UK Music Festival Survival Guide: Five More Tips to Swear By

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As I mentioned in our previous article on this topic, a lot goes into planning a weekend away at one of the UK’s iconic music festivals. From what you are packing to how you arrive at the location, the tannery list is potentially massive. So here is a follow-up UK music festival survival guide: five more tips to swear by.

As the world begins to repair itself from the Coronavirus pandemic, people may understandably feel weary about foreign travel. Therefore, a first-time music festival may be on the books for more people than ever. Take your time and more importantly prepare in advance, there is a lot to remember!

Image source: Download Festival

5. Do Not Forget Your Ticket!

This sounds obvious but amidst the chaos of choosing a tent, good footwear and meticulously packing every individual tissue packet, it is easy to overlook certain things. While most things are replaceable at the festival camping stalls, you will not even get that far without your ticket. Unlike tent pegs and flashlights, this cannot be bought after the fact!

You can spend weeks contemplating what to take, buying supplies and packing them away like a game of watertight Tetris. But the real make-or-break is that flimsy piece of card you received in the post some weeks ago. In the meantime, put it in a safe place, note its location on your phone or put it on your fridge and make sure to double-check it is with you before and after loading the car.

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4. Plan your Journey Way in Advance

Getting to and from the festival is equally as important as remembering your ticket. If you do not take your ticket, you cannot go and if you have no transport planned, you cannot physically go (make sense?). Organising your transport adds a new layer of complexity and can be a real headache, so start considering your options as early as you can.

Most festivals will offer a designated coach service, for a reasonable fee. The most simple and straightforward option, you arrive at the pickup zone on time and go. However, this can require you to take a smaller supplies cache to fit on-board and there will be strict and early departure times. The ideal option though for first-timers as much of the responsibility does not fall on you. 

The other option is loading the car or van of a generous designated driver and going down the self-catering route. The pros are: you can travel by your schedule, you can stop for food or bathroom breaks at leisure and you can pack however much you can fit in your vehicle. The cons: the long, complicated journey can be taxing and if your vehicle breaks down or you get completely lost, it is game over.

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3. Do Not Leave Valuables Unattended in Your Tent

Music festivals are intended as memorable and exciting escapes from our day-to-day lives. But unfortunately, some people see them as opportunities to line their pockets at your expense. You hear of numerous cases of unguarded tents being ransacked, sadly because it does happen. From wallets and mobile phones to medication and jewellery. A rule of thumb, take with you what you cannot do without.

Some of you may think attaching a padlock to your tent is a good way to combat this, however, this may be counter-productive. A padlocked tent indicates the owner is away and there may be something valuable inside worth locking away. Not to mention if someone is willing to steal from you, cutting/breaking into your tent is not out of the question. Buy a waist bag and take everything with you.

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2. You Do Not Need Loads of Food

This one is more optional than essential, but an easy error to make. Food ranks high on our list of daily needs so naturally the assumption many festival newbies make is to stock up massively for barbeque buffets of breakfast lunch and dinner. The truth is, it is just not necessary. Of course take as much food as you like, from experience however, much of it will not get eaten and eventually thrown away.

Most of your time will be spent on the go, trekking between stages, events and campsites. Therefore, you will probably find yourself eating more out and about than back at camp. Festivals are generally very well stocked with food stalls and eateries for a variety of dietary options. So even without intending to, you will find yourself eating for convenience at a food court.

This may not apply to everyone mind, particularly as festival food will normally be double to triple the normal cost. But try to take what you intend to eat. I found that non-perishables like crisps, crackers and cereal bars are good to get you by between meals but of course disposable barbecues and grilling food is great for a budget, just double-check what appliances you can take.

Image source: CNET

1. Do Not Forget the Sunblock!

Music festivals are synonymous with mud, rain and the cold. Three-quarters of the festivals I have attended have certainly been consistent with this conception; Download Festival 2016 is a great example. However, each year I would always take a small bottle of sun cream. Granted, during rainy festivals they are worth their weight in mud but you do not want to get caught out when it is occasionally sunny. 

If you are like me, someone who loves the sun but the sun does not love you back then this is a must. While at festivals, you are exposed to the sun for the majority of your time spent outside your tent. A fare-skinned person at an open-air festival, under limited coverage from the sun, could be the recipe for disaster. It is better to have sunblock and not need it than need it and not have any. Heed the warning of a fellow burner!

Final Words

So there you have our follow-up list, UK music festival survival guide: five more tips to swear by. As you can see, there is quite a lot to remember. But living out of a tent for multiple days requires more preparation than you think! You do not necessarily need to follow each step as gospel but if you do, then your festival experience will be much smoother sailing.

If you missed our first entry, click here, as you will not want to miss a thing from your essentials list! So get planning, reading and researching. Once music festivals re-start, it is going to be crazy!