Festival season is almost upon us and if the weather fails to pick up you are going to need to make sure you’ve got your camping sorted. Here are some handy tips before you pitch your tent in the tiny gap between the greasy all-day breakfast stand and the toilets.
This guide covers the camping aspect of festivals, rather than exactly what you should take but always take gaffer tape and bin bags. Almost every mishap can be solved by gaffer tape and bin bags.
Get there early and chose your spot wisely
Early does not mean the minute the gates open on the day before the festival starts – although if you want to get the best camping spot you may want to consider this. Make sure you leave a reasonable amount of time to get set up in a good spot. After spending a solid five hours stood in the pouring rain, there is little worse than being forced to camp down in the only space that was left by the overflowing portaloos.
Similarly, try to get somewhere within a reasonable distance of the festival site, but far enough away that you’re not hounded by the novelty-hat-wearing unwashed or the 15 and 16-year-olds spending their first weekend away from their mother’s apron strings.
Avoid being too close to a stage or tent. It will only seem like a good idea until you’re trying to get to sleep while a 30 minute extended mix of Higher States of Consciousness drills away in the background. Or even worse, you are awoken unspeakably early by the main stage sound check.
You may think this is boring, and that you’re not going to sleep all wild weekend long, but sleep is important. And when you do finally decide to bed down you’ll be very grateful.
Camp away from streams and taps but not too far from paths. If you can’t get there early, send a friend to mark out your spot for you. If someone moans at them for taking up a space, don’t worry. They should have arrived earlier/have more friends.
Bring a big one
Go for a slightly bigger tent than what you think you will need. Nothing huge, a 14-man canvas temple will seem like a terrible decision about 30 seconds into the 30 minute walk from your car to the campsite – tiredness will also encourage you to make do with a bad camping spot.
Your tent will be your miniscule reminder of luxury and home comforts for the weekend and two men in a two man can become very cramped and smelly – especially if your festival is the traditional Glastonbury mud bath. Go for one man bigger than you need.
Mark your territory – bring a gazebo
Music festivals, almost as much as the music, are about the collective joy of spending a weekend in a huge field with a load of likeminded music fans – bar the sprinkling of idiots you will find everywhere.
But you will need your space. Something like a ring of DO NOT CROSS police tape – which does happen – can be a little anti-social. If you are up to carrying an extra item, a gazebo is a perfect and classy way to keep hold of a communal area. Stick a few chairs under it and it will also keep you dry when it inevitably rains.
Make friends and be secure
Be nice to the people camping around you. Festival sites can be rife with petty crime and striking up a rapport with your neighbours will mean they know who you are and will keep an eye out for anything suspicious. At the same time, don’t put a padlock on your tent. It is made of thing fabric and if someone really wants to get in, they will. A padlock can be an invitation in a field full of tents without them. If you’re really concerned about certain items in your tent, either leave them at home or carry them with you.
Look at the ground
It goes without saying, but try not to camp on a slope/rock/tree root.
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Guest post contributed by Lauren Belfield, an avid lover of music who regularly attends festivals in the UK. Regularly visits Go Outdoors to buy her festival going tent when it gets too much for the old one!