In the UK, we have a proud history of festival going. Glastonbury was one of the first festivals, taking place for the first time 2 days after Jimi Hendrix died, way back in 1970. A local farmer decided that it would a good use for one of his fields and sold tickets for £1 for two days, including free milk from the farm.
Things have changed since then. Now there are nearly 200,000 people in attendance at Glastonbury, reveling from Wednesday to Sunday. It is estimated that there are around 500 festivals taking place each summer around the UK. With all those live music, art and dance acts to check out, you are going to need a safe and comfortable place to lay your head at night. There are some factors that first timers really need to look at.
Take a durable and highly waterproof tent
Just like with clothing, you need to protect against the elements at UK festivals. One thing that you can predict is the unpredictable weather- one minute the sun could be shining down, but the scene could just as easily turn to a muddy washout. A wet tent is not a nice place to sleep.
If you have room in your car to carry it, a gazebo, or any kind of pop up shelter, is a great investment. Set it up in the middle of your group of tents to establish a great location. Keep out of the sun if you are sunburned and add a waterproof sheet below in case it rains. Added bonus- bring a camping chair. You may think that sitting on the grass or fake will be fine, but after miles of walking fields, staying up late and drinking, you will be looking at other camper’s seats with green eyes.
Location, location, location
Two places to avoid- next to high traffic paths and next to the portaloos. Location is so important that some festival goers will arrive 2 days early. Woes befall the newbies who come on the first day, when the toilets are relatively clean, only to suffer the odours later in the weekend. If you camp next to a path, people will accidentally kick the guide ropes or even fall into your tent!
Bring some form of food supply. If you are confident and have enough room you can bring a camping stove, but bear in mind that there may be nowhere to wash up pots and pans, so pack food accordingly.
Customize your campsite with a unique flag or other decorations- so you can identify it in the crowds.
Practice fire safety. If you light a campfire, keep it small and controlled. You will probably have to put it out after dark.
You can bring the kids to plenty of festivals, but look out for those set up with kids in mind, like Bestival. They have plenty of kids outdoor play equipment and other entertainment for them.
Have fun. There are plenty of things to consider when festival camping, but make chilling out and having fun the focus! The music may have changed since the seventies, but the spirit of the festival lives on.