Last year I went to 10 festivals in Europe and South Africa (!) and made some excellent memories and friends along the way. This year hasn’t been quite so full on SO FAR, but, it is only the start of the season.
My festival season 2017
1. Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight
2. Eroica Britannia, Derbyshire
3. Glastonbury, Somerset
4. Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames
5. Knysna Oyster Festival, Knysna, South Africa
6. Atlas Festival, Yorkshire
7. Gin Festival, Portsmouth
8. MS Dockville Festival, Hamburg, Germany
9. Victorious Festival, Southsea
10. Saas Fee Festival, Saas Fee, Switzerland
My Biggest Festival Mistakes
Looking back I feel like last year I wasn’t quite on the ball, and made too many festival mistakes for someone who should know better. I thought it might be useful to write them down to help me, and you, this year. Here goes, my festival mistakes report from 2017.
1. Our Glasto tent was too small
At Glastonbury we had a ‘four person’ tent from Amazon. Well, Jen’s double inflatable mattress filled one side, and Helen’s stuff and mattress filled the other. So muggins here slept in the middle alongside the bags, chairs, food and shoes.
Wasn’t particularly a nice experience.
At my next camping festival I’m insisting we use a decent sized tent. I have a Spruce Coleman that I was sent to try out at V Festival and Festival No 6 (I’d planned to go to both), and then life happened and I had to pull out at the last minute.
It’s got magic walls so it stays cool / warm, depending on what you want and has XXL rooms so plenty of space for the airbeds. I’ve had way too many bad sleeps in tents – 2018 I’m going all out and taking the best room in the Spruce Coleman.
2. Drank too much
One of my proudest achievements in life is being number one on Google for how to smuggle alcohol into festivals, go on, search it. But, as I’ve got older my tolerance has gone down, that combined with the fact I’m not a student any more, means that I think I should probably stop smuggling alcohol into festivals and just pay when I’m in there.
I know, I’ve changed, doesn’t mean you have to.
Drinking is always fun, while you’re in the process, but after, not so much. Took me at least a week to recover from Glastonbury, and a few days after for Victorious too. I’ve learnt that decanting an entire bottle of Jagermeister to take into a festival just isn’t as necessary as it used to be.
I’m still all about the wine bags though, for weekender festivals, and I think these pouches from Most Wanted Wines are a good shout for the day festivals. I was sent a few to try, and all have been drank. Easy to carry, and strong casing, means that they’re great to put in your bag for festivals, and picnics.
3. Took too much food and drink
Gawd that queue for Glastonbury, still haven’t got over it.
One of the most annoying things about it was carrying a bloody keg of Kronenburg which was the most awkward thing ever and nearly snapped my finger off at a few points. There was just no sensible way to carry it. I don’t even like fruit cider anyway so I wasn’t drinking it, and by the time we had it in it was grim.
I know I’ve written about the best food for festivals and the best drink to get in, and I stand by both those posts, but at the same time warm berry cider from a keg at your tent vs cold apple cider with ice at the main stage and for me, at this moment in my life, it’s totally worth it.
You just need a tin or two for the morning to warm you up, and maybe some of these wine tetra pak things, and that’s plenty.
For Glasto we bought sweets, crisps, chocolate, cakes, cereal – all grim by the time it’d been in the hot, hot heat. There was no need. My food for festivals article was written at a time when festival food was a burger or a grim bacon bap. Nowadays you can get such interesting food at festivals I don’t think I’ll bother taking any food at all to the festivals this year.
I know, shocker.
4. Didn’t research the line up
It’s been a really busy festival summer for me and I don’t think I was quite prepared for the festivals I went to. I remember going to Latitude in 2014 and Glastonbury in 2013 and I studied the line up and listened to every act so I could make my dream itinerary of who to see. It helped me discover new bands and to enjoy the music line up at the festivals more as I wasn’t just going to the main stage.
I got too cocky last year, probably due to the amount of festivals I went to. The music is almost always better when you know what you’re actually listening to. I’d definitely recommend you check out the festival playlists on Spotify so you can pick out a few new gems for your festival experience.
5. Stayed out too late
I felt like death after Glastonbury. Muscles ached, head hurt, gastroenteritis, but when I look back I was out till 4/5am every night. This is fine when the festival is just two or three nights but Glasto is pretty much a week. I need my sleep, I have to accept this. I’m not as young as I used to be.
6. Bought too much crap to Glastonbury
I love dressing up, I really do, but I think we were a little excessive and over excited for Glastonbury. We ended up spending an absolute fortune on wigs, glitter, leggings, costumes, and the aforementioned food and drink. The amount of rubbish, much unrecyclable, accumulated from festivals is just insane. I’m ashamed that I added to it.
The theme for this year’s festival summer? Minimalism.