So festival season is well and truly in the swing of things. Admittedly I haven’t been to many this year however now that August is ticking over the countdown to my personal favourite festival Reading and Leeds is getting closer and closer. Over the years I feel like I’ve become a bit of a festival expert. I’ve been to so many there is no way I could even count how many bands I’ve seen in that time.To me festival time is an excuse to get away from the city and the real world and live a little bit hedonistic!
I thought I’d write a little guide on how to survive Reading and Leeds festival as I’ve been there twice before but admittedly haven’t been since I was 17 (and Im 25 now!) I’ve learnt a few things along the way about how to actually function like a human at a festival since! Here’s my low down!
Camping & Tents
Always bring a pillow. Trust me, you will thank me for this one! While it might seem like an annoying thing to carry there is nothing like having something soft to lay your head on once you get back to your base. Rolled up clothes just don’t cut it!
Also bring a roll matt. There is nothing worse than ending up in a duff spot and having to sleep on rocks. You can pick these up super cheap and they are really lightweight! If you’re feeling fancy then a airbed would be a good idea but they are heavier and you have to go through the effort of blowing them up!
Blankets as well as a sleeping bag is a smart move. It does get pretty cold on festival evenings so always bring an extra blanket or two. You’re inevitably going to be with someone who doesn’t bring a proper sleeping bag too so be prepared to share!
Think about where you’re going to camp. Most festivals provide a map of the campsite beforehand so so some research and think about where you want to stay upon arrival. Avoid being too close to the arena and any main walkways if you want to get any sleep at night! Plus make sure you’re also far enough away but not too close to the toilets!
While they are expensive never underestimate the powder of a good tent. Honestly you don’t want something thats going to fall apart after a day or leak horrendously.
Food & Alcohol
Always pre-purchase some alcohol at a local supermarket before heading to the camping site. Festival alcohol is notoriously expensive and you don’t want to waste your budget on it. Remember to avoid glass (pop spirits in plastic bottles) and always bring a hip flask just incase.
Water. Always bring a big ol’ bottle of water to the festival with you or one of those snazzy fold away water lung things. Reading and Leeds both have taps on site so you can refill but you’ll save a lot of money if you bring something to put water in rather than buying it bottled. It’s always important to keep hydrated if your spending all day drinking!
Shopping - Do not bring a whole bunch of food to the festival. In my experience it’s best to bring things like snacks, crisps, cereal bars and something for breakfast/lunch and then keep about a tenner a day back for a meal in the evenings. Festival food is notoriously bad (although it has improved in recent years!) but having a hot meal in the evening will keep you going on alcohol fuelled evenings! Honestly though I’d avoid things like noodles or beans unless you actually HAVE a camping stove as there no point buying one just for the weekend. More fancy food I’d recommend bringing would be pitta breads, hummus, brioche, jam some fruit and juice.
When it comes to money I’d try not to bring too much or too little. It’s hard to really estimate how much you might spend but I’d say £250 is the absolute maximum you might need if you aren’t bringing your own booze and food. I generally try and stick to the £150 mark averaging about £30 a day which is mostly spend on arena beers!
There are cash points on site but charge a bomb and the queues are always ridiculous. If you can (and trust yourself) bring it all with you rather than trying to use your card.
Always keep your money with you as unfortunately there are people who will knick things at will if they have the chance! While bumbags might not be the most stylish option they do help at keeping your pennies close to you!
Embrace Festival life. Festivals are a strange thing, it’s like a weird no-rules type deal where you escape from the real world for a bit. Don’t worry that your hair’s greasy by day three or you smell like a butt, let it slide for a bit and enjoy the ride.
Toilets are always going to be gross, there is no two ways about it. HOWEVER Reading and Leeds are offering up some fancy swanky toilets this year for an additional fee which if you’re Princess enough to need to use then I’d check ‘em out.
Portable chargers. If you don’t have one then Im not quite sure how you’re functioning as an adult in 2015. Bring more than one if you’re an excessive user!
Bring a camera, even a little disposable one if you’re worried about a nice one getting pinched!
Don’t waste your time. While sitting around camp is fun there is always so band new bands to go see and people to make friends with. Wander around the site and see who you might meet along the way!
I’ll be at Reading Festival over the Bank Holiday (August 28th-30th) weekend so if you’re around do come say hello! Mumford and Sons, Metallica and The Libertines are headlining the main stages so theres something for everyone! Personally Im looking forward to Saturday the most as Metallica, BMTH and my all time favourites Alexisonfire (although I went to their “last show ever” like three years ago!) are gracing the stage with their presence. Other bands I can’t wait to see are Refused (although clashing with The Libertines) The Bronx, Moose Blood, American Football, Kendrick Lamar, The Maccabees, Panic! At the Disco and of course Baby Metal.
Check out the lineup here and you can still purchase weekend tickets well as day tickets! Come party!