find thinks you need to pack and thinks you didn’t realise you need to pack but should. I’ll also include any tips for whilst your partying so that you can have the best time, but stay safe.

What to pack:

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  • Ticket/wristband – I mean, it’s definitely been forgotten before. Also remember any train tickets, pre-paid parking tickets and things like that, keep them in a little folder like you would at an airport.
  • Tent – big enough for you, whoever you’re with and all your stuff, include spare pegs – you might want to practice putting it up at home first if you aren’t very camping savvy. Remember your tent poles… and maybe some waterproofing spray
  • Sleeping bag
  • Roll mat/inflatable bed
  • Something to carry the bulky stuff in/on – some take shopping trollies, some take dollies, but I’ve heard that wheelbarrows are the best – cling film does a good job of holding everything down too
  • ID – if you need to buy alcohol/cigarettes
  • Money/card – a lot of stalls are now accepting card payments, however cash is always reliable!
  • First Aid Kitplasters for cuts and blisters (or makeshift nipple covers); pain killers for the hangover; immodium is one that sells out of the festival shops because a. no-one wants to use the toilets and b. people aren’t as good at barbequing as they thought;, hayfever tablets; bandage/support in case of minor injuries; you may also want to take a packet of multivitamins with you to keep your immune system up whilst you’re there – nothing worse than getting back home and coming down with the festival flu

  • Medical information – this is a bit of a serious one, but it’s got to be talked about. I’m anaemic, so can pass out unexpectedly and frighten a few people in the meantime. I passed out last year at Y Not festival and having Jake be able to let the stewards know what was happening was a huge help. Make sure whoever you are with knows your medical details, whether its diabetes, epilepsy or something more minor like anaemia. It will really help the paramedics when they’re treating you – in my case it’s usually a mars bar!
  • Contact information – similarly, a sticky label on the back of your phone with a phone number of a friend/relative who is also at the festival will be very handy if you lose your phone (as it can be returned) or if you get separated and an accident happens or if you get separated and your phone dies you can use someone else’s phone and your friends number is at hand
  • Torch (and batteries) – a head torch provides hands-free lighting on loo trips; probably not your sexiest festival fashion, but it’s handy
  • Duct tape – fixes everything… everything
  • Bin bags – versatile item, some use it as a toilet by placing it inside a washing up bowl, they make great waterproof protectors (I put all my bags in them in the tent in case of a flood, and flood it did – least my food and clothes were dry), and of course to bag up all your rubbish and keep your tent tidy
  • Suncream and aftersun – you’ll probably forget to put it on in a drunken haze, but the intent was there. I’d suggest carrying a small bottle in your bumbag so that you can top up after someone spills their drink all over you 
  • Food – bringing your own food saves a lot of money, some places allow disposable BBQ’s but it’s best to check on their websites beforehand, if you do, don’t forget a lighter. Take breakfast items like brioche and cuppa soup to save cash – I recommend a greasy burger stall for tea though!
  • Cutlery/crockery – mini picnic set like a plate, bowl, knife, fork, spoon and mug
  • Drink – okay, boring part first, bring bottles of water with you (they’re blimming expensive to buy at festivals) and some places have refillable taps too so you can refill – great for drinking and having an actual wash. Secondly, booze. Decant your drinks into plastic bottles or bring cans if permitted because any glass will get taken off you
  • A blanket to sit on outside the tent – if you’re willing to carry it, a fold up chair is good too
  • Toiletries – big list – wet wipes are your life saver for freshening up, taking your makeup off, de-mudding yourself so pack plenty; dry shampoo or talc, talc is more versatile as you can use it to de-grease your hair, stop your feet smelling after being in sweaty wellies all day and for those of you in the, as the girls on Glasto Gals say, ‘chub club’ then it prevents chaffing too; pocket tissues and toilet roll and lots of it; hand sanitiser is an obvious must; sanitary products if it’s that time… I’ve seen a lot of women say that mooncups are so much more festival friendly because you don’t need to dispose of your towels/tampons and you don’t need to worry about as many trips to the loo; moisturiser because feeling that bit more hydrated will make your day 10x better; toothbrush and toothpaste because no one wants to talk to you if you stink of five days of dark fruits (probably take chewing gum too); deodorant; hairbrush; makeup and a mirror
  • Disposable cameras – or a digital if you’re brave. I love snapping away at a festival though an disposables mean you won’t run your phone battery down
  • Power pack or charger case – you’re going to want to invest in a good power supply to charge your phone should you need to get in touch with someone
  • A deck of cards – because if it’s pissing down you’ll be so bored in the tent, so whack out a deck of cards and get drunk playing ring of fire
  • Clothes – another big one, pack as light as you can because you need to carry it. Wellies are essential, wear them to the festival to save bag space and then pack a pair of trainers for chilling in, a jumper is a must because it can get chilly at night, a rain mac, a million pairs of socks because a fresh pair of socks can really give you a new lease of life, underwear, and then whatever else your heart desires! Someone suggested putting each outfit in separate carrier bags to keep them clean and save time in the mornings for when you want to go and explore – you can then use the carrier bags to store your dirty clothes 
  • Something to locate your tent – be it fairy lights or a flag, you may know what your tent looks like, but when you’ve had a drink and see 17 other tents the same, you’re in a pickle 
  • S Hooks – I saw a girl mention s hooks on Glasto Gals, you can hook it over the door of a poortaloo and hang your bag/coat off it and you can use it to hang a torch from the top of the tent too
  • Ear plugs and an eye mask – you won’t enjoy the festival on a rubbish nights sleep, so take all precautions to make sure you get your beauty sleep – ear plugs are also good for if you’re close to the front of the stage to prevent ear damage
  • Car freshener – why? Because it will make your tent smell less like sweaty feet
  • GLITTER – for your face, your hair, an anywhere else – glittering up for a festival is some of the best fun you’ll have

Festival Tips!

Have a look at the lineup schedule online and make a list of who you want to see and their set times so that you can see everyone you want to and avoid any clashes – it will save you so much time. Also means you can save yourself a tenner instead of buying a lanyard.

Follow the festival on social media and turn their notifications on just in case there are any line up changes. When Jake and I went to YNOT last year we weren’t even informed that the festival had been cancelled.

If you drive to the festival and the parking isn’t too far, just leave some stuff in the car. You can always pop back and leave anything you no longer need in the car.

Put your festival wristband on your non-dominant hand to avoid it going down the loo.

Don’t keep all your cash in one place in case it gets stolen or it falls out.

Be crime aware. There are lots of reportings every year of tents having things stolen from them. I always sleep with my valuables in my bumbag and at the bottom of my sleeping bag.

Plan your hairstyles to get the most out of 3-day hair. I usually go for dutch plaits day one, down and wild day two and then some space buns for day three.

See if there’s an option to reserve drinks online. Before YNOT, Jake and I reserved a multipack of coke to mix our drinks with so that we didn’t have to pack it. You can sometimes pre-order your booze!

If you’re in a group, decide on a meeting point in case you get split up, or fancy seeing different acts.

Now, go enjoy your festival boo!

8 Comments

  1. July 28, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    Oh god, the pictures of the mud makes the hygiene freak in me go CRAZY. I’ve been to Reading for the weekend twice and the weather was glorious both times. Although it was super sweaty and gross, I don’t know how I’d cope with mud! I always pack cereal bars as I feel super sick after sleeping in a tent and can’t deal with the fry up food at the festival for brekkie. And totally agree with earplugs, FUCK forgetting them, people go on all fucking night!
    Alice Xx

  2. July 29, 2018 / 8:16 am

    Great advice! We’ve missed festival season this year as we’re travelling in Asia and this made me so nostalgic for Glastonbury and Boomtown!

  3. July 29, 2018 / 10:58 am

    Great tips girl, I really want to go to a festival x

  4. July 29, 2018 / 12:12 pm

    You look like you had the best time! such a good list too its so easy to forget things (I do anyway!)
    Alicia Xo

  5. July 30, 2018 / 6:18 pm

    Such great advice, loved this post. I will for sure be using this when I attend festivals Xx

  6. July 31, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    I’m the worst festival goer ever because I don’t camp aha xx

  7. July 31, 2018 / 5:18 pm

    This is such a thorough list of things! I always forget something wherever I go so it’s always nice to write down everything I need! x

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