Even experienced festival-goers make mistakes. The wrong camping spot, not packing the right things the list goes on. I’ve been going to festivals for over a decade and can safely say I have f**cked up a few times along the way and I can safely say I have learnt from my mistakes! Read My 8 Festival Mistakes so you don’t make them.
1. Picking the wrong camping spot at a Festival!
Picking the right camping spot can make or break your festival experience, and after some trial and error, I have learnt (sometimes the hard way) which spots are better than others. Getting the ideal camping spot is a cocktail of experience, common sense and luck – you can influence two of them so why not better your chances of getting it right?
Here is a basic ‘get a good camping spot’ checklist:
✓ Not too close to the toilets or water taps.
✓ Far enough from the paths to avoid people falling on your tent at night & soggy ground near your tent.
✓ Ensure you are not on a hill (and if you have to be, have your feet going downhill when you lie down).
✓ Easy walking distance to your designated car park/bus pick-up and drop-off point.
✓ Near to a landmark or something recognizable to make your tent easier to find.
2. Taking too many clothes to a Festival!
It’s easy to think that more clothes to choose from is a good idea ‘just in case’ you need them. Or that more clothes means have outfit options at the festival. Who do we think we are sometimes? We are not Beyoncé doing an outfit change every song at a concert on a tour. Pre-plan outfits before the festival and pack them into separate packing cubes in your bag. That way you are not digging around trying to find something to wear.
Taking too many clothes is also a nightmare to carry! I made this mistake at Glastonbury. All my friends were blissfully wandering around looking for a camping spot with their small (normal-sized) backpack and their tent. Whereas I was loaded up like a trail donkey, laden with bags, bits strapped onto me left, right and center! I was sweating through my top, struggling and getting more and more over it!
Trust me, carrying your alcohol, food, tent, camping bits and whatever else is heavy enough. Then add your mountain of clothes and you will soon be struggling as well!
READ MORE >> Festival Packing List <<
3. Not taking enough clothes to a Festival!
I know I’ve banged on about packing too many clothes, however not taking enough clothes can also be a pain. If going to a UK Festival, it’s unlikely be all ‘Summer Vibes’, Coachella-like sunshine, and blue sky all day long. Even if you get lucky during the day, at night temperatures can drop MASSIVELY. When Hannah and I went to Wilderness Festival we had to buy coats from a vintage stall at the festival because we were FREEZING at night. We had seemingly only packed clothes suitable for a tropical island getaway.
Essentially, be sure to take a jumper, raincoat and leggings/jeans just in case the weather is not in your favour!
4. Not drinking enough water at a Festival!
I’m terrible at not drinking enough water on a daily basis, but add a festival into the mix, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Be more eco-friendly at your next festival and make sure you take a reusable water bottle to fill up during the festival. Most/all festivals I have been to have had outdoor drinking taps where you could fill up a reusable bottle from. I also would recommend a Chilly bottle or a similar insulating bottle so that if you do leave it in your tent all day, you don’t wake up or come back to warm water! YUCK.
5. Not getting enough sleep at a Festival!
I get it – you have waited for ages to get tickets to festivals like Glastonbury or Tomorrowland, and you want to experience as much as you can of them. However, festivals are a marathon not a sprint. For two-day festivals, I’ve wandered back to my tent in the early hours of the morning, or finally gone to sleep when the sun was rising. But with some festivals being 3-5 or even 7 days long, like Sziget or Glastonbury, you need to make sure you get enough sleep to actually enjoy yourself whether it’s day 1 or 5!
6. Not researching the Festival lineup before I arrived!
Everyone normally knows at least a few of the headliners at a festival, and no doubt it was them playing that weighed in on your decision to go to that festival in the first place. But – every festival will have some incredible less well-known artists that are starting out in the festival careers and need the help of the public to get them noticed. I wish I had done this for Glastonbury, Tomorrowland and Bestival – they always have fantastic smaller bands/artists that I heard were ‘epic’ and a ‘must see’ only after the festival when I got the low-down from friends!
Be sure to have a look at the names lower down the lineup! Give them a listen online and then, when you get to the festival, you will have a whole bunch of artists to see that don’t just start at 9pm on the main stage. I have seen some of the most incredible bands/artists at festivals that (at the time) were up and coming or I had never heard of before > Caravan Palace, Jade Bird, Lucy Spraggan and even Ed Sheeran to name a few!
7. Not carrying my paper ticket / ticket confirmation / ID with me at all times during the Festival!
So this was one of my biggest Glastonbury Mistakes, but some festivals (including Glasto) will require you to show you paper ticket upon re-entry if you leave the site to go to your car, get supplies etc… AND will need you to show ID at a bar to buy alcoholic drinks. At Glastonbury 2019 I made this mistake. I did not take my paper ticket with me when I went out to my car to grab something. Luckily, I found this out before I left the site, but it meant I had to walk all the way back to my tent (45min walk or more) to fetch my ticket before making the journey back again to get to my car!
8. Not taking a big enough tent to a Festival!
This was a mistake I made at my very first festival (Reading Festival) back when I was 16. Myself and my friend Amy had purchased a two-man tent thinking ‘Yep, that would be plenty of space for the two of us and that a smaller tent would be easier to set up, lighter to carry and less effort overall.’ All of these are fair points, but having also not seen the tent before our friend (who arrived to the festival a day before us) kindly set it up for us, we soon realised we messed up and were slightly horrified on arrival. The tent WAS TINY, resembling a tent kids play in at the beach and definitely only big enough for 1 adult – we couldn’t even lie down next to each other let alone stand up or get changed. Since then, I have always taken a tent I can stand up in and for more people than I needed. This way I have plenty of space to sleep, store my stuff and get changed without playing a muddy, drunk version of Twister with my tent pals.
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