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Are you off to your first music festival this summer? Or perhaps you’re not a newbie, but you’re looking for tips to make your experience more comfortable? Well, you’re in the right place as this article contains some very useful hacks and practical tips for making the most of your festival experience.
These music festival hacks have derived from over 15 years’ worth of experience of attending music festivals in the UK, across Europe and the world!
If you have any other festival hacks or tips to share, don’t forget to drop a comment below this article!
1. Picking the Right Camping Spot
Try not to adopt the mentality of “any where’ll do” when you’re looking for a camping spot. We have standards here. There’s actually quite a lot to think about to get a perfect spot:
- How close is it to water/rivers/streams?
- If it rains, will the water likely flow in this general direction?
- Close enough to the toilets for bathroom trips in the early hours, but not so close that you can smell them
- Not right next to the footpath, but not deep into ‘tripping over guy ropes at 4am’ territory
- Is the ground flat enough for a comfortable night’s sleep?
- How far is it to the stage(s)/arena/entertainment?
2. ‘S’ Hooks
Most festival goers have a coat, bag or bum bag with them. Trying to use the toilet with a bag on your back (or around your waist) can be a bit…challenging to say the least. So, you’ll search for somewhere to put your bag… somewhere… anywhere that’s clean… or dry… nope.
The toilet floor will not be clean or dry and you will not want to put your bag on the floor. You won’t really be able to put it on the area around the seat either for similar reasons.
To solve this, get a pack of these ‘S’ hooks on Amazon and you can use them to hook over the cubicle door at a festival! Then, hang your bag or coat from this hook. Genius idea. You can keep them in your pocket too.
The doors at festival toilets are always thin enough for these hooks to fit over the top, keeping your bag safely hooked inside the cubicle with you and not getting covered in toilet juice!
3. A Makeshift Intruder Alert System for Your Tent
If you’re worried about someone breaking into your tent, there’s not much you can do to stop them. Tents are inherently insecure by design. Padlocks are useless as tents can be slashed and a padlock is probably an invitation to a thief saying “there’s something worth stealing inside!” Try leaving your tent in a mess to make it look more of a challenge instead of using a lock.
You should keep your valuables with you at all times, don’t leave them unattended inside your tent. When it comes to sleeping, it’s a good idea to keep your valuables on your person and not in your bag. A bag (or pair of trousers with full pockets) is easy to swipe and run.
A creative solution to stop tent-invaders when you’re asleep is to attach something noisy to the zips on the inside of your tent door. Keep a few empty beer cans with the ring-pulls still attached. Then, tie some string through all the ring-pull holes and through the two inner tent zips. So, if someone tries to break-in, the noise of the cans rattling together will wake you and deter the thief!
Read more: Tips for tent security at music festivals
4. A Refillable Water Bottle
Take a refillable water with you. It’s important that you stay hydrated during summer music festivals. The weather can be hot – even in the UK!
Every festival will have water taps that you can use for free. If you bring a refillable water bottle too then you can have a constant supply of water – just top it up every time you walk past a tap and there’s no queue!
Bonus hack: Wrap the water battle in duct tape. Duct tape is useful for emergency tent repairs but it’s heavy and bulky to carry an entire roll in your backpack. So, wrap a few lengths around a water bottle to use in emergencies.
5. Take Bin Bags
Find out if the festival provides bin bags at campsites or bring a few of your own. You should keep two bin bags at your campsite: one for recycling (cans and plastic bottles) and one for general rubbish (food containers, etc).
Rubbish and litter accumulates very quickly around your campsite. Leave no trace is an important aspect of attending festivals and outdoor events. Stick by this. Did you know that the future of festivals depends on the environmental impact being reduced by both organisers and festival goers? You have a responsibility to the festival and to the planet!
Keep your campsite tidy and take your full bin bags to the rubbish collection point on your way home. If everyone does this, it would be wonderful!
6. Bring a Power Bank
Portable battery chargers, also called Power banks or Juice bars are a festival goer’s best friend! They are devices that contain a battery and a USB charging port (or two). That means you can plug your phone, iPad or Kindle into charge when you’re out and about.
Then, when your power bank is out of power, you simply recharge it and it’s good to go again!
It’s a good idea to bring a small power bank (at least 20,000mAh), fully charged, with you to a festival to keep your phone charged up throughout the weekend.
I know that some people are dead against bringing your phone to a festival, but it’s useful for finding your mates, taking photos and posting to social media (if that’s your thing, if not, live and let live!)
Read more: Best Power banks for music festivals
7. Get a Utility Belt
The festival bum bag or festival utility belt is one of those things that you wouldn’t be seen dead wearing usually, but they’re somehow essential for festivals! Let’s face it, being able to carry your day-to-day items hands-free is pretty liberating.
Utility belts are especially useful because they have multiple compartments and they look much cooler than a traditional bum bag. They do come at a heftier price tag, though.
8. Getting from A-to-B
If you’re at a large festival at one large stage watching an act that finishes at 9pm, but there’s another act on another stage on the other side of the festival starting at 9:30pm. You’re at the front. What are your chances of seeing the second band? Ummm.. You’re not going to make it!
If you want to quickly flit between acts, be aware there is often a very large distance between stages. At very popular acts, it can actually take a very long time to leave the crowd to get back onto the footpath. The best solution is to stay ‘near the back’ and don’t go into the centre of the crowd.
You’ll often find bottlenecks occur when everyone else has the same idea, for example when one popular act is finishing and another is starting elsewhere, there will be a mad dash that turns into a slow shuffle.
Plan ahead and don’t miss your favourite acts!
9. Accept the Clashes
Festivals are vast with multiple entertainment areas running at the same time. You can’t be in two places at once and there will be clashes in your schedule.
As we don’t have the ability to temporarily make clones of ourselves, you can’t be in more than one place at once. Accept that and just enjoy the moment.
I’ve had some of my best festival experiences in the queue for food, or at a random act I wasn’t planning to see, or even when walking aimless around. It’s not all about the bands you see, you have the chance to make the most random memories that will last forever – embrace it and don’t moan about clashes!
10. Tent Identifiers
In a field full of tents, you’re guaranteed to find tents that are exactly the same as yours. Unless you have a photographic memory, forgetting where you put your tent is quite common at festivals!
You may think you’ll remember, but after 8 hours of enjoying the festival, drinking yourself into oblivion, by the time you return to where you thought your tent was, everything looks different, the surroundings have changed and you’re left like wtf.
Try to put a flag, some bunting or something to distinguish your tent – nothing too elaborate as you don’t want it to be pinched! Maybe draw a pattern on your tent with a permanent marker?
11. Food Clips / Resealable Food Bags
If you’re bringing any form of packaged food with you for your campsite, then food clips are really helpful. Take, for example, a large bag of peanuts. If you open those peanuts and eat a few then put the bag down, in a few minutes your tent will be full of peanuts.
Bring food clips to keep your food fresh and stop insects, bugs and flies getting at your food!
12. Where’s my Car?
The same goes for your car parking spot! Festival car parks are usually just another field that’s close-ish to the festival site. There will be several fields full of cars and unless you’re prepared, you’ll probably have forgotten where yours is parked.
So, when you arrive, look for any signs or references and take a photo of them. It should make it easier for you to locate your car when it’s time to go home!
13. ‘Going Home’ Kit
Pack yourself a ‘going home’ kit in your car for your undoubtedly arduous journey home.
It should include:
- Dry clothes
- Comfy shoes (for driving)
- Bottled water
- Cigarettes (if you smoke)
- Money (for petrol/service station stops)
Keep this tucked away in your car and forget about it until it’s time to go home, you’ll be glad you did as traffic can be horrendous when leaving a festival.
What are favourite music festival hacks? Drop a comment below!
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