At music festivals, the stereotypes are rich and familiar.
The mud, the exhaustion, the joy and the atmosphere are all that you expect them to be and more. The music is always magnificent, varied and surprising and you will always make new friends, some who last just for a few days and others who will last a lifetime.
You have heard all the stories but now the time has come to experience it all for yourself. Once you have organized your group of friends, secured your tickets and booked your travel, what are the key tips to ensure your first music festival surpasses all expectations and becomes one of the great experiences of your life? Here are three to get you started.
1. Don't forget a game or two
Of course, you are there for the music, the atmosphere, the party, the love and the chaos. But there will be times, before the bands start to play, when the sun is shining, and no one knows what to do. Sometimes bringing along a football, a cricket set or even a baseball and bat can help get everyone to get up and moving and give the group a pick-me-up before the real action begins. A little game will set you up perfectly for the long day and night that awaits. It can also be a great way to meet people who might be camping around you and want to join in. Good luck!
2. Drink lots of water
The idea of a music festival is (let's face it) to get caught up in the magic of it all. And it can be easy when you are right at the front, watching your favourite band play the set of their lives, to forget to think about yourself.
But if you want to last the full duration of the festival, you need to take water with you wherever you go. Trust us on this one. Of course, go ahead and play drinking games with the folks you just met while watching The Killers, stay up all night and party – just make sure you have a bottle of water that you can top up as the day goes on. If you don't, you may spend a day two in your tent recovering and miss all those amazing acts you highlighted on your festival programme before you left home. And what a shame that would be.
So, take care of yourself first and foremost and you will have an even better time. We promise.
3. Pack light but for the worst-case weather
We know you want to look incredible – of course you do – and you need enough clothing to see you through the entire festival. But try not to get carried away when you start packing. It is worth remembering that whatever you put in your bag, you’re going to have to carry it a fair distance, so try to keep it to the bare essentials or you will end up with a bag of unused clothes and a sore back from carrying it all. The essentials, of course, are your tent, sleeping bag, and food and drink. And maybe a medical kit. The rest is down to you, but take a good look at the weather forecast and assume you will get the worst of it.
Wear your heaviest items when you travel to and from the festival, as this will cut down on your load. The likelihood is that you are not going to get a proper wash or shower while you are at the festival and by day three or four, everyone will look the same – tired, a bit muddy and like they need a shower and a sleep. So, save the high fashion for another time and remember practical wins over posh every single time at a festival. Pack plenty of baby wipes too. They will become utterly essential. One last tip – don't bring a pillow, just bring the pillowcase and stuff your socks and soft clothes into it to sleep on. That way, you aren't taking up unnecessary space.