Choosing where to camp at a festival is a BIG decision.
Want to know how you spot a festival first-timer?
They’re the ones whose tents look a little lank and are swimming in sewage. They’re also sporting that wide-eyed lack of sleep look and have the smell of damp clinging to their clothes. Why?
Because it takes having a few flower crown-wearing years under the belt to suss out the best spots to camp at a festival. That is unless you have a guide telling you exactly where to pitch your tent.
So make this list of do’s and don’ts your essential festival reading.
1. Take the high ground
Literally look for the highest spot you see. The idea of dragging your post-party body up a hill at the end of each day might not sound so appealing, but if you don’t want to be waterlogged when that inevitable downpour hits then the workout is worth it.
2. Keep it even
Once you’re a little elevated, the actual spot you set up camp on should be flat and void of any stones or sharp objects. You don’t want to be rolling down onto your festival buddy or lying on stones in your sleep.
3. Look for cover
If there’s a big tree or something to act as a canopy, opt to set up base underneath it. Without some kind of protection, your tent will be roasting in the sunshine and damp in the rain, regardless of how waterproof it claims to be.
4. Avoid pathways
Pitching up by a path that leads directly to the stages might seem like a good idea, but in reality it equates to a lot of noise from passersby and increases chances of tipsy festival go-ers entering the wrong tent, aka yours. Of course that could happen anywhere, but do yourself a favour and put some distance between your tent and the path for a little more privacy.
5. Consider porta-loo proximity
This one is pretty self explanatory. Too close and those fresh odours will make their way up your nose for the duration of the festival, but too far and you’ll be roaming around in the dark when nature calls at nighttime.
6. Move away from the main stage
Again it’s not hard to guess why. While you want to hear The Weeknd and Panic! At The Disco, do you want to hear blaring tunes in the wee hours of the morning when you’re finally getting some shut eye? Didn’t think so.
If you’re taking a stove, make sure you know all about gas safety at festivals.
And, it’s always useful to have some knowledge of First Aid too.
7. Try not to tent twin
Come May, it’s common to nip to Argos to buy the big blue tent that’s on offer. Only everyone has the same idea and come Glastonbury, the fields are a sea of the same tents. To avoid getting lost, set yours up next to one that doesn’t look so similar and near to some sort of landmark, or else make yours stand out with stickers or a flag. You can see some of the best flag poles for festivals available here.
8. Keep clear of campfires
Depending on where in the world you are, campfires can be a common occurrence at a festival and who doesn’t love the fireside sing songs and toasted marshmallows? But, if your tent is pitched nearby, you run the risk of smelling like a barbecue and having to fall asleep to the sounds of off-key singing all weekend — not to mention the potential fire hazards.
9. Buddy up
If you’ve got a few groups of friends going to the same festival, try to coordinate on your camping areas. This will save you time trudging from zone to zone searching for your friends and make it easier for you as the social butterfly to spend time with all your buds. If you can also all position your tents in a circle, it’ll give you your own private area to chill in and prevent people from wandering in.
If you are going to a festival on your own – check out these tips to find some friends before you go.
10. Get digging
Some hardcore campers even advise digging a trench around your tent. Although it sounds extreme, it allows you to claim your space and stops others from parking their tent right outside your door. This is bad festiquette, but all too common with late-comers in desperate search of a spot.
11. Be the early bird
So what exactly are your chances of meeting all these requirements and securing such a perfect spot? Well, not great if you don’t arrive early. Whether it be Leeds Fest or the Isle of Wight Fest just do yourself the favour of getting there a few hours before the cool crew and you’ll be able to have the pick of the field.