Monday, 6 June 2011

Loulou's guide to summer festivals - part 1 the 3 day posh one

My view at Glasto 2010 from the tent
So I've mentioned before that I love live music - I love watching/listening to all types of music especially when the sun is shining and I have a cold cider in my mitts. And this summer I am lucky enough to be going to 2 festivals this month!!!! So for this guide to festivals (part 1) I'm going to divulge my key tips for surviving a festival when if you are anything like me the whole idea of not having easy access to showers/flushing loos and washing machines makes you feel a little queasy.

First up I'm off to the Isle of Wight festival which is this weekend the 10th, 11th and 12th of June and includes acts I love including Lissie, The Script, Plan B, Kaiser Chiefs and most excitingly for me and the main reason for going the FOO FIGHTERS - cue whooping and screaming!! I'm also very excited about seeing Pulp I do hope they rock some of the classics!!

After a week or so off we then head off back to my home county of Somerset for the megafest of Glastonbury where Coldplay, U2, Biffy Clyro, Jessie J, Don McLean and so so so many more than I could ever list here so click on see here to see the full list! This is a 5 day festival so not for the faint hearted but rest assured in part 2 I'll tell you how to survive in style.

But first up how to survive a poshfest like Isle Of Wight....

Things to take with you

1. What to
The most important thing when packing for any festival is to be aware of the weather. You will be outside pretty much the whole time so you will need comfy, warm, lightweight and waterproof clothing to meet any eventuality. It can be roasting hot from bitterly cold and wet late at night so layers are your friend. Try and pack the following and you shouldn't go far wrong:
  • Vest tops
  • Long sleeve t-shirts
  • Fleece jumper (tragic nerd that I am mine is a glasto one)
  • Pac a mac (also handy for sitting on)
  • maxi dresses (great for if it's hot)
  • flipflops
  • wellies (well it doesn't take a lot of rain to make it muddy with thousands tramping around)
  • trainers
  • leggings (to keep the chill off at night under skirts)
  • sun hat
  • lots of socks (nothing worse than wet feet!)
  • cross body handbag (need the hands for drinks and waving in the air while dancing)
2. What to pack...toiletries
Now I think I'm relatively low maintenance for a girl but even I have standards so I do tend to take a fair few bits with me:
  • wet wipes (these really are the festival essential if you take nothing else take a whole large packet of these)
  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner (just add a standpipe and you're all set)
  • leave in conditioner
  • dry shampoo (for when there's no tap/too cold/wet to wash under it)
  • shower gel
  • toothbrush and toothpaste plus mouthwash (well just because you are camping there's no need to neglect your health!)
  • make up essentials (for me that is eyeliner, foundation compact and mascara)
  • hairbrush and comb
  • suncream (no burnt bits please peoples we don't want to grow old before our time now do we)
3. Key things to remember...
Now we all have different tastes but there are some key things that if you remember to take them with you will make your experience that bit more comfy...
  • Airbed - call me a snob but sleeping for more than 1 night on anything less than an airbed at my age isn't fun. For the few hours I get of kip a night I do like to be comfy so an airbed is now a must
  • Camping chairs - handy for by the tent for early mornings waking up or last thing at night before bed because you do a LOT of walking every now and again it's nice to take a load off away from the floor!
  • Power monkey - mobiles are essential if you loose your friends etc but they don't last long these days. power monkeys are great for giving you extra charge - my iPhone lasted the whole of Glasto last year thanks to my monkey!
  • First aid kit - not the earth but some key things like paracetamol, neurofen, anti histamine (even if you aren't a hayfever sufferer it sure can come in handy),
  • Anti bacterial hand gel
  • Loo roll - or as I like to use packets of tissues - so much easier to carry around with you but either way you'll need em!
  • Pen and paper - or if you're me a pocket filofax - handy for making sure you have everyone's phone numbers (in case you loose yours), making notes of any bands you want to see, leaving notes for other people etc etc
  • Money - you really don't want to waste time away from all the fun queuing for hours to get some dosh. So take plenty, you don't have to spend it all. But make sure you spread it around and don't keep it all in one place. For example I usually take a small purse in which I keep that day's spends and then in a separate cash bag in my handbag in a different pocket some more of my money. Well you can never be too careful!
  • Torch - it gets dark at night, you're outside and it's grass. Torchlight is essential to make sure you don't sprain an ankle (as is not drinking a bottle of wine while putting up your tent and then drinking shots and cider but that is another story!)
  • Camera - well you don't want to miss some essential sunsets/facebook/blog/twitter moments!
  • And finally in your absolute essentials - bin bags! Handy for keeping stuff dry if it rains, putting dirty clothes in and of course disposing of rubbish!
4. Things to look out for...
There are some key things that can make or break your festival experience but with a little knowledge and planning you can make sure you enjoy every moment:
  1. Know where you want to camp...knowing where you want to put your tent is key as once you get on site it is a bun fight to get the best space. You want to avoid a) being anywhere too near the loos - v whiffy by day 2 b) avoid being at the bottom of a hill - if it rains where do you think all that water is going to go c) try and avoid being too close or too far away from the path - too close and you'll be kept awake all night and too far away trying to find your tent in the dark can be a nightmare
  2. Organise a meeting spot should you get separated from all your friends at any point - remember your mobile may die so a little preparation can be key
  3. Agree in advance on your must sees with your group and see what everyone else wants to see - me and my man don't always want to see the same things so we go off and watch stuff and then meet up again later. The key to enjoying a festival is be aware of everyone but make sure you also get to see what you want - remember it is an experience that you will never get again!
  4. Be aware of your surroundings - you are there to have a good time BUT it is no different than being out on a Saturday night. Don't take unnecessary risks and be aware of who and what is going on around you. Which also means being careful not to get so out of it you don't know what you are doing! Being disorientated in the dark can be a scary feeling.
  5. Utilise the property lock ups - remember your tent has no security! Don't leave anything in it your would be bereft to loose. While (touch wood) I've never had a problem I really don't think it is worth the risk of taking all your best clobber!!
Loulou's festival fashion parade

So what will I be wearing to the Isle of Wight? Being that this is a more suburban festival on a smaller scale than the acres and acres of Glasto I can be a bit more girlie so here are some of my festival wares (I'm keeping everything crossed for good sunny weather)

First up the Maxi Dress - this one is from Warehouse and fits me remarkably well - plus even on my midget like height I can wear it with flip flops/converse as well as wellies if necessary! I'll team it with a cardigan and denim jacket for when the evenings draw in (oh and a pair of leggings underneath for warmth at night too)

Maxi Dress

The cross body bag - this one is from Fossil and I got it for less than half price (yay!) I love the yellow colour and it's leather! Perfect for carting around all my essentials!

And a bright top to stand out from the crowd, I do like some bright colours in the summer. Now I need a camisole with this top otherwise it is positively indecent but teamed with cropped denims it will be a perfect jump around in top for IOW.

 So there we go, my very brief guide to surviving a festival! Have you any tips that you would like to share?



  1. What the heck is a power monkey?!

  2. You should come over here for Gurtenfest some time. Posh camping with showers, flushing toilets and laundry facilities. We got a day ticket so we could see Biffy last year on the Sat ( it started Thursday) and went to the loos about 5pm (not skanky portaloos either) and they were still pretty clean and had toilet roll!!! Having found out about the camping facilities afterwards, we have decided we must go there for the full experience sometime. They even have a milk bar that does a basic packed breakfast complete with delivery service to your tent, amazing!!! Have a fab time xxx

  3. Hellooo

    Pesky Blogger hasn't let me comment until now (hopefully) so first up a Power Monkey is a portable charging unit for your mobile/mp3 see here they really are fabulously handy!

    And LJ ooh what is Gurtenfest? We will have to investigate for next year maybe :0)