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The First-Time Festival Survival Guide

27th June 2017

Music festival revellers image
It’s that time of year again – the flags are waving, the tents are packed and Kanye is in the wings ready to proclaim himself the unquestionable god of yet another genre/medium/country.

The festival period is met with a mixture of excitement, sun cream and wide-eyed trepidation as thousands of music fans don their flip-flops of hope or wellies of despair and head for the fields of yore.

But fear not first-time festival frolickers, for we have enlisted a crack team of fate, fair and carnival goers who have braved many a sweat sodden party-al-fresco to bring you all the tips, tricks and information you need to survive your first festival. Life is in the living, but it never hurts to be prepared…

Getting tickets & getting there

“You gotta fight, for your right, to party.” – Beastie Boys

Getting the train image
Naturally, the first part of festival going is actually getting tickets, which can be easier than it sounds. For the big events (such as Glastonbury), be prepared to spend hours in a virtual or telephonic queue as you steadily lose the will to live let alone attend a large gathering of noise fans. If possible, try and book tickets that come with some form of travel package – this will help if you live along easily reachable coach routes.

If you have decided that public transport is not your bag and you are going to join the blockade of vehicles driving to a festival, be sure to plan the route out ahead of time, including likely weather conditions. Also, don’t forget to fill the tank before you leave!

Also, if this is your first festival year – keep it simple. Think about forgoing the big events in favour of a couple of smaller ones, that way you won’t get overwhelmed and you’ll know what to expect in the future.

Pack the essentials

“That’s why a bear can rest at ease, with just the bare necessities of life.” – Baloo the bear

Festival supplies image
Food & water – What’s the first thing you should be putting in your backpack for a festival? That’s right, Cider. No, wait, scratch that, food and water! You are going to be able to purchase food and drink at a festival, but the queues will be long, and the prices high! Pack as much food and drink as you can so that you limit the refreshment you will need to purchase. It’s also important to check with the events rules before you leave – just in case some limit what items you can bring.

Medicines – Obviously be sure to take any medication that you usually use, as well as plenty of other items you may need. Insect repellant, paracetamol, ibuprofen and anything of the ‘dealing with a bad stomach’ variety. Your best bet would be to head to your local pharmacy and ask them what they think you will need for the gentle weekend away you have planned!

Baby Wipes – Ask any festival goer what the number one, cast iron item you must take with you is and you’ll be sure to be met with a stern yet desperate look. “Baby wipes – as many as you can carry” will be the response. These bad boys may very well be your sole source of hygiene for the event (I know, fun right?), whether it’s to placate the soul swallowing abyss that are festival toilets or as a makeshift ‘tent bath’, you simply cannot have enough of them.

Tech – Your mobile phone and a way to charge it are crucial, particularly if you are going to a large festival and risk losing members of your party. Some hand-wind chargers can help give you that boost you need to get your device going again. Though if you are planning on becoming a regular festival aficionado, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a cheap festival phone. Something hardy and simple, preferably with Snake.

Duct Tape – Trust us, you will find incredibly inventive ways to use tape – and you won’t realise how much you need it until you don’t have it!

Camping equipment

“You sent flowers, we spent hours. We can be happy, alone in a tent. Just think of the money we’d save on rent.” – Ella Fitzgerald

Festival camping gear image
Unless you plan on sleeping under the stars and taking your chances with hyperthermia, you are going to need a tent and all the fillings. Many guides will suggest that you go cheap when it comes to a tent, as you are likely to simply leave it there. However, anyone who has ever actually slept in a cheap tent during poor weather will know that a night’s kip in trench warfare conditions does not a fun festival make. If you are able to comfortably bring a tent with you, it is certainly worth purchasing one that will give you some form of respite across the event. You can then bring it home and keep it safe and sound ready for your next rendezvous with regressive rock.

A sleeping bag is of course essential, but a roll matt can be a small item that makes a big difference when it comes to bedding down for the night. Plastic bags to keep all your muddy items in are a godsend, especially at the end of festival when all you want to do is stuff your items away.


“Money talks, but it don’t sing and dance. And it don’t walk, and as long as I can have you here with me, I’d much rather be, forever in blue jeans.” – Neil Diamond

Festival wellies image
Another large consideration should be paid to what you are planning to put on your back. When it comes to festivals, you simply cannot trust the weathermen. Forget Michael Fish, and pack for all occasions! That means sunnies and wellies, a raincoat and a t-shirt, some jeans and some shorts. We’re not saying you need to pack for a fortnight – just for hot and cold. Oh and plenty of underwear!

Coming home

“Tonight, tonight, I’m on my way, I’m on my way. Home sweet home.” – Mötley Crüe

Packing up image
So you’ve flown your flags, moshed your final pit and sufficiently done enough damage to your ears to keep you in tinnitus for decades to come. What now? Well, firstly resist the urge to just leave everything and flee to the exit. Bring everything back with you that you could realistically use again – so much money is wasted on leaving items that could be useful on your next trip.

Make sure that you have given yourself enough time off from adult beverages, so that you are safe to drive – the last thing you need is to get pulled over carrying all your camping gear.

When it comes to the issue of what to do with all that gear, you could pack it all together and keep it somewhere dry like a garage, or perhaps a better option would be to keep it in storage. Self storage units are a convenient way to keep all your gear safe and clean when you are not using it, without cluttering up your home.

For more information and advice on storage your camping and festival gear, check out this guide we wrote last year: Top Tips for Keeping your Camping Equipment Safe Out of Season.

So there you have it, the first-time festival survival guide. Enjoy the events you brave for the first time, festivals are meant to be a time to chill out and enjoy yourself. But remember: baby wipes.

If you need somewhere to store your festival gear once you’re back home, consider Easystore Self Storage. We have a variety of domestic storage solutions available including storage for students, storage when moving house and more. Whether you need access to a storage unit in Cardiff or Bridgend, we can help. Why not contact us or get a quote today?

[Image credits – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Author: Brendan

Brendan is the owner of Easystore Self Storage.

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