Tents? Tape? Glitter? - Our Festival Essentials

Festival season is approaching and it's never too soon to get prepared. We like music and we're partial to a night in a tent, so we asked the office's most seasoned festival-goers for their survival essentials. From hangover cures, to footwear, to looking your sassiest, here's our final word.



Experience: Leeds x 2 (going again this year), ParkLife x 2 (and again this year), Benicassim, Kendal Calling, Boardmasters, Beat-Herder, Wakestock

Best festival moment: Standing in the crowd, listening to Mura Musa as the sun went down at Benicassim. It's a feeling you can't explain; total euphoria. Oh, and the time my mate fell face first in the mud at Leeds. Classic.

  • Water in a refillable flask to keep it cool. You always need water on you. You don't realise how dehydrated you are until you faint during Florence and the Machine's set.
  • A Pillow - if you're going to go heavy then at least get a good night / day / morning's sleep when you can. A crumpled hoody under your head just doesn't cut it.
  • A shewee - some people laugh but they soon stop when the portaloos are overflowing. Shewee's are easy to clean and discreet.



Experience: Melt Festival (Berlin), Gotwood, Dimensions (Croatia), Love International (Croatia), Dekmantle (Amsterdam), Field Manoeuvres

Best festival moment: Any single thing in a European festival - the sun, the drinks, the atmosphere.

  • Hipflask - does anyone actually keep a hip flask by their hip? Either way, the classiest and covert way to drink my luke warm rosé.
  • A good rucksack - makes all the difference when you need to fit that extra thing in and then be able to find it later. Plus, if you're walking a long way from the entrance a good bag is a lot better than a cheap and uncomfortable alternative.
  • A change of warm clothes for the evening - pack these so you can stay out all night even in the rain.



Experience: Leeds Festival, V Festival, Glastonbury, Bestival, Boardmasters, Wireless, Parklife, Coachella

Best festival moment: Drake - headlining Coachella. 2015. I cried several times.

  • Packable water carrier - the easy way to store water in the tent, makes it so much simpler brushing teeth and rehydrating.
  • Portable phone charger - can’t be bothered queueing in those charging tents, and I need to upload my boho inspired insta snaps asap.
  • Glitter - what’s the point in spending £200 on a ticket if you can’t look fabulous when you’re there?



Experience: Leeds Festival, Download, Bloodstock, Damnation Festival, Dot To Dot, Manchester Punk Festival

Best festival moment: Mastodon's headline set, Bloodstock 2016. It was my 6th or 7th time seeing them live, but a mix of great weather, a few leather jacket tassels, a psychedelic light show, and a two hour performance all made for a very memorable experience.

  • Warm sleeping bag - sunny days, doesn't necessarily mean warm nights, you can get cooler with a warm sleeping bag, but a thin cheap sleeping bag will only go so far.
  • Airbed / Sleeping Mat - something to elevate you from the floor, for additional comfort and an easier nights sleep.
  • Camping chair - after long days on your feet, drinking and walking from stage to stage, a comfy chair is the ideal object to welcome you back to the campsite. Best to get one with a cup-holder though.



Experience: Reading 2005, Isle of Wight 2013, 2014, 2017, Glastonbury (too many times to mention), Kendall Calling 2018

Best festival moment: Watching Fleetwood Mac from my mates shoulders when a touch inebriated. Getting my 90s on with Ocean Colour Scene on my stag do at Kendall surrounded by my best mates. The all-time winner is Springsteen at Glastonbury in 2009. Finally seeing the Boss, and on THAT stage was a dreamlike experience.

  • A light wateproof - something you can throw in your pack or tie around your waist and forget about until you need it. A light all-in-one boiler suite is also useful for keeping your festival threads nice and tidy regardless of mud levels.
  • Dry shampoo - if you have longer hair (like I used to) then a 5-day Glasto weekend is just too long to let the grease accumulate.
  • A decent tent - for too long I went with the £15 from a supermarket option. It never worked out well! Buy yourself a better tent; it will keep you dry and you'll bring it home with you rather than leaving it to litter the field.
  • Baby wipes - for the love of the festival gods take babywipes! They are more important than everything but the ticket.



Experience: Leeds/Reading, Nomads (Amsterdam), Nosalive (Lisbon), Kendall Calling, CarFest

Best festival moment: Seeing The Cure live - especially cheering loudly when the sound man came on stage and thinking it was Robert Smith. It wasn't. Also, I once watched a boy eat a bag of glitter.


What are your festival essentials? Do you have any hints or tips? Tell us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Neil used to be a bookworm, an "indoor" type if ever there was one. After finishing a PhD he writes short stories about spooky places and odd people. Living in Switzerland, the Canadian Rockies and the north east region of the USA convinced him that there was something to be said for this whole outdoor thing. Now he runs everywhere he can, competing in races most weekends and endlessly planning the next great adventure to some far flung part of the world. Recent trips include Costa Rica, where he tried and failed to surf; Vietnam, where he almost got stuck in an underground tunnel; and back to Canada, where he came face-to-face with a bear. Watch this space for further updates on Neil's global bumblings and the occasional athletic success.

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