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Festival Essentials.

This time tomorrow I’ll be sitting in a campsite, so that’s kind of fun. I think I’m nearly there with packing but I thought this was a good blogging opportunity. I wanted to show you what I bring to festivals and find out what you bring, and maybe help you if you’re in that dilemma of ‘what to pack’, something I face with most getaways.
I don’t want to make out that I’m some kind of ‘Festival Veteran’ because I’ve only been going to them since 2007, and I’ve only ever been to two; Guilfest, in Guildford and the Glastonbury. Glastonbury was a big jump from a mid-level local festival – although it’s grown in popularity since I stopped going, I’ll have you know that Tulisa had the decency to do a no-show this year. In all seriousness though, it has had some popular headliners and is the first place I saw Bowling For Soup (and met them) so…

Glastonbury is a whole other ball game, it’s amazing and given it’s about five times the size of Guilfest, it’s toilets are great/as great as toilets outside can be. There’s structure, but they’re not stingy on what you can bring to the stages and even in the mud it isn’t so bad. It’s because of how great Glastonbury has been for the last couple of years (I can’t wait for 2013!), that I’ll be honest and say I’m more than apprehensive about Reading. There are a few bands that I want see, but I’m only really going because my friends are, I’ll admit it, I bent to peer-pressure and it cost me nearly £200. That’s the first killer, Reading costs just as much as Glastonbury and so far, I can’t really see why, I’ll let you know when I come back. My friend’s stories of Reading don’t exactly fill me with confidence, with ‘Sunday-night Riots’ and sludgy, ‘worse than Glastonbury’ toilets, not to mention people filling bottles with piss, my heart does sink a little. Although I don’t mind it, I’ll admit to very much being a (*vom) ‘Glamper’ at the root of it all, which is why it’s kind of important to me to have as many reasonable home comforts that I can get away with, it might be lame but I’ve paid a lot to not get to use indoor plumbing so I should at least be allowed the luxuries of handsoap and toothpaste.

So, here’s my comprehensive list of festival essentials and tips, I’ve tried to include as much as possible and I hope it comes across okay, like I said, I’m not really an expert, I just love planning.

Pretty much everything that goes into my ‘festival’ washbag.

L-R: Deodorant, Cotton rounds, Face cloth, Cotton buds, Nail kit (including brush & file), Toothpaste and Toothbrush.

I guess for me these are the most important things that I definitely wouldn’t be going without. I don’t want to smell and I like to wash my face.
I never worried about this until Glastonbury last year, but it’s amazing how dirty your nails can get in a field, so the nail kit is just a personal one (although I bet you’ll find that with all of these). So, because last year was the first time I’d not bitten my nails and been to a festival I really noticed how dirty they can get, and I’m not a fan so when I found this mini-kit in H&M I had to pick it up, especially for just £1.99.
I’m only bringing one toothbrush so one of these is Moon’s, I use and electric toothbrush which is a little redundant if you can’t charge it so this twin-pack was a a real winner. I probably won’t use the cotton buds, it’s just in case, same with the cotton rounds, they’re kind of for makeup but I’m not planning on wearing too much if any at all.

L-R: Baby wipes, Wet Ones, Hand sanitiser, Face wipes, Hand soap.

Now, I know this is me being picky and I can only apologise, I guess, but all these wipes although kind of the same, do do different things. You’ll hear a lot of people say baby wipes are good all-rounders but I simply don’t think that’s true, because of what they’re for, they’re always a little too ‘moisturising’, which can mean sticky hands if you’re using them to wipe your hands after going to the bathroom or eating food – although they are probably best for the infamous, and kind of gross, ‘wet wipe shower’. I use Wet Ones wet wipes because I think they’re the best, I prefer them to hand sanitiser and they don’t leave a residue. I think the rest are pretty self-explanatory, and I’ve basically got all of these to keep as ‘clean’ as possible so I don’t catch any lurgies, and so I avoid sticky hands.

Dry Shampoo.

I’m hoping that now that I have shorter hair, I will be able to get away with not using this for longer because I actually hate it. It’s not even similar to regular shampoo and I’d rather have greasy hair under any other circumstances and wait until I got home, but it’s five days so I’ve got to. I’m bringing two brushes, one for just brushing the other to use the dry shampoo, otherwise I find it gets stuck in the bristles and it ruins your hairbrush.

This is definitely me being a bit of a princess, but your face is about the only part of your part that isn’t impossible to wash at a festival. I actually have two mess tins, one for eating from and one to put hot water in to wash my face, it may sound silly but there’s literally nothing better at the end of the day.

Aftersun & Suncream.

Given the current weather outlook, this is incredibly optimistic, but it might be really sunny and with very little chance to take cover and the fact that you’re outside all the time it’s important to take care of your skin.

Just trust me on this one.

A Camping Rucksack

How else were you expecting to transport all this stuff through a field, your wheelie suitcase isn’t going to cut it. It’s tough when it’s five miles to your campsite, but luckily that’s not the case for Reading, it’s great for you back muscles anyway, if you’re planning on going to a lot of festivals it’s a worthwhile investment.


Another area I’ve tried to be optimistic about, but it’s important to keep in mind you’re outside all the time so trousers and jumpers are usually necessary for nighttime. I’ve packed a dress and a few skirts too just in case we get lucky.

I guess this comes under clothes, but a kigu is perfect for sitting outside your tent in the evening once the music’s over. I really should get more use out of this than I actually do.

Shoes & Socks

It’s really important to bring waterproof boots, I hate wellies, plus I never got around to getting a pair this year so I’m bringing my LaCoste snow boots which will hopefully work just as well. I’m also bringing a pair of trainers because boots aren’t that comfortable and it might not be so bad, and I’ve chucked some flip-flops in because it really might not be so bad.
Also, I can’t stress how important it is to bring enough socks, because there’s nothing worse than wet socks, there’s nothing better than a clean, dry pair of socks and you’re sleeping outside so they can also keep your feet warm in that instance too.

Something to eat from.

Food at festivals is expensive, bringing your own is one way to help with the blow. I’ve brought Pot Noodles and Cuppa Soups, not the best diet, but it’s only five days. The mess tins are from Millets and were around £7 for two but they’re really sturdy so a good investment, I only got them last minute last year, Poundland actually used to do some which were just as good.

All the stories of people breaking into people’s tents have scared me a little and I won’t be bringing any digital cameras to Reading, just this mountain of 35mm disposables and my Instax 600AF. It’s okay though because I wanted to get back into film, I’m just a little ashamed to have been so spooked. I’m sure it would be fine, it’s just because it’s my first time at Reading that I want to go in with a little caution.


This bag is from New Look about two years ago, but it’s great for festivals, it’s zips are really sturdy and it has loads of compartments for the various bits and pieces you need while out and about, as well as being small so it doesn’t get in anybody’s way.

Other must-haves:

  • A tent — Obviously. I reckon you could probably buy one at the festival if you were feeling wimpy but you’d still need to take it home and unless you’re a millionaire, it’s definitely better for you to shop around for one, and get one bigger than you need; Moon and I are taking a 6-man tent.
  • Airbed — Sleep on the bare floor of your tent, but I guarantee you won’t have a good sleep and you don’t get much sleep at festivals anyway.
  • Sleeping bag — Or your could just sleep in your clothes…
  • Pillow — Light, doesn’t take up much room and makes a big difference to your comfort.
  • Camping Chairs — This sounds like another obvious one, but as it is you’ll be sitting on the floor a lot anyway and what if it’s wet? Don’t make the mistake of getting stools either, there is no point, chairs are where it’s at.
  • Towel — This is more of a ‘just in case’ rather than a must have, it might come in useful.
  • Toilet Paper — Maybe, if you’re super lucky, you’ll find one portaloo (ever) with toilet paper, my experience is that this is a big maybe, a couple of rolls is more than enough for the whole weekend.
  • Plastic Bags — You may laugh a little but they come in useful, for rubbish and when you have to pack up your dirty clothes so I’d recommend packing at least one.

    Some don’t bothers:

  • Glass bottles — That includes perfume, it’s lame but security has a tendency to take it off you if they see it so it’s better to leave them at home.
  • iPods/Portable Music — You’re at a music festival, get it together.
  • Gas Camping Stoves — At Glastonbury you can, at Reading you can’t, which we luckily found out yesterday so we’re bringing a wood-burning kettle instead. I think it’s to do with those riots I mentioned, doesn’t mean I’m not less irked by it. Definitely something you should check before you go as they’re really useful if you’re allowed them and not an idiot.

    I think that’s it, I hope I’ve given you a good insight into what to bring to a festival, as well as how much of a priss I am. I hope you have a nice Bank Holiday weekend! x

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