Line-ups are starting to appear, tickets are selling out already and you are frantically booking time off work and arranging your finances to be able to go to all the festivals you have your eye on this year. Although every festival is different, there are certain things which I think are essential to know for any festival you go to. Have a look at my Festival Packing List and follow my simple Festival Essentials A-Z below so you will be ready to rock it this festival season.
A – Alcohol
Pretty much top of most people’s lists of priorities for a festival, but goes without saying, take your own alcohol. It will save you a lot of money over the whole festival and is worth that extra effort of carrying it to your camping spot. Every festival has different rules about alcohol in terms of what you are allowed to bring, and in what quantities. Some have no limit, others specify the number of cans, bottles of wine etc so do check each individual festival’s FAQ page.
B – Baby Wipes
Baby wipes or any wet wipes will be your new BFF during festival season.
C – Camping stuff
This goes without saying, camping stuff when camping at a festival is essential. The main bits to remember are:
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
My full festival packing list has everything else you might need!
D – Dancing Shoes
You will be on your feet pretty much all day so don’t underestimate the amount of walking you will do. Take sensible shoes that you can dance or walk and enjoy the festival in, no one wants sore feet or blisters on day 1! Leave the wedges and heeled boots at home and take something which looks fab but is also functional.
E – Explore
On the first day take your time to explore the festival site. Have a look around and scout out the cool food vendors, the smaller stages, those sneakily hidden toilets, or where the other campsites are. That way when the action all kicks off, you already know where you want to go or where you want to meet people.
Taking your own food to a festival is essential. Not only does it save you a lot of money, but it also means that when you wake up slightly worse for wear, you don’t have to find a place to eat and inevitably stand in a long queue.
That being said, try new food! Festivals are a foodies paradise and have loads of choice most of the time. Branch out and try something different, you might discover a new festival favorite.
G – Glitter
Need I say more? Glitter is a festival staple – end of. I always take it with me to a festival. Top Tip – Use Vaseline and a cotton bud to apply it.
H – Hand Sanitiser
This stuff is the holy grail to take for any festival! Hand sanitiser has saved me on so many occasions I have lost count. You can buy sensitive skin variations as well, if like me, your skin is particularly susceptible to getting dry or sore.
I – ID
Most festivals will require ID both on entry and at the bar when you want to buy a drink as proof of age. Make sure you have a valid ID with you at all times. The same goes for if you have purchased a student/child ticket. Make sure to take your student card or a photocopy of your passport as proof of age – just in case.
J – Jacket
Never underestimate the weather! Whether it’s set to be a scorcher or chuck it down with rain, take a jacket! I always take 2 jackets – my trusty North Face waterproof and my funky denim jacket so that come rain or shine I am ready.
K – Keep Valuables Safe
We all hear horror stories of people getting pick-pocketed or having their stuff stolen at a festival and look it does happen, but there are things you can do to make sure your stuff stays as safe and secure as possible.
- Sleep with your money, phone or any small valuables at the bottom of your sleeping bag at your feet while you are asleep. During the day keep them on you at all times.
- Where possible, rent a locker. A lot of festivals these days have lockers available to use throughout the festival. They come at an additional cost, however, for the sake of a few quid, it is really worth the piece of mind.
L – Loo Roll
Never, ever go to a festival without your own roll of toilet paper!! Campsite toilets at some festivals have loads of the stuff, others have none at all after about an hour. Take a small pack of tissues for the arena as well and keep the loo roll in the tent.
M – Money
It goes without saying that you will need money during a festival. Some festivals ‘go cashless‘ and instead have token systems, or in the case with Tomorrowland, have bracelets which you top up. Check online to see what the specific festival you are going to offer.
Food and drinks will be expensive so be prepared to spend about the same during the festival as you have on the ticket itself. But be sensible with your money. Drink your own alcohol first, eat the food you have brought with you, don’t leave huge amounts of cash in your tent, carry your cash and cards with you, or where possible use a locker!
N – Neighbours
Make friends with the people around you. You have all booked to go to the same festival so will have heaps of things to talk about. Not only that but making friends with your campsite neighbors is also great safety wise. They then know who is and is not supposed to be going into your tent and can prevent people from wandering into the wrong tent when they have had a few too many drinks.
O – Open minded
One of my biggest pieces of advice is to go in with an open mind. Don’t go to a festival having mapped out every hour of every day knowing exactly which bands you are going to see or what you are going to do. Some of my favourite bands were on tiny stages at the festival and I had never heard of them before. Be prepared to walk around and discover new music, try new food, meet new people and go with an open mind.
P – Portable Charger
Among other essential festival gadgets which I always take with me, I always make sure to take a battery pack or a portable charger with me. Charge it up at home before you leave for the festival, it will be an invaluable addition to your packing list!
Top Tip – When charging your phone on a battery pack/ portable charger, put it on airplane mode, it will charge your device faster and use less power from the charger pack!
Q – Quirky Clothes
Festivals are a chance to wear whatever you want, so be creative. Take that pair of sequin hotpants you have never worn or that jacket which ‘doesn’t go with anything’.
R – Rubbish Bags
Don’t be a litterbug in the campsite. Take a few bin bags with you to collect your rubbish and use the festival rubbish/recycling points. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but it will also make where you camp a whole lot nicer. No one wants to camp amongst a pile of empty cider cans or 2-day-old Pot Noodle pots!
S – Sun cream
You might be in the UK where seeing the sun at a festival genuinely makes everyone clap and cheer, but suncream at a festival is a must! Being out and about all day in the sun will take its toll on your skin, and being sunburnt at a festival is not only extremely painful temporarily, but it’s dangerous in the long run.
T – Tickets
Don’t forget to take your ticket! Some festivals send you your entry wristband in advance, so make sure you take that with you as well as a printed or screenshot copy of your ticket.
U – UV Paint
UV or any facepaint is another festival essential. Just make sure to take sponges or cotton buds to apply it.
V – Vitamins
Several days of heavy drinking, eating different food and probably a degree of dehydration will mean your body will be craving vitamins. Take some multi-vitamin tablets or my trusty companion – Berocca, for the mornings to refuel your body and cure that hangover at the same time. Win, win!
W – Wellies/Walking Boots
We might see photos of beautiful sunshine, people wearing floaty florals and sandals, and everyone enjoying a festival ‘living their best life’ on Instagram – however, the photos they don’t post are where it has pissed it down with rain, shoes are ruined and campsites look like a swamp. This can and does happen especially in the UK!
Take a good pair of wellies, walking boots or comfy boots. They will be invaluable when the weather turns nasty or if you are standing/walking a lot during the day!
X – Xtra Strong Paracetamol
Hangovers, dehydration, sunstroke – these are all common things that can happen at a festival. Always take some strong painkillers for those mornings where you wake up with a banging headache and a mouth drier than the desert. Even if you don’t need them, someone near you will – be a good neighbor.
Y – You
Look after yourself! Know your limits, don’t drink too much, stay hydrated, keep yourself safe, use 0800 PhoneHome to never lose your friends at the festival and your festival experience will be so much happier.
Z – Zzz’s – Sleep
Sleep is so important at a festival. To be able to do the whole festival and enjoy the last day as much as the first, make sure you get enough sleep. If you are camping, I recommend taking earplugs and an eye mask!