So you’ve found a festival, booked time off, and thrown a few memes into your mates’ WhatsApp group. But before packing up and hitting the road or the runway, it’s good to think about what your perfect weekend of music looks like.
You want the best experience of your life, and to see all the sets you came to see. Forget dashing between stages – think smart, and you can do more with your time…
Planning the trip and doing your prep? Here are some hacks for a knockout time at your next festival.
1. Contribute and go VIP
What are you good at? Use it to the festival’s advantage – you might get special access in return. Every event needs people to man stalls, do security, set up tents, handle equipment, and ensure festivalgoers are happy. You just need to know where to look.
You could work for Oxfam, or pour beer at a Heineken truck. Summer jobs or volunteer positions are a good way to make contacts.
Or, instead, you could review the festival for a publication. Press passes come easily if you have a few articles under your belt. Budding photographers can get in on the action too, providing you can pitch well and enquire early.
2. Download the festival app
Many festivals have their own mobile app now. They’re free, and update with the latest set times or breaking news. You can choose acts from the festival bill, save your favourites, and even arrange notifications before they walk onstage so you don’t miss anything. The schedule is right there in your pocket.
The app will also help you look beyond the line-up… Music, after all, is only half the draw. Lectures, talks and group activities may be kicking off, and they’re worth going to. If something catches your interest, save some time for it – even if it means getting up at 9 on the second morning.
3. Go glamping
Bending double in a 2-man canvas, sweaty and covered in crumbs, is part of the festival initiation. But when you’ve been to a couple of events, it’s easy to wish for the high life. Glamorous camping (or ‘glamping’) is becoming more and more popular for that reason.
Treat yourself and pay extra. You’ll save time putting a tent up, for one thing. Most glamping packages give you a pre-staked tent at the very least, with the option for a hut, cabin or other, more substantial accommodation. Showers, sinks and personal toilets are another plus – and a welcome slice of luxury when everyone else is waking up to wet feet.
4. Make yourself at home
Whether you choose to go glamping or keep it old-school, a few home comforts go a long way to having a great festival experience – especially if they help you find your way home in the first place…
So buy some fairy lights for your tent, or arrange multi-coloured bulbs in a unique pattern. They’ll help you spot your pitch in the dead of night. An inflatable or some kind of flag also makes an otherwise basic setup more distinctive, and you’ll save hours searching for it through a maze of guy ropes and tarpaulin.
5. Have a rendezvous point
It’s pretty inevitable that the group will break up now and then. When it happens, agree to a meeting spot – somewhere that sticks out a mile, isn’t too crowded, and can act as your go-to safe place if you’re trying to find each other.
Scope out the festival ground well in advance. Sites like Glastonbury or Boomtown have a whole host of temporary buildings, quirky structures and landmarks, so be sure to get your bearings before attending.
Everyone needs a guide. Head out there with these tips, and show your group how it’s done. Thinking ahead makes the stuff you can’t anticipate all the more fun. Sometimes, it can open up unexpected avenues. You can even make a living from attending festivals and writing about them, as Tucker Gumber has shown us.
Still searching for your next festival experience? Use Fatsoma to discover events from all corners of the UK.