Last year I went to Latitude Festival by myself. I was apprehensive but I really wanted to go and none of my friends could get time off or afford it.
It seemed silly but I was more nervous about spending the weekend in Suffolk by myself at a festival, than the eight months of solo travel I’d planned after it. I just thought I’d look like a sad, loner twat with no friends.
The low point
As I struggled to put up my tent by myself I definitely felt like a sad, loner twat. Even though I’d used it before I just couldn’t work out how the poles went in the holes. I felt like everyone everywhere was staring at me wondering what I was doing by myself.
It took 30 minutes, perhaps 45 max, and it was done and I was in. And that was by far the worst part of going to the festival by myself, over.
It was onward and upward.
How to do a festival alone
When you’re at a festival alone it’s like everyone else knows each other, all of them, but you. With the craziness of the last few months before I went I actually quite liked this. I just went about my business seeing more bands than I probably did at all the music festivals I’ve been to before put together, checking out every corner of the festival and doing exactly as I pleased.
I had a great time on my own at Latitude Festival but if you’re the only one from your crew that wants to go to a particular one, and the thought of it wracks your nerves, , don’t let that stop you. Here are a few ways you can survive a festival all by yourself.
Find other festival loners online beforehand
Do some pre festival online friending. You could look around for groups online. I found a Latitude loner group on Facebook, which I can’t seem to find now, and had every intention of meeting them but I just didn’t fancy it when I got there.
Everybody needs good neighbours
Make friends with your neighbours. I’m guessing my Latitude neighbours were between 16- 18, so I don’t think they wanted to make friends with me, but this is a great way to make some friends for the festival. You could make up some fantastical story about why you’re at the festival alone and no one would ever know the difference. Might as well get what you can from the experience.
Talk is cheap / free
Chat to people in line or while you’re waiting for the band. People who go to festivals are the best kind of people. In my experience they’re also generally up for meeting new people and having a laugh. I started off at Sziget Festival by myself, before my friends arrived the next day, and had a great time chatting to people at the bar about their ridiculous headwear. It seemed to be a theme there.
Another alternative is to take photos. When I was at Sziget Festival I needed photos for an article I was writing on on ridiculous festival fashion – this gave me a great excuse to approach people and ask for their pic. It was a good icebreaker.
Roll with the isolation
Enjoy the alone time. I didn’t plan it, but this ended up being my strategy. Latitude is a great festival for anyone on their lonesome. I watched loads of comedy in the day, chilled on the ground at the acts I wanted to chill at, danced at the ones I wanted to dance at and went to bed when I felt like it. My tent was a mess, and there was no one to clean it up for.
Flips of no festival friends
- Get to see loads of bands
- Get to go as close to the front as you want
- Only have to think about yourself
- Go to bed when you want
- Get up when you want
- Don’t drink or eat as much
- Space in the tent
Flops of no festival friends
- No one to banter with
- Or drink with
- Or dance with
- Or support you home
- No one to take photos of you to prove you were there
Yeah, like with travel, I’d rather go with a friend, but if there’s not one available I’m not going to let that stop me.