Love it or loathe it, festival season is upon us again.
Why do we do it to ourselves? Surely the sanitary horrors, the medieval standards of personal hygiene, the food poisoning/sunstroke/hypothermia (suspected) and the post-festival trench foot (confirmed) would teach any creature with the ability to learn and evolve that these are places to be avoided?
I don’t have the answers I’m afraid. What I do know, as someone who’s done more than her fair share of festivaling both as a performer and a partygoer, is that there are some basic rules to remember if you want to go to a festival and come back with your sanity (relatively) intact.
1. No matter how good the forecast, how many offerings you’ve made to the weather gods, no matter what the evidence of your senses tells you, NEVER, EVER ASSUME IT’LL BE SUNNY. The mere inclusion of a bikini top in your backpack is enough to make the skies darken and clouds gather ominously. However the corresponding principle is also true; come prepared for the worst and you’ll end up lugging an unopened backpack full of baggy jumpers and spare blankets halfway across the country. Only one thing to do really; tempt fate with your finest Playful Promises bikini top.
2. Accept that at some point you’ll be served a grotesque parody of food for which you will shell out hyper-inflation levels of cash. Literally wheelbarrows full of notes. You can bring as many of your own healthy snacks as you want but your tent will seem an awfully long way away after a couple of ciders and a few rounds of Gangnam Style (you were dancing ironically of course, we believe you.)
3. Buy a watch that you don’t mind losing. Sounds weird right? But you’d be amazed at how the time can slip past you when you’re far away from your laptop and your phone has run out of battery, and your nice designer timepiece has been (sensibly) left at home for fear of it ending up lost somewhere in acres of churned mud. Besides, if you’re planning on catching any of the scheduled bands, it might be helpful to be at the stage they’re playing ten minutes (to five hours, depending on how popular they are) before they’re supposed to come on.
4. Leave the onesie at home where it belongs. It may seem delightfully whimsical to dress in a baggy felt badger costume but I’ll wager you’ve never tried to use a public toilet in one. Undignified doesn’t start to cover it. Instead, keep it classy and cool in our new shorts and trapeze top combo.
5. Bring socks. Lots of them. And for the love of god, all the baby wipes you can carry.
6. This might go against all the dire warnings above, but be open to spontaneity. Some of the best festival times you will have will be after you lose the booklet and find yourself embracing the carefree spirit of the event; discovering new music, embracing new experiences, and generally just cutting loose and enjoying yourself. You’re there to have fun; now go find it!