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TOP TEN FESTIVAL FUNDAMENTALS

There are lots of things to think about when preparing for a festival. More often than not you’ll be spending a fair bit for your ticket and settling in for a long weekend, so it’s really worth making sure that you’re up to speed on anything you might need in order to make the most of it.

1. Which one to pick?

Now this is rather vital – the mad maelstrom of fun that is an English festival circuit means that there’s plenty to choose from – so pick the one that suits you best. Perhaps start with the music – are you into pop, rock, trance, jazz, indie, soul, folk…? You get the idea. From there you might want to consider what else you want from your festival experience – on the literature front, the comedy, the theatre, the performance, the fancy dress standards. We could go on. Of course, location’s another factor to consider – and size. Are you looking for a racy rave or something more family friendly?

2. Stay connected

Now, obviously, there will be some festivals where battling through seething hordes of people won’t be a problem. However, at a fair few of the bigger festivals you may need a little assistance making your way back to the herd. First of all, arrange a rendezvous back-up plan for the eventuality that you might lose each other. Second, take a juice pack so you can always charge your phone – those charging tents can have long queues. Just make sure all your friends bring one too.

3. Hydrate

This may seem like an obvious and rather dull reminder. It is, however, so important that we’ll take the risk of sounding nannyish and remind you once again. Many a festivalgoer has ruined their weekend with silly, avoidable headaches and queasiness purely through forgetting to have the occasional sip of water. Oh, and top tip – don’t waste all your money on expensive bottled water – bring a re-usable bottle and refill from the free water stops that are available. You’ll be helping the planet too, by avoiding excess plastic and waste…

4. Rain or Shine Survival Kit

Isn’t it aggravating how the thought of a festival conjures up just as many images of sodden boggy fields as it does beautiful people in glorious sunshine? Much as we can’t bear it, it’s best to face facts and prepare for the worst so you can keep up with the best. Those in the know will always pack a pair of wellies and a great big waterproof poncho, ensuring they never feel damp and sorry for themselves. If you can get your hands on a waterproof onesie, do it. Though it does sound rather sweaty.

On the other hand, if it does end up being a blissful scorcher, don’t be silly and get heatstroke. Pack your sun-cream, hat, glasses, after-sun and remember tip No. 3!

5. Pharmaceuticalise

Why suffer when there’s a cure? Make sure you pack some Nurofen (or similar lifesaving painkillers), Berocca, Rennies and some oral rehydration salts to kick your hangover completely. Hand-sanitizer is a definite must, too, and wet wipes. Spending hours and hours on the dance floor might result in one or two unsightly and uncomfortable blisters – best throw in a packet of plasters just in case. After expending all that energy, you might decide a kip is in order – in which case, you’re going to need some earplugs.

Oh – and don’t forget loo roll!

6. Free Hands

The bum bag (or fanny pack, as the Americans unnervingly call it) is a potentially controversial addition to any outfit – but undoubtedly a crucial one. Alternatively, you could wear an ‘across body bag’ (similarly unsettling name when you think about it). Either way, you’re going to need your hands free so you can drink and dance without restraint. Besides, these days there are all sorts of hip, embroidered and be-tasseled options that won’t make you look like a conscientious missionary.

7. Let There Be Light

You might think head torches are a bit lame, and, well, actually you’re right. They are a bit. But SO useful. Very advantageous when you’re trying to find your way back to your tent after nightfall, tripping over endless guy ropes and fumbling for the zip. Even if you don’t pick the strap-to-your-head variety, a little pocket torch that fits snugly into your oh so chic bum bag will stop you getting your knickers in a twist as you stumble about in the dark.

8. Decorate yourself

Whether you’re dressed conventionally or outrageously, a little sparkle here and there is quite vital to your overall festival vim and verve. A small pot of glitter won’t go amiss, nor body stickers and transfers. There’s something very liberating about plastering your body with fake tattoos, and shaking glitter out of your hair for weeks to come will be a fond reminder of the fun you had. Feathers are another wonderful accessory – whether they’re in your hair, dangling off your ears or attached to your clothing – Feather Tree do some fabulous festoons. Flowers, too, are a classic festival fixture that really bolster the general sense of escapism. Claire’s Accessories are bursting at the seams with all these sorts of goodies.

Don’t let the need to be practical defeat your sense of style. Wellies are great but you might prefer some leather numbers – waterproof essential – Meryl do some fabulously comfortable and ever-so-cool boots that are perfect for festivals. Sunglasses too should be wild and wonderful, and don’t neglect your hat – make it a statement! Have a look on Pinterest for more inspiration – also for pocket belts – the bum bag’s sophisticated sibling. And if you want really shake things up, pack a roll of solar-powered fairy lights. Why not?

9. Dress Fancy

Most festivals will go all out on the fancy dress front – don’t be the stick in the mud that steadfastly remains in ordinary attire. More fool you in the end. And actually, dressing up is such fun that once you get into it, all your inhibitions will fly out the window and stay there. There are plenty of websites and shops dedicated to the art of festival fancy dress – so if your own imagination is letting you down, you’re still in line for some creative costuming.

10. Explore Luxury

Having a luxury refuge to retreat to when you need a break is probably one of the most fundamental requirements for enjoying your festival to the max. Yes, you could pack your own tiny tent, hoping all the poles are in and you have enough pegs. You could even treat yourself to an airbed – as long as you have a pump and it doesn’t start deflating halfway through the night.

Alternatively, you could book one of our exquisite, indulgent bell tents or Lotus Belle’s, the be all and end all of festival glamping. Real mattresses on beautifully crafted hardwood beds, high thread-count bed linens and down duvets. The space to stand up and move around, a lockable zip and bedside tables. A safe haven of comfort and privacy that will ensure your fairytale festival experience doesn’t end when you go to sleep.

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