Festival Camping Preparation Items to bring
use this Ref when contacting Greenbelt Office regarding Concessionary ticket
Jun 22 2004
By Shereen Low
June heralds the start of the summer festivals.
With Glastonbury kicking off on June 25, and T In The Park, V Festival and Reading all following shortly after, it's time to prepare for the outdoor music festivals.
What not to wear at the festivals
But packing for them isn't always easy. You may only be going away for a couple of days, but what do you pack to cope with unpredictable weather when there's nowhere to dry off and you still need to look good?
Amy Purshouse, Cosmopolitan's fashion editor, says that the most important thing to remember is to be practical.
"We're talking clothes that will dry easily if they get wet, and can easily be rolled up when packed," she says.
"The real trick is to layer - for example, a cotton slip dress which works brilliantly if it's hot and sunny but can be worn over jeans if it's slightly chilly.
"It's also worth sticking to natural fabrics like cotton and wool for cardigans - both dry easily and are practical. Cardigans are light-weight and can be tied around the waist, but keep you warm during the evenings."
And if you want to introduce style into your outfit like festival fans Leah Wood and Kate Moss, Amy suggests getting into "boho-chic".
"This relaxed style uses light layering, and nothing too heavy and styled. Think flip-flops, denim cut-off skirts, jeans and dresses layered on top," she explains.
:: A ONE-DAY FESTIVAL
Make sure you check the forecast before you go, but remember, the British weather is always unpredictable.
"If it's hot and sunny, why not wear a cotton slip dress and bring a cardigan just in case?" says Amy.
"Festivals aren't really the right occasion to show off your designer outfit - just think cheap and cheerful. You should also take a satchel bag that you can wear across your body, to hold everything you need without being in your way."
You can buy a satchel in an army surplus store, but if you're planning to be more fashionable, try Topshop's printed shopper bag, from £5.
:: CAMPING OVERNIGHT?
If you're planning to camp you need to be well prepared, because the nights can be cold and windy.
"Think practical. You definitely need a waterproof mac," says Amy. WATERPROOF MAC??
"You also need a small holdall filled with clothes that will give you maximum coverage and protection but pack away lightly. I would suggest jeans, vest tops that you can layer, and a pouch or moneybelt to carry all your essentials."
"If you want to add some fun to your outfit, do it with accessories," says Amy Purshouse. "Earrings and belts are funky, and very light!"
:: OTHER ESSENTIALS
"Prepare to go barefoot - the only footwear you need to take with you is flip-flops. Not only are they easy to carry, they are also the most hygienic option because you can wash your feet," says Amy. FLIP FLOPS
Make sure you take at least one pair of flip-flops, and a hat to protect your head from the sun.
Use your nouce - get some festival savvy!
We love festivals and try to go to as many as possible, and they can be some of the best experiences of your life. The vast majority of fans have a great time but if it is your first festival then have a look at our guide.
We know that some of the tips in the guide are a bit basic, and some are real obvious, but a guide needs to reach the unwary novice as well as the more experienced and seasoned veteran - so for that reason I make no apologies for the fact that there is some very basic stuff in the following guide.
So - surviving the experience - what do you need to know?
* Preparation - stuff to do before you go
* On Your Way - what to do
* Your Stuff - how to keep it safe
* Pitching Your Tent - some useful tips
* Your body - keep it safe
* Keeping clean - not easy but perfectly possible
* Clothes - keep cool, keep warm, keep dry and keep your cred!
* Drugs and alcohol - be wise, be safe,take care
* Noise and Special Effects - enjoy and keep safe
* Fire - not a good idea, why?
* Toilets - can you survive them?
* Children - fun for all the family?
* Finally - the last word!
* Credits - Thanks to the people who helped to create this guide
Buy your ticket from a reputable place - don't buy from a ticket tout - they WILL rip you off and you won't get in. Lots of people get ripped off buying forgeries it might look the real thing to you, but it won't do to the people on the gate.
Check out the website of the artist/promoter/venue and see if you can get basic info with addresses of who you might need to contact with compliments or complaints.
Make sure your vehicle is well prepared, a breakdown on a festival site pay prove to be very expensive!
Check out parking/camping arrangements in advance, for fire safety reasons you will probably not be allowed to camp near your car or vehicle - nylon from tents, petrol and oil make NAPALM. You may need a rucksack to carry all your belongings.
It may sound blindingly obvious, but check your tent before you leave - is it in good condition? Does it have a ground sheet? Is it waterproof? Have you got enough poles and tent pegs? Do you know how to put it up? Do you have a camping mat and a sleeping bag? It can get very cold at nights so these items are essential, a camping mat under you will prevent most of the heat loss.
If you take medication for any illnesses make sure you have enough to cover you (and take it in its original packaging as proof it's for you).
Suss out the best way to travel for you - train/coach/car - book your ticket (return) in advance. How far is it to and from the site to the bus/train station/pick up point?
Pack basic medication e.g. Paracetamol / piriton / arret / plasters and antiseptic PARECETEMOL PLASTERS
Take bog roll - you will need it BOG ROLL
If you're camping take a torch SMALL TORCH
Wet wipes are always very useful as are poly bags to keep dry clothes in
Take a good sunscreen and sunglasses CLARINS SUNSCREEN DOUBLE UP AS MOISTURISER
Take condoms/contraceptive pills/sanitary towels
Take a towel and wash kit CAMPING TOWEL AND WASH KIT AND TOOTHBRUSH AND MUG
Take enough money to get you through, it is unlikely you will find a cash point on site and you may not be allowed re-entry if you leave the site to find a bank or for any other reason.
Some events do not allow caravans, mobile homes or "live in" vehicles on site or if they do they may restrict them to special areas - usually at extra cost and miles from the main part of the site - check in advance.
ON YOUR WAY!
Some events issue maps and travel details of how to get to the site and other useful information, check web sites in advance. Take special care if you hitch hike, travel in pairs not alone. When walking on country roads always face oncoming traffic and wear something bright and reflective at night. Plan your travel arrangements with care, taxis and other local transport may not be easily available in country areas and local services may not be able to cope with the huge demand from a large event.
If you want to get a prime place with enough room for all your mates to be together you'll have to get to the site the day before the event starts. You don't want to end up with a long hike at the end of the night, and you do you want to be camped near the toilets!
Only hand over your ticket at the gate on-site or wristband exchange (as appropriate) Beware bogus officials off site 'checking' tickets - they may try to rip you off. Remember that lost tickets or wristbands WILL NOT BE REPLACED, take care of yours.
When you get to the venue get a site map as soon as you arrive. This will either be in the programme or available from the information tent. Find out where first aid and welfare services are. Then, if you need them, you can get there straight away with least distress.
Now arrange a meeting point with your friends before you get lost. Not behind the mixing desk - unless you like wandering around with 50 other lost people in the dark. Choose somewhere well lit and not too crowded. Bear in mind that the "official" meeting point may not be accessible when the arena is closed. (This does not apply at all festivals). If you do lose someone, try the welfare tent or meeting point. Some (but not all) festivals have public telephones (usually ones that that phone cards and five hundred people waiting to use the phone in front of you) but mobile phone networks may not receive a signal on some sites and there probably won't be anywhere to charge your mobile phone batteries. At many festivals you may find message points at welfare or information points, you can leave messages here for friends or perhaps arrange lifts, welfare may also be able to help with lifts and car sharing but take care, travel in pairs for safety.
If you have a car remember that festivals also attract a lot of thieves (AKA arseholes) Thieves will gather anywhere that they think will give them an easy option. The car park will be their first target - so try and stick to a few rules and you should be able to keep yourself and your belongings safe and secure. Always remember to turn off your lights, close all windows and lock all your doors! - It might sound obvious but people do tend to forget the obvious when in the laid back atmosphere of the festival - thieves know this and are ready to pounce! Use vehicle security devices. Don't leave anything valuable or visible in your car. In fact, don't leave anything. Sometimes a packet of Walkers Salt 'n' Vinegar crisps can look as attractive as a Sony Discman, and there is nothing more destructive than a hungry criminal. A glove compartment is like Pandora's box to your average thief. Empty it and leave it open to dispel the mystique. If you can take a spare set of car keys do it - give one to a friend for safe keeping. Identify a reference point that will help you find the car again - oh how easy it is to forget where you left it - and oh what a long time it can take to find it again! Many large festival sites have a number or colour code system to identify car parks, make a note of these. Park where you are instructed to park by the stewards, keep a low speed on site and do not block the emergency fire and access roads. Parking in restricted areas both on or off site may lead to your vehicle being towed away to the car pound and the payment of a large fine to recover it.
The public may arrive over a period of several days to a festival site, but often they want to leave all at the same time, the result is traffic chaos! Be prepared for a long wait in long traffic jams on the way in and out of a festival site. Have your tickets ready for checking on the way in but only give them to official staff or you may be robbed. It may be possible to delay your departure until the rush has subsided and remember, do not attempt to drive until you are safe to do so!
Some items are banned or restricted at many festivals and concerts, don't even think about taking these items that include:
Cameras and recording equipment (to prevent bootlegging). Vehicles on site (apart from in the car parks). Wax garden flares (flambé) and candles are a real safety hazard, many people suffer severe burns from hot wax. Fireworks and Pyrotechnics. Weapons or anything that can be construed as a weapon. Glass and Styrofoam containers. Illegal drugs of any kind. PA and sound systems (to prevent breaches of noise limits). Dogs and animals, a festival is not a good place for your pet, the sights, sounds and vast numbers of people can really freak out your pet pooch and then they run off, form into parks and rip open litter bags in search of food, they can bite people, cause problems for farmers and even spread diseases particularly if they have not been inoculated. The flying of kites and balloons is often prohibited especially if overhead power cables run nearby.
Knives, saws and axes (yes some people take saws and axes to festivals to cut fire wood, they don't realise that "green wood" will not burn and that fires are often banned for safety). It's not good for the environment and the local farmers and land owners won't be pleased if you go cutting down their hedges and trees.
Some cans have ring pulls and can be totally removed from cans, these are very dangerous to farm animals that live on the site the rest of the year, for this and for commercial reasons you may not be allowed to bring your own food or drink onto some sites.
If your in the country side, follow the country code and respect local people and property. Keep to foot paths and don't climb fences, walls, trees or hedges. Close all gates. Respect all plants and wild life. Drive with care on country roads and don't block gateways when you park. If walking on roads with no footpath, always walk facing oncoming traffic and make sure you are visible (especially at night) and wear bright clothing. Respect the peace and quite of the country side.
Pitching your tent.
Choose your location wisely. It might be easier to find your tent by a path or hedge, but people are more likely to stumble over it… or worse, relieve themselves against it (yes - an awful lot of a***holes can be found at these places). Make sure you can recognise your site by fixed landmarks (like trees or poles). Things can look very different at night & when other tents have moved/arrived. Try decorating your tent with flags or paint and so on not only will it be easier to find, but it may also deter theft. Pitch your tent on level well drained ground, you don't want to wake up in a river when it rains!
Stay well clear of rivers, streams, ditches lakes, ponds etc. Not only could you drown but they often contain things like rats and nasty diseases like Leptospirosis that could kill you!
Keep you camp site clean and tidy. Always place litter in the bins or in bin bags tied with a knot at the neck.
To avoid hearing that scary ripping sound of your tent being slashed in the dead of night, and witnessing the 'hand of god' reaching in and confiscating your ciggie supply/pocket money, take these precautions: Don't bring anything that you can't afford to lose, If you do bring valuables either carry them with you or use left luggage or a property lock up if they are provided. Split your money into various hiding places when you crash out in case you're burgled in the night. Be careful if you wander around alone at night - assaults are rare, but they do happen. If you are attacked go to medical, welfare and/or police straight away - remember that it's not your fault...
Get to know your neighbours, then you can keep an eye on each others' stuff. After the car park, the campsite is the most lucrative area on-site for those who choose to rip others off, tents are easy targets so If there are a few people in your camping party try setting them up in a circle with the entrances facing one another. Rip off merchants will target obvious hiding places so try and be original. If a thief confronts you it's usually wise not to retaliate, people who behave like that won't think twice about using force so remember that a few stolen possessions is better than an assault. Keep enough spare cash so that you know you can get home after the festival.
It isn't a good idea to get piercing and tattoos at festivals, new body piercings and tattoos are much harder to keep clean at festivals - even if the stall where you got them was clean - so it really is a dodgy decision. Tattooing and skin piercing is usually banned at most festivals as a condition of the Entertainment License. If you think you might go ahead and do it anyway make sure you've got some surgical spirit with you and keep the area scrupulously clean - and we mean clean - infections just aren't where it's at!.
Try to eat at least one hot meal a day and drink enough non-alcoholic drinks, you should be having a piss about three times a day - any less and you might be dehydrated. Being dehydrated makes you more prone to feeling tired/irritable and having headaches - not what you want after shelling out at least £100 of your hard-earned cash to have a good time. There should be FREE drinking water points in the arena and the campsite (near the toilets) and the water should be safe to drink and clearly signed to this effect. It can't be over stressed - DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. If it's really hot, stay in the shade as much as possible, use sun-block and cover up exposed skin to prevent painful burning and sun stroke with it's flu like systems.
A good range of food and drink is usually available at most events but prices are often high.
Not easy at your average festival, although there are usually some washing facilities somewhere they won't be the best - try taking a bowl to fill with water and make do. Wet wipes are a good standby for hands before and after eating, after those dodgy toilets personal hygiene is absolutely essential. Deodorant is essential and perfume can mask a multitude of sins! Hair washing is just too difficult - get your hair as you want it before you go (dreads, plaits and extensions will get you through) otherwise take a hat or scarf to tie fetchingly and create your own individual look! WASHING UP/BOWL
Travel light, you really, really don't need more than the basics and you don't need the stilettos they just aren't de rigueur for this occasion - when it starts to rain as it usually does at some time during these events, and when you find yourself facing a several mile hike to get to where you want to be - there will be tears - you'll be miles from anywhere - and you'll be very, very sorry. Boots, strong waterproof boots are a really good bet, even if the weathers great and the ground dry - when it gets dark and you're trudging back to your tent trampling over all manner of unpleasant things - you'll be really glad you got those boots! WELLIES AND WALKING BOOTS
Get yourself a pair of wellies and some good quality socks- both waterproof and comfortable - whatever you wear on your feet take them off when you go to bed - wet feet = 'trench foot'. This is not nice, not nice at all! Avoid at all costs.
Waterproof s are essential they take no space and weigh nothing but when its hissing it down you'll be laughing, Take a spare pair of trousers so you've got a fallback if anything happens to your fav 'wear everywhere set'. Go for stuff that's versatile, a sarong a great item, wear them as a top, headgear (hides the hair you haven't been able to wash), tie as a skirt or dress if the sun puts in an appearance! Adds an extra layer if it chills down and can look really cool! Take a couple of your favourite t-shirts and a warm jumper, cardy or fleece for when the sun goes down...CASHMERE JUMPER AND CARDIE
Drugs and Alcohol.
Alcohol. Try to know your limits! You are the best judge as to how much is enough - don't drink on an empty stomach or mix it with drugs, prescription or otherwise. Silly things are much more likely to happen when people are very drunk; accidents, losing or quarrelling with friends and getting lost are just a few of the hazards. If one of your mates does drink too much, don't leave them alone or let them wander off (however annoying they might be, and we do know how annoying very drunk people can be) encourage them to re-hydrate with non-alcoholic drinks, e.g. water. If they do pass out, lay them on their side with a clear airway (the recovery position) and send someone to get help. Be wary of accepting an open drink, like a can, from a stranger - people have been 'spiked' and subsequently robbed and/or assaulted.
Drugs are just as illegal on-site as off-site and there will be police around, many in undercover operations - to be honest festivals are not the place to experiment with stuff for the first time. You might not get the effect you expect, you can easily put yourself at great risk, even if you think you're used to a particular drug, you may get ripped off or sold some dodgy gear. Don't know what it is? Don't take it!
If things do get bad, If you do freak out or want some information, then come to the welfare point (if there is one), it's a safe haven, you won't be judged, no-one will preach to you and it will provide a safe space if you're having a bad time - and it's absolutely confidential.
"Herbal Highs" may be legal at this time, but can still make you feel nauseous or anxious, get some advice at the stall if you decide to buy them. If the stall-holder seems not to know or care - go somewhere else! Welfare or Information Points may be able to advise you about these things.
A needle exchange may be found at welfare and/or first aid at some events.
If you want some more detailed advice before the event, about any drug, in confidence, you can contact the National Drugs Helpline on 0800 77 66 00 or visit there website at www.ndh.org.uk
Noise and Special Effects.
High sound levels can do serious permanent damage to your hearing! Don't stick your head in the bass speaker bins until your ears bleed! If you think you have hearing damage seek medical advice.
The smoke, fog and vapour from special effects units used on stage should not cause you any problems but strobe type lighting effects can cause epileptic fits in those who suffer from flicker sensitive epilepsy.
Lasers and Ultra Violet lighting are the two remaining effects that cause problems, so don't go looking directly into the beam of a laser or you may suffer eye damage and U.V. lighting can cause skin problems like sun burn.
The conditions listed here are very rare indeed and control systems are usually in place, the main control is keeping people at a safe distance and issuing warnings. Perhaps the most serious problem originates with strobe type lighting so take notice of any warnings given or displayed.
Campfires at most festivals are banned, due to the crowded conditions and dry land so don't bother, it's a danger and a hazard to everyone. Many people suffer burns and serious injury from camping stoves at events, keep cylinders and stoves upright when changing cylinders, never change gas cylinders in your tent, near naked lights or when smoking and never attempt cooking inside a tent. A fire can spread through a festival campsite in minutes with possible catastrophic consequences - take real care. Tests have shown that gas from camping stoves can travel a long distance across the surface of the ground so to prevent fires tents should beat least three meters apart if possible. A torch is the safest form of lighting, don't use candles or flares, not only are they a fire risk but hot dripping wax can cause serious burns.
What can we say about the toilet situation? You're gonna have to go so just make sure you wash your hands after (clothes pegs for the nose and perfume to mask nasty smells are an optional extra) remember you really don't want 'festival tummy'! 'Nuff said?
Use the toilets - don't piss in the hedges - can you imagine the environmental damage caused by 100,000 people pissing in the hedges? (Not to mention the health risks) It's not big, it's not clever and it's not funny.
Taking kids to festivals can be great fun. Here are a few tips on how to manage the festivals with children:
If you have children keep a close eye on them at a festival. Kids have a nasty habit of getting lost very easily. Do all the safety things you would normally do going out, but be aware that there are lots of things to attract your child out of your sight. In case they get lost make sure that you know what they are wearing and have told them what to do if they get lost - find a police officer, steward or a 'mummy with kids'. It's a good idea to put a mobile phone number on the child somewhere (a wrist band, or sticker on t-shirt), so that if they are found you are easily contacted. Contact festival welfare and the police on site if you have lost your child and they will help you get reunited, emergency announcements can be made from the stage and normally this will be arranged by Welfare, do not waste your time and everybody else's by going to the stage and trying to arrange stage announcements yourself - it won't happen! Go to Welfare, that's what they are there for!
Lost kids and lost property should be reported/taken to the Welfare Point so it can be reclaimed/returned after the event lost property will be handed over to the Police and lost kids to Social Services.
Some (but by no means all) events have special facilities for children including crèches, play areas and children's entertainment but that does not mean you can just dump the kids off for the weekend, you will almost certainly be required to stay with your kids and the children's facilities are usually closed by early evening. Some events have age restrictions or are not considered suitable for kids- check in advance. Pick the right festival. The best festivals for kids are those which include more than bands alone - so look for events that are more rounded with arts and crafts or world music. Often these events will have specific stuff for kids laid on.
Make sure you really do want to take your child/children with you. Remember that you are going to miss out on a few things if they go with you and there is no point in going to all the trouble of taking them if you are simply going to feel frustrated at the end of the day. You'd be better off trying to arrange a babysitter (even if it means going for less time) and having a blast on your own. The idea that you can do everything you want to with children in tow is a misnomer, unless you are prepared to let your kids suffer.
But remember, they are still only kids (even young teenagers) and are therefore more vulnerable to all the dodgy aspects of a festival site: big crowds, loud noise, drugs, alcohol, drunks and weirdo's.
Be prepared. Make sure you have everything to provide for their needs. Take anything to the festival that your child is unhappy without. Most babies through to 13 year olds are pretty flexible, but if there is a dummy, teddy, pillow or toy that your child relies upon, then take it to ensure plenty of relaxing times. Having said this, you should never take anything to a festival that you are not prepared to lose.
Chill out - remember that you are on holiday, having a break, trying to relax, and so are your kids, so let the kids have a good time. Forget about those normal rules and play
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Don't forget your waterproofs!
Packing and checklist
Enjoy a stress-free Glasto by checking out our Glasto Guide, which contains all the essential info you need to have a happy, healthy, fun-packed Festival. What to take? What to wear? This section will help you out with all your packing dilemmas!
As a rule, always prepare for the worst at festivals. If the weather is awful, you'll be ready for it.
And travel light! Everything becomes much, much heavier when it's lugged around or soaking wet.
So, when you think you've finished take another look, and get rid of the excess. Alternatively, get a mate to do it - they'll be a lot more ruthless.
You can use this as a guide to what you should pack for camping. It's not exhaustive, but you won't go too far wrong if you're prepared.
If you wear glasses, try and pack a second pair
- Your photo ID to accompany your ticket - you'll need to show both your ID and the ticket at the turnstiles to get in
- Plenty of loo roll and wet wipes
- Wellies - if it rains, the welly stalls sell out in five minutes
- Lots of plastic bags - pack everything in them; they keep it all dry
- Bin liners are great too: useful to sit on - and they fit in your pocket!
- A lightweight waterproof coat and hat
- Combats make great festie trousers - lots of zippable pockets
- Paracetamol/aspirin for the mornings after
- Your mobile - make sure it's charged up and keep it with you all the time. You could get a disposable phone charger before you go
- Sunglasses, sun hat and plenty of sun cream (just in case!)
- Thick jumper - even summer nights get cold
- Loose clothing
- Torch, plus batteries
- Tampons - if you'll need them!
- Tin opener
- Condoms - you never know!
- Sleeping bag
- Vital medication
- Tent (if you're sharing a tent and you're carrying parts of it separately, make sure you all know who's responsible for bringing what before you set off!)
- Soap/baby wipes - no-one likes sharing a tent with someone who smells
- Chocolate - if your money runs out, something with high amount of sugar will keep your energy up for the long trek back home
- If you wear glasses, try and pack a second pair. They're a common casualty in an excited crowd
- Bring all your drinks in plastic bottles - glass is not allowed on site
- An attitude
- Glass bottles - they'll be confiscated
- Your favourite pair of shoes
- Any of your favourite clothes
- Anything you can't carry with you all the time, heavy cameras for example
- Anything at all which you'd really miss if you lost it CARRY ON ME ALL THE TIME EVEN ON LOO TRIPS LATE AT NIGHT
Obviously I won't use all the above: condoms and sanitaries are out plus beer.
I hope I get a Concession Ticket Cheque fare Cash at least £60 cheque for fee voila! Cheltenham station and free bus. ring mummy when i get there if I get there. I didndt ring them but I got in at other greenbelts last minute for whole weekend. just force yourself out early babe to reap fruit of emptyish site.