Sleeping on a camping mat, plodding through muddy fields or getting crazy tan lines are just some of the things you need to prepare for during festival season.
Even if you think you have everything planned and ready for your embarkment into the atmosphere of the festival field, you probably don’t, and that’s why this survival guide is going to be your saving grace when it comes to the summer festival season.
From what to pack, to keeping hydrated, we’ve compiled everything you need to know into 7 simple festival categories. Who’s ready to head on a summer adventure?
First things first, it’s important to prepare your body and skin for the weekend ahead, and what better way than with a facial? Our range of facials offer you varying experiences, whether you’re looking for a replenishing treatment like our Clarins Lifting Replenish Signature Facial or something a bit more hydrating like our Champneys Moisture Miracle, we can prepare your skin in the best possible way.
“A little preparation goes a long way, speak to your friends and discuss what tent you're bringing, who's bringing a stove and if you can share equipment.”
When it comes to camping at a festival, bigger really is better! If you can, invest in a tent that you can stand up in, hang clothes up in, and one that allows you some breathing room. There is nothing worse than heading back to a small, cramped tent with wet and smelly clothes. If you’re planning to go to a festival with a big group of friends, split the cost of a larger tent between the group, you’ll have to pay a similar price to that of a smaller tent and you’ll thank yourself later down the line.
Once you arrive at the festival, you will need to pick the perfect camping spot. Where you choose to pitch your tent could set you up for the best or the worst festival experience, so make sure you choose wisely.
Whilst hiking to the top of the hill might not feel like the best idea at the time, if you can, it’s always a good idea to pitch higher. If it rains, you won’t be stuck at the bottom along with all the running water, toilets and crowds. Plus, you’re likely to be further away from the flow of revellers trying to find their tents in the middle of the night.
A great way of avoiding the dreaded ‘lost tent’ moment is to set your pitch up at a memorable point. Although this may not be that easy, try and find a feature point that you can remember, whether that is a tree or a more unique tent, you’ll be able to find your base much quicker. Bringing along a large, unique flag can also be another great way to ear-mark your camping area, spot the flag and you have found your tent. Be aware, climbing over guide ropes is inevitable, so be prepared to keep a lookout as you head back to your tent in the twilight hours to avoid a fall.
Jessi Dimmock from Where’s My Tent tells us about her tips for surviving your first festival: “My top tips for surviving festival season would be, be prepared! A little preparation goes a long way, speak to your friends and discuss what tent you're bringing, who's packing a stove and if you can share equipment. It's worth that extra time for comfort. Also, at a festival, footwear is very important, and fashion doesn't come into it... Make sure you bring something comfy and waterproof that you've worn a few times beforehand, to avoid blisters and also bring lots of socks!”
“It's not an option to leave anything behind so consider carefully whether you really need that camping chair or cool box!”
“My number one tip for anyone going to a festival is to think carefully about how much you bring with you. The schlep from the gates to the campsite will probably be pretty long and feel even longer in reverse on Monday - it's not an option to leave anything behind so consider carefully whether you really need that camping chair or cool box!” says Dulcie from That Festival Life.
Thinking about what to pack before you go to any festival is crucial. A great way to break down your packing plan is to lay your clothing out into outfits, plan an outfit for each day and stick to it. It’s also worth taking a couple of extra clothing items in case you get caught in the rain or it’s slightly colder than you had anticipated.
“My top tip would be to leave your expensive phone at home and buy a cheap text-and-call-only phone. The battery will last longer. But if you must take your phone make sure you have purchased insurance at least 2 months beforehand, run the latest back up before you leave, purchase (don’t forget to charge too) a portable charger and set up a good lock screen password.” Says Lyndsay from My Family of Roses.
If you do take your brand-new iPhone, be prepared for it getting lost in the mud, damaged, or stolen and take measures to stop that happening. As Lyndsay suggested, the safest bet is to get yourself a small phone and pop your sim card in it for the duration, this way you won’t be annoyed, and it won’t be the end of the world if you lose it or it gets wet. In the occasion where you do run out of juice, lots of festivals now offer charging stations or battery pack exchange centres so you won’t be out of charge for too long.
Food at festivals can be expensive, albeit very tasty. It’s always a good idea to plan out your meals before you go, allow yourself one cooked meal a day and snack on dry cereal bars, fruit, packets of crisps and nuts otherwise to keep you going. Not only will you save money, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the delights that festival food has to offer you.
Healthy eating is just as important at a festival as it is when you are home. There are hundreds of healthier options at festivals so try to seek these out if you’re looking for a wholesome and nutritious meal. Try and snack on fruit throughout the day, not only is it tasty, in the summer sun it’ll be totally refreshing.
There are some keys pieces that are essentials, so make sure you at least pack the following:
•Outfits- one for each day
•Extra clothes- in case of bad weather/cold weather
•Toiletries- including dry shampoo, moisturisers, hand wash, loo roll, wet wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste
•Champneys Night Cream
•Champneys Day Cream
•Phone Charger/battery pack
•Money- cash is preferable at festivals, although be sure to bring your card just in case
•Roll mat/airbed/camp bed
•Food- like fruit, crisps, cereal, nuts
•Large water bottles
•Portable water bottle
Your packing may vary depending on the type of festival you’re heading to and how long you are going for, but just remember that you’ll have to carry it all in, either on your back or in a trolley, so it’s best to only bring the necessities!
“Remember, all dirt can be hidden with glitter and flower crowns.”
Beauty and hair care can be tricky at festivals. With minimal showers, poor mirror facilities and inevitable sunburn hindering your skin, it can be difficult to know what to do with your beauty and skincare routine. There are some simple things to remember that’ll set you up for a weekend of fuss-free fun.
Vicky from Vicky Flip Flop shares her essential festival hacks: “Lay the products for your skincare routine out before you leave the tent for the day. That way when you come back tired and exhausted, you don't have to look around your tent for your cleanser. You can do it all right away and then crawl into your sleeping bag. Also, lots of festivals have hairdressers and beautician areas set up now, so you can go and get a good wash if you really need. Showers are your friend at festivals – you just need to make time in your schedule for the queue!”
Cara from Oh My Goulding says that braids are the way forward: “My number one tip for surviving festival season is pack wellies, wet wipes and remember a hair tie. Be prepared to leave a degree of self-hygiene behind but just remember everyone else is doing the exact same thing!
Festivals are always the best time to try out the new plait you've been meaning to do, try a milkmaid braid to cover those less than clean roots. If you plan on washing your hair whilst at a festival ask a friend for help. Flip your head upside down, they the pour water over, you shampoo, and then they help you rinse. It saves a lot of hassle and time.”
Cara adds: “Always take a backpack and never take a suitcase, on the unlucky occasion it does rain you don't want to be pulling a suitcase through the rivers of inevitable mud. Remember, all dirt can be hidden with glitter and flower crowns.”
Dry shampoo is your ultimate best friend! Whether you have thick or thin hair, chances are it’s going to get greasy, but taking dry shampoo or even talcum powder can totally save the day.
“A great catch-all beauty product for festivals is talcum powder - you can use it as a dry shampoo, to set make-up and reduce face shine, to prevent chafing and to freshen up shoes... the list is endless! As well as that, a super hydrating moisturiser is essential when you're facing the elements and you haven't had enough sleep.” Says Dulcie
Victoria from Lylia Rose explains her beauty festival hacks to us: “For me, festival season is all about keeping beauty and packing minimal and fuss-free. I’ll not faff around with cosmetics whilst at a festival, but instead get my eyelashes done before I go so I still feel like I’m wearing make-up. Showers are sometimes a rarity at festivals I’ve been to or the queues are ridiculous, so my best advice is to wear a long-lasting deodorant such as a 72-hour variety and to pack a can of dry shampoo to refresh your roots without needing a full-on hair wash. Wipes are your best friend at a festival – use them to clean your face, body, hands, muddy boots and more!”
Jessi also agrees that talcum powder is the way forward: “Talcum powder/baby powder is essential for me! I put some on my feet in the morning before I stick them in wellies for 16+ hours so they stay dry and soft. I also put a little under my armpits after deodorant for the same reason. And finally you can sprinkle a little on your hairbrush in the morning and it works like dry shampoo! Perfect for me with my fringe to give it a refresh in the morning.”
“Don't worry about what you look like too much. There's absolutely no way I'd bother with a portable hairdryer or straightener or anything. Whatever your hair or face is doing – just add some glitter and you'll fit right in!” suggests Vicky
Glitter can hide a multitude of sins, as well as looking pretty awesome too, it is worth taking if you want to get really into the party spirit! Biodegradable glitter is the best option as not only will it decompose, it also comes in a vast array of colours.
Dulcie spoke to us about how she uses glitter at festivals: “Glitter (the biodegradable typeof course) covers a multitude of sins - there isn't anything better for dark circles!”
Make sure you take enough wet wipes and hand sanitizer to last you the whole festival, you really won’t want to run out.
“There are two areas with hot showers on site at Glastonbury; however, the queue and wait times are usually long at festivals, so baby wipes and using the taps near the campsites are the most common choice for festival goers to keep themselves clean. Make sure you bring biodegradable toiletry options, from wet wipes to soap, even your glitter!” says Miguel from GlastoCast
When you’re planning your time at a festival, try to consider the land as much as possible and use biodegradable products and leave no trace.
“Queuing for a shower at festivals can take a long time and make you feel like you're missing out on valuable fun time. What my friends and I do is take a camping shower - essentially a bag you fill with water that has a hose - and 'shower' between our tents. One of us holds the bag in the air whilst the other kneels down in a swimming costume and uses the hose to wash. Saves lots of time and makes you feel amazing! Get some nice invigorating shower gel and you'll be back to 100% and ready to take on another day of dancing.” Says Jessi.
With the minimal number of showers available to you at a festival, almost everyone’s hygiene starts to deteriorate as the weekend progresses. Make sure you pack enough deodorant and apply it as much as you can throughout the day. Wet wiping yourself in the morning is a great idea or investing in a solar shower is an alternative option.
“Keeping hydrated is crucial for not only your health but your skin and your hair too.”
“It's easy to get swept away in fun at festivals, but remembering the basics is the key to party stamina. Eat, sleep, hydrate - repeat! Help yourself by bringing a reusable water bottle, a comfy sleeping mat and earplugs.” Says Dulcie
Keeping hydrated is crucial for not only your health but your skin and your hair too. If the weather is hot, drinking enough water aids your stamina. Carry around a foldable or compact water bottle and fill it up whenever you see a water stop.
Miguel said: “There are plenty of water points around the festival, always fill up your bottle when going past one. You can also take effervescent electrolyte tablets to boost your water with flavour and replenish the minerals you sweated with all your dancing”
As well as relying on water stops, bringing some large water bottles on to the site with you and keeping them in your tent means you’ll have peace of mind knowing that after a night out and in the morning you’ll be able to rehydrate at will.
Keeping hydrated isn’t just about keeping your insides fuelled, with all the toxins, dirt and chemicals your skin comes in contact with at a festival, it’s a good idea to take some precautions along with you.
Packing the Champneys Day Cream, Night Cream and Toner will leave you with healthy, glowing skin that’ll last the duration of the weekend. It might be worth decanting some into smaller bottles, just like Lyndsay suggests: “Decant your cosmetics into travel size bottles and store them upright in a waterproof bag. Using wet wipes on your skin as a touch up is okay but will dry out your skin so make sure you have a shower there.”
“It’s essential to break new shoes in before a festival, you don’t want to worry about painful blisters and carrying plasters around with you.”
The last thing you want when embarking on a weekend of walking and dancing is blisters. Choosing the right footwear for a festival is really important and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Miguel agrees that the right footwear is crucial: “There's so much to see which means you will walk A LOT, so it is essential to wear proper footwear paired with good socks. Wellies and hiking boots are the best options. Whatever you chose, be sure to break it in by wearing it a few times before the festival. A blister can really ruin your weekend!”
Other than packing wellies which is essential, it’s up to you whether you opt for walking boots or trainers. Walking boots will give you maximum comfort, alternatively, trainers are easily washable and can add a trendy edge to any outfit.
It’s essential to break new shoes in before a festival, you don’t want to worry about painful blisters and carrying plasters around with you.
“Festivals are a marathon, not a sprint! Take your festival slow and steady and book the Monday after off for a bit of self-care!”
“Festivals are a marathon, not a sprint! It can be tempting to stay up all night, but over 3-5 days that's just asking for trouble. Take your festival slow and steady and book the Monday after off for a bit of self-care!” says Vicky.
Festivals are vast places and there is always so much to explore. Don’t plan too much, let the fun of the festival guide you to spots. The more time you spend planning the more time you will waste walking to stages, deciding where you need to be next and getting stuck in crowds. Enjoy the time you have there and have no regrets - festivals are designed specifically for you to have the best time of your life.
“To truly survive the festival season, you've got to have that perfect attitude: a desire to see and do as much as possible, the ability to make plans and schedules, and —most importantly— a willingness to be totally flexible. Because 100% if you're going to a festival, nothing is going to go right. You're going to forget to pack toothpaste; you'll probably lose a shoe; you'll be late or in the wrong line. But just know that that's all part of the festival experience!” says Adam a travel blogger at Travels of Adam.
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Every festival is different but planning your time away and reading other festival survival guides will allow you the best experience possible and the relaxing spa day afterwards will make the whole experience worth it.