Yes, it’s that time of the year again when thousands of people pull on their wellies and trek through fields of mud just to see their favourite artists and sing loudly with like-minded strangers.
Festival season is upon us and I have never been more ready.
At the start of June, I attended Parklife which is located in Heaton Park, Manchester. It was a weekend which involved re-uniting with my girls, ridiculous dancing, delicious food and lots and lots of mud. With Parklife, there is no dedicated camping so we chose to stay at the Marriott Hotel, just over half an hour away from the festival; however, this was warmly welcomed after spending many years in a tent covered in mud for 5 days straight (not the prettiest of things!).
Over the years I have picked up some life-changing tips when it comes to surviving festival season and I thought it was only fair that I share them so you also can have the best musical summer ever.
Anybody who has ever attended a festival knows how exhausting it can be. You spend days on your feet, whether it’s dancing into the early hours or walking miles to find a toilet, and you survive on minimal sleep. The best bit of advice I can give is to mentally prepare yourself for this and realise that it’s all part of the experience. Yes, your feet will probably ache by the end of the weekend and your hair will be stiff with dry shampoo, but just think of all the amazing memories you would have created at the same time, definitely worth a few aching joints and muscles!
Wear appropriate shoes
This one links to the previous point but make sure you pack appropriate shoes in your luggage, whether it be wellies, boots or (weather permitting) trainers. There are two things your footwear should be: comfortable and waterproof. The last thing you want is to be hobbling along in the rain and mud with your feet frozen from days of dampness.
Pack a poncho
It may not be the sexiest of fashion choices but trust me, when you’re stuck in a crowd with rain pouring down the last thing that will be on your mind is how fashionable you look. Ponchos and raincoats can be festival lifesavers and there are limitless options available now in stores such as New Look, Topshop and ASOS.
Festivals are about spontaneity and if you plan to stick to a rigid itinerary then you probably are going to want to put that to the side. The first festival I ever went to was Reading Festival and I had spent ages planning out what artists I wanted to see at what times; however, when it came to the actual weekend I ended up missing half the bands I wanted to see and discovering some amazing artists at the same time!
You never know what you are going to stumble across at festivals (one time I literally danced outside a Nandos van for 40 minutes as they were playing my favourite songs!) so it’s best to leave the clipboard in the tent and embrace every minute.
It may seem that the best bet for an amazing weekend is to overpack and be prepared for every situation. This is a one-way street to the most stressful arrival you will ever have. Pack sensibly with minimal to carry and you will find the 100-mile trek you have to do between the entrance and your camping spot a hell of a lot easier. Or, if you really can’t bear to part with your wardrobe, invest in some kind of camping trolley that allows you to stack your camping gear and luggage on top of it for you to then drag behind you. Be warned though, serious muddy conditions can make this extremely dangerous!
This is the most crucial tip I can give: enjoy yourself. You’ve spent hundreds of pounds getting there so don’t let the weather, camping or a horrendous hang over bring you down. Just don’t forget to pack the toilet paper!