Essential tips for your first time at a festival


By Isa Cox, Rock At Night Columnist, Music & Culture

Festival season is upon us, and all over the world happy campers are packing up their tents, putting on their wellies and heading out into the mud for this year’s eclectic lineup of fantastic music celebrations!

Any music fan should attend a festival at least once in his or her life, even if just for the experience. The opportunity to see your favourite acts live on stage while kicking back in the summer sun is truly one that should not be missed. However, if this is your first time attending a festival, it’s understandable you might be feeling apprehensive. What goes on behind those venue fences is truly unlike anything else, but with these tips you’ll be sure to make the most out of your weekend and be snapping up tickets for next year as soon as you get the chance!

Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes - THE EUROCKEENNES Festival
Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes – THE EUROCKEENNES Festival

1. Avoid Getting Scammed

Getting festival tickets can be a nightmare. Particularly for bigger events, the initial release sees a quick sellout, and third-party vendors often become the only option to secure yourself a place. Unfortunately, many criminals are aware on this and prey on the desperation of last-minute buyers. If you can, be sure to stick to trusted sources when purchasing your ticket. However, if you do find there’s no other option than to go trolling the internet for resale sites, at least install a Virtual Private Network such as ExpressVPN. This handy piece of software encrypts your data, so even if you do buy a fake ticket, your credit card details will at least be safe!

Even when protected, getting landed with a fake is a frustrating experience, so check out this article for more tips on avoiding ticket scams.

2. Pack for Success

Festival packing is a delicate balance: it’s important to have everything you’ll need, but it’s also worth remembering you’ll have to carry it all the way across the site—and back again at the end of the weekend when you’re a little more worse for wear.

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a car onsite, you’re going to want to stay minimalist. Here are a few essentials, besides a tent, obviously:

* Clothes: Pack one change for every day and a spare in case of rain, mud, or unconsidered disaster.

* Something warm: This could be a spare blanket or just a thick coat. Yes, it’s summer, but warmth is never something to be relied on (particularly for British festivals).

* Torch: This is perhaps the most overlooked yet essential item. If you want to be able to do things near your tent after dark. then you’re going to need a torch. Don’t rely on your phone, as the battery will most likely die.

* Valuables: Money, ID and mobile are all useful, but it’s worth looking into lockers so you can keep them safe.

* Baby wipes: Long known as the festival shower, a pack of these can negate the need for loads of toiletries and stops you from wasting time in shower queues.

On the flipside, the following things that can be easily left out if you’re stuck for packing room:

* Pillow: Just roll up some clothes instead; it’s wasted space for limited benefit.

* Cooking equipment: There are usually plenty of food vendors, so there’s no need to cook your own. However, it you’re trying to keep costs down, then one small camp cooker should suffice.

* Camping chairs: These are a luxury for those who have space for them, but they’re not necessary.

Finally, just because your suitcase has wheels doesn’t make it a good storage option. Opt for backpacks whenever possible to avoid a nightmare on the unstable ground. If you do have the luxury of a vehicle, here is a more comprehensive packing list.

3. Enjoy Responsibly

Festivals are well known for their debauchery and shenanigans. With beer tents lining every field and a whole plethora of chemical concoctions floating around, it’s easy to be tempted. However, in my experience, those who hit it too hard usually spend the rest of the weekend in their tent.

Sad reports of deaths due to intoxication circle the media after every summer season, alongside slightly more hilarious, yet equally undesirable, anecdotes of punters misjudging their intake—think the notorious Poo Girl from Leeds Festival 2009. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with moderation, taking it to excess often means a wasted experience. With a full lineup of awesome acts, camps of like-minded people

and other unique attractions to offer, there are plenty of alternative ways to enjoy your first festival experience without having to get completely trashed.

4. Don’t Follow the Crowd

One of the greatest festival secrets I’ve ever learned came from my summers working the circuit, often spending my time off alone and completely oblivious to the lineup. This is where the true festival magic happens.

Too many festivalgoers fall into the habit of sticking with their friendship group and only seeing their favorite bands. Doing this means a large majority of your weekend is spent keeping track of the time or trying to locate your missing companions.

Instead, why not have a wander by yourself? Use your ears to find the good music and chat to the strangers you meet on the way. Not only is this a much more relaxing experience, it often means you discover great new bands and friendly, like-minded people. Just be sure you have an agreed meeting place with your group in case anyone runs into trouble.

Every festival is unique, but these tips and tricks will help you make the most of your summer shenanigans no matter where you chose to spend them. If you have your own festival advice to share, we’d love to hear your ideas. Be sure to leave a comment below.


Do you want more information on camping at festivals?

Check out this article on a hiking blog:  BEST GEAR


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