Want to cook your own food at your next festival to save money?
Have you ever found yourself at a festival, surrounded by overpriced and unappetising food options? Festival food is great, but it’s not always to everyone’s taste.
Also, if you have specific dietary requirements then you may feel more comfortable bringing your own food with you instead of queueing up to buy meagre portions of chips.
Cooking your own food at a festival is not only more cost-effective, but also allows you to have more control over what you eat.
If you’re wondering how to cook your own food at your next music festival, then you’re in the right place.
Fussy eaters are welcome here! I am a fussy eater, so I understand the anxiety about not knowing what food is available.
What You Need To Know About Cooking Your Own Food At Festivals
Here’s what you need to know:
Research The Festival’s Rules And Regulations Regarding Cooking Equipment & Food.
Before you start planning your menu and packing your bags, it’s important to research the festival’s rules and regulations regarding cooking equipment and food storage first.
Some festivals will have a designated area in the campsite to cook.
Others will not allow cooking in camping areas at all. Or even food in general, some festivals give assurances to stalls and markets that they will have no outside competition.
But a very small percentage do allow controlled fires in campgrounds, and even give out wood!
As you can see it really does vary. So make sure you have a look at the festival organisers official website, they are bound to have what you need to know there.
Can You Take Camping Stoves To A Festival?
We have found that in many cases yes, you can take stoves to most festivals.
However, as we have already mentioned. you should always check the festival’s rules and regulations around stoves and cooking, as some festivals have restrictions on the type or size of cooking equipment that is allowed.
For example, don’t expect to be allowed to roll in a 4kg full-sized gas bottle-fed garden barbecue, but a small camping stove will be fine. It’s ultimately up to the landowner and festival organisers to decide whether cooking is permitted or not.
Can You Take Your Own Food To A Festival?
Most festivals will allow you to bring food in with you as you arrive, but what kind of food may be restricted depending on the type of festival.
Festivals like Glastonbury allow their attendees to bring food with them, but they request that people do not bring excess packaging, and only enough for personal consumption (don’t try and run a campsite kitchen!)
If in doubt check the rules of the specific festival before you pack your bags.
What Food Is Good To Take To A Festival?
Ultimately this rests with you! It depends on what you are willing to cook, how much time you are happy to spend cooking each day, dietary requirements and what food you like!
We’ve put this list together for ideas and inspiration:
For quick camping food:
- Instant noodles and pasta
- Canned foods like soups and the infamous beans.
- Boil in the bag rice
- Dehydrated meals
- Instant oatmeal
- Snacks (granola bars, trail mix, crisps)
- Meat jerky/biltong
- Sliced bread (for toasting or dipping in soup)
For the discerning Camp Chef:
- Vegetarian frozen sausages, burgers and any other frozen meat replacements. These last longer than meat counterparts and are safer.
- Pre made sandwiches, rolls or baguettes!
- Dried/cured meats.
- Marinated/preserved meats and vegetables.
- Veggies for grilling.
- Pre made food that can be warmed later like cous cous, pasta and potatoes
- Herbs, spices and flavouring.
- Small bottle of oil for cooking with.
- Raw potato, cut it in to chips, add seasoning and fry in a pan! lots of options with a potato especially if you have foil.
Remember to also consider other types of food that are easy to cook and transport. The possibilities are endless with enough planning and ambition.
See also: Festival food packing inspiration
How To Pack Food For A Festival
There are two main things to keep in mind when you are packing festival food – keep it safe and keep it fresh!
Some of the food you take will be able to survive the journey there, but when packing your perishable or softer food, try to pack it in something solid like a plastic tub or cooler box.
You should wrap pre made food in foils rather than plastic wraps, foil is better at keeping your food fresh and maintains temperature better. You can also heat food in the foil.
Plastic wrap is also harmful for the environment as it can’t always be recycled.
Festival Food Packing Tips
Make sure you have a designated place for your food when bringing it in, putting food that can open spill or leak in with your bag of clothes for example, could end badly!
Like we mentioned earlier, keep these items in something solid, but you could use a waterproof dry sack if you have no other option.
When you in and you’ve set up your tent, there are some tips on how to keep it safe and fresh:
- Make sure you place food and drinks on the side of your tent that has the least amount of sun.
- If it’s hot and sunny keep your tent ventilated, by opening doors and vents while you’re at camp.
- Keep you’re food closely packed in a sealed container rather than loose this will help keep it cool.
- If possible and convenient place a wet towel over any food contained in bags or loose, this will help keep it fresh and cool. Even just covering the food with coats or clothes will help keep it fresh.
- Keep food sealed and closed – this should keep those pesky ants away!
What Should You Take To A Festival?
Next we will have a look at the type of things you may need to pack, so you can enjoy your chosen festival menu!
- Portable camping stove/ Portable BBQ (if allowed)
- Fuel for stove (propane or butane)
- Camping stove wind shield.
- Safety cutlery (no sharp knives!)
- Plates, bowls, cups.
- Cutting board.
- Can opener.
- Pot or pan for cooking.
- Lighter or matches (in case your stove ignitor breaks)
- Cooler bag.
- Tupperware containers.
- Cooler box.
- Plastic tub.
- Cooler packs to keep with perishable food.
Keep your cooking utensils, pots and pans clean! clean them as soon as possible after cooking, it will stop pests crawling in looking for a snack, but also saves you work later when the food has dried on!
- A washing bowl (this can double as food storage)
- Dish soap.
- Towel for drying.
- A bag for packaging waste.
Note: Keep in mind the festival rules regarding cooking of food before you pack.
Is It Safe To Cook At A Festival?
You will carefully need to consider where you cook, do not set up a stove close to your tent or anyone else’s!
Cook in a space that has around meter and a half diameter space around the stove, this will prevent damage if the stove falls or there are spills.
When you are using a camping stove, keep in mind a lot of the surrounding tents are fire resistant but not fire proof, they will slowly burn/melt away if exposed to constant heat.
A tried and tested method to keeping you safe while using a gas canister is to have a soaking wet towel nearby incase the worse happens where the gas can ignites or cannot be turned off.
Place the wet towel over the can suffocating it and smothering the flames. Be careful and avoid any urges to try to stamp out the fire, you could cause further damage and more gas to release suddenly.
Pour as much water as possible on to the towel when it is over the flames and get help asap.
What About Cooking In Bad Weather?
You should make a backup plan in case of bad weather, for safety reasons you should never cook inside a tent that is not fully ventilated, to avoid fire but also build up of dangerous gasses that can remain in the tent long after the stove is out.
If it’s raining use a gazebo (if allowed!), a larger tents porch (ventilated with doors and windows open) or even a tarpaulin suspended high enough between tents! get creative with your cook camp set up.
Final Thoughts And Tips: Cooking Your Own Food At A Festival
You should make a list of all the necessary equipment and food items you’ll need for your trip.
This might include things like a portable stove, cooking utensils, and containers for storing and transporting food. Make sure you have everything you need to prepare and serve your dishes, and consider any additional items you may need for safety or sanitation.
Think about the type of food that is easy to cook and transport. You’ll want to choose dishes that are not only delicious, but also easy to prepare and pack up.
Consider items that can be made in advance and stored in containers, such as sandwiches, salads, and fruit.
Avoid dishes that are fragile or require heavy refrigeration, as these can be difficult to transport and keep safe.
It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case of inclement weather or lack of resources.
The key is to be prepared for any eventuality, so that you can enjoy the festival without worrying about your food.
By following these tips, you can be sure that you’ll have cheap but delicious meals at the festival, without any worries about your cooking equipment or food storage. So it’s time to pack your bags, bring your appetite, and get ready to enjoy the food and flavours of the festival!