Ticket? Check. Tent? Check. Burning desire to let off new levels of steam in a field with friends? Check.
Festival season is well and truly upon us once again (hallelujah!), and in all the excitement it is easy to forget those essential things that will help your weekend go off with a bang. Without sounding like I am bragging, I've done more than my fair share of festivals both here and abroad and in this time I have built up a list of essential items I take with me every single time. This is my realistic festival survival guide which I hope will help one or two of you who aren't quite as accustomed to rolling around in fields of mud as I am.
1/ Take more than one pair of appropriate shoes
This might seem like the most obvious thing in the world, apparently it isn't. Taking more than one pair of shoes to a festival is essential. You will get blisters if you are running around day and night in the same pair of shoes. Having tried and disliked the wellington boot route, I just don't find them comfortable, my trusty Dr Martens have become my festival shoe of choice. I also take a pair of trainers with me, they are easier to dance in and you never know what the weather might do. There is also nothing worse than being stuck at a festival with feet hotter than sun. Or being that guy in flip flops, I will probably tread on your toes. On purpose.
2/ Create some comfort for yourself
This might just be me becoming OCD and needing to cover every single base possible, or it might be streetwise - you choose. Are you asthmatic? Get a new set of inhalers before you go. Allergic to something? Make sure your Epipen is in date. Restless sleeper? Get yourself this inflatable pillow for £1 from Pound Land (actually do that even if you are not).
Some people at festivals like to brag about how 'hardcore' they are. Ignore them.
Here's a little list of essential things I always take:
nothing worse than turning your tent upside down in the dark
batteries die, these memories will last forever
for when Mother Nature gets nasty
5 days of drinking sometimes need encouragement
you are going to be hanging out of your arse come Sunday
it is always better to be prepared than be pregnant
Sun Tan Lotion & After Sun
believe me, carrying that backpack home on burned shoulders is no fun at all
ain't nobody got time to drip dry
six days of eating food cooked in a van will do mental things to your stomach
Hayfever Tablets, Plasters, Tweezers, Nail Clippers, Lip Balm, Moisturiser, Toothbrush and Tooth Paste, Hairspray, Dry Shampoo, Wet Wipes, Razor, Hand Sanitizer, Blanket/Chair
3/ Take enough food and drink
Every year when preparing for a festival I worry about having enough alcohol to take with me. Yes you can buy drinks in the arena but wouldn't you rather spend £15 on a bottle of vodka from Tesco than on two very weak drinks when you are there? Always put your alcohol in plastic bottles too, not only are you not allowed to take glass bottles with you (they do check) this way makes your load lighter to carry. I have a trolley I take with me to festivals too, I am weak and there is only one way I can get this lot from my house to that field.
Food glorious food, you are going to need a fair amount of this. A meal will cost you anywhere between £3-15 at a festival so I try to have a hot dinner everyday and snack on things I brought with me. The occasional breakfast happens too, if you are going to Bestival this year check out the 'Tea & Toast' van in green camp - a cheap and delicious hangover cure.
I am taking to Glastonbury:
1 x bottle of vodka
1 x bottle of Jack Daniels
1 x bottle of schnapps
1 x box of wine
1 x crate of Koppaberg
6 x Budweiser
1 x loaf of bread
1 x pot of houmous
1 x Dairylea wheel
1 x box of crackers
1 x packet of biscuits
2 x multipack of crisps
12 x cereal bars
6 x brioche
lots of sweets, chocolate and chewing gum
4/ Take lots of hair accessories
Packing for my first ever festival my Mum told it wasn't a fashion show it was a festival. She was wrong. While lots of people slam festivals for this nowadays I open heartily embrace the fact that for 5 days of the year I can look as mental as I like and nobody will care. Floral crowns are a festival cliche but for a very good reason, everybody will look at the beautiful adornment on top of your head and not the greasy mess below it. I love dressing up at festivals and hair accessories are my favourite. While I fully encourage getting your glad rags on, also remember at night time it turns baltic and a big bit of knitwear will serve you very well indeed.
5/ Don't try and see every single band playing
I have been to festival where I have seen over thirty bands in a weekend and I have been to festivals where I have seen less than ten. All of them have been amazing for their own different reasons. Yes the bands are the main reason you are there but be flexible. Make a list of 5 bands you really want to see and take anything on top of it as a bonus. Some of my fondest memories of festivals happened at our campsites. You are there to make some beautiful memories with friends not have a list of bands you saw longer than your arm.
And most importantly? Have an absolutely amazing time seeing bands you love with people you love.