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THE ULTIMATE MUSIC FESTIVAL GUIDE

Hello and Welcome back to Novacaine! I have been attending music festivals since I was a kid, and I thought it would be an awesome idea to write up an ultimate guide for music festivals as when I first started attending festivals on my own, I had no clue what sort of things I should bring with me and what to expect when I'm actually at the festival.


This guide will tell you what sort of things you should take with you and what to expect when you arrive, whether you are camping or attending for the day.



 

Ultimate Festival Items: What do I need to bring with me?


Whether it's attending a music festival or going on holiday, it can be a stressful experience getting things organised. That's why it is a good idea to start off by gathering all the essentials that you need to take, anything else can always be bought later on or at some places, at the venue itself.


Festival Camping Essentials:

  • Tent or Camper - Make sure you buy a good quality tent, you never know what the weather is going to be like, especially if you are attending a festival in the UK. Your tent needs to be waterproof, make sure it is at the very least 2000mm waterproof rating, this will endure 2000 milimeters of rain before it will start to leak, which is quite a fair amount. Don't forget about space - how many people will be camping with you? You don't want to be turning up with a 2 man tent for 6 people, our recommendation is that if you are attending with 6 people, get an 8 man tent to give yourselves plenty of space. Even though a 6 man can sleep 6 people, you want to ensure you have space to put your equipment and if you don't fancy sleeping next to each other in tight quarters, this will help elevate that stress. This year, we are attending with 3 people and taking a 6 man tent. Each of us have our own sleeping quarters and the height of the tent means I can stand inside, I am 6ft 1 so no crouching is necessary. This goes the same with campers, you do not want to be overcrowding your camper. For the love of god, do not forget your pegs and hammer.


  • Airbed or Sleep Mat - Sleeping on the ground is not good for your body, and to me at least, it's not particularly comfy. Don't forget to bring a comfortable airbed or sleeping mat. With airbeds, I'd suggest investing a little bit more money on a decent quality one, otherwise, you may end up waking up in the morning finding out it has gone down overnight. This is the one I currently own and have used for the last 2 years at Download Festival - (Click Here) with Sleeping Mats, I'd suggest getting one with a decent thickness that suites you, anything too thin, you may aswell sleep on the ground. Sleeping bags are also a must bring, I'd recommend bringing one that has a thermal layer that you can detach so you don't get too cold or too hot overnight. Last thing you want to do is become unwell and ruin your festival experience. Oh, and if you do bring an airbed, don't forget your airbed pump, you can buy either manually operated pumps or battery powered. Some festivals sell these on site, but not all!


  • Clothing - Once again, weather can be unpredictable, make sure to bring: Waterproof, Breathable and Light clothing. You do not want to turn up to a festival with heavy clothing whether it is raining or hot weather, or even sometimes both. Heavy clothing will weigh you down and will burn your energy faster no matter the weather. Light waterproofs (decent quality) will allow you to enjoy watching bands without feeling uncomfortable or completely soaked, and normal wears that are also breathable, will allow you to party in the sun without overheating. With that said, do make sure to bring a couple of jumpers and thermals just incase it does get chilly overnight or first thing in the morning. SPARES - Always bring spare clothing, going for 5 days? Pack for 7 or 8, just incase you do end up covered in mud, soaked or just want to avoid smelling like sweat - although sweating is pretty unavoidable at these places. This goes the same for shoes, you will be doing alot of walking, so bring some that you aren't too fussed about ruining and crocks or flip flops for when you're just popping to the toilets or showers. You don't want to be putting shoes back on when your feet are completely soaked.


  • Food & Water - Unless you are in a camper hooked up to electricity, you need to make sure you are bringing food that will not spoil too fast. This year we are souly going to the vendors and bringing things like breakfast bars, crisps and other snacks that do not require refrigeration. We understand some people are on a budget so will likely be bringing a barbecue or something similar, in that case, you need to bring a cooler with you, preferably battery operated as using Ice is not reliable especially if it is hot weather. Bring foods that are nutritional and something to keep your energy up as you will be moving around a lot, trust me you do not want to be passed out in the crowds. Make sure to bring more than enough water, supermarkets like ASDA, Aldi and Tesco sell big 2litre bottles, even if you just bring 1 or two, make sure it is there. Decently run music festivals will have water points on site so you can refill these bottles. I know we are there to party, but alcohol does dehydrate you, so water is a must and make sure to take a break in between drinking and partying to drink water.


  • Accessories & Equipment - If you are not someone who regularly goes camping, you may not know that you should bring some equipment with you aside from your tent: Torch (unless you have night vision, not all festivals supply lighting at campsites), Batteries (Make sure that you have a few back ups for your battery operated items), Cups or Bottles (For your chosen liquids, AND WATER!), Cutlery & Paper/plastic or metal plates (For...eating? Make sure to check the venue you are attending if you are allowed to bring knives into a campsite), Camp chairs (For... sitting?), Camp Table (To... put things on?), Toilet Roll (Sometimes they run out and sometimes you have a snotty nose, ew.) Baby Wipes (For those "accidental" moments), Plasters (Incase you have a boo boo, aw), Barbecue and cooking equipment (I.E, spatula, tongs, heatproof mat, charcoal etc) Rucksack (To take things with you around the site, check bag size limitations at your chosen venue) Bin Bags (For ya rubbish, ya filthy animal), Money (Some festivals are now cashless, so make sure you check the requirements, I'd recommend having at least £200 - £300 if you are wanting merch and to take part at the vendors on site, and have a look and see if the festival is partnered with any banks, you may get a cheeky discount!) Hand Sanitiser (Keep ya hands clean), Anti-Septic Wipes/Cream (To prevent infections in any injuries), Insect Repellent (Some sites are prone to insects like mosquitos) Towels & Shower Soaps (Refresh ya self!, also bring a towel or two you're not fussed about getting ruined, incase of any spillages at camp), Deodorant (Most venues do not allow aerosol cans, so bring a roll on!), Power Bank (I'd recommend buying one that is at least 30,000Mah, this will allow you to charge your phone and other devices for a few days, some festivals have power bank recharge points), Gazebo (Some festivals do not allow Gazebos, do not bring anything big as you will likely be told to take it down, the same goes if there is not enough space), Sun Cream, Moisturiser and After Sun (Factor 50 everybody!)


  • Medication - Make sure to bring some paracetamol and ibruprofen, you will be moving around alot. If you are on prescribed medication, do not forget it. Please remember, some venues require you to let them know about medications before you attend. If you require refrigeration, contact the venue beforehand as they may have facilities in place for you to keep your medication.


  • Your Ticket & ID- Self explanatory, if you forget your ticket you'll likely be told you cannot enter. If you are travelling by car and are planning to park, buy a car park ticket before arriving. Some venues require you to show ID alongside your ticket, you will also need your ID if you are planning on buying products or items that can only be sold to those over the age of 18.


  • Directions - Plan your route before leaving your house. I know some use SatNavs or their phones for directions, however, venues like this often have road closures to avoid traffic building up and certain directions to different car parks and campsites. You do not want to get stuck in a queue that is going in a different direction or location.


  • Carriers - If you are not able to park your car next to your campsite, then you may need consider buying a carrier/trolly. The last thing you want to do is get to the site and then have to make multiple trips which can sometimes mean miles of walking back and forth. You can buy carriers/trollys at any camping store and even on sites like Amazon. Make sure it is decent quality, you do not want it breaking on you.


These are all the items that you need to bring with you. If you think I have missed anything, let me know in the comments below!


Day Attendees: Attending for the day? Here's a list of what you need to bring with you:

  • Rucksack - Bring a bag with you so you can carry everything that you need. Make sure to check your venue requirements as some have bag size limits.


  • Water / Water Bottle - Decent music festivals have water points located around the site, bring a water bottle with you so you can refill on site. Some venues do not allow you to bring in any liquids, so you may need to bring an empty bottle to refill on site instead. Please make sure to drink water as much as alcohol is the preferred choice of liquid, water is a must. You do not want to ruin your festival experience passed out in the crowds or medical tent.


  • Food - Some venues do not allow you to bring your own food, so please make sure to check your event information before attending. This is why you should bring enough money with you so you can get food on site and restore your energy so you can continue partying! If you have a medical condition, you may be able to bring in certain foods, get in touch with the venue before attending to make sure.


  • Power Bank - Bringing your phone or other electronics? Bring a power bank to keep it charged. I recommend bringing at least a 30,000MAH power bank. For day goers, this should last you all day and even the travel home and after.


  • Money - I recommend bringing at least £100 - £200 for the day, some venues are cashless so make sure to check before you bring cash with you. Some vendors and merch can be pricey, so bring enough to last you the entire day. (£8 pints here we come!!!)


  • Clothing - Unlike campers, you don't really have anywhere that you can get changed, unless you're happy with changing in front of the crowds or those stinky portaloos. Make sure to bring some light breathable clothing and some waterproofs that you can put over the top. The last thing you want to do is get completely soaked or overheated with nowhere to get changed. Bring a hoodie just incase it gets a bit nippy and probably a spare pair of socks and pants (accidents happen).


  • Suncream, Moisturiser and After Sun - You don't want to get sun burn and be dealing with that all day. Bring some factor 50 and some after sun to avoid nasty sun burns, and make sure you get yourself into shade once in a while if it is particularly hot.


  • Medication - Bring some paracetamol, ibruprofen and hayfever tablets. If you have prescribed medication, check if you need to inform the venue beforehand and if it needs refrigeration, check if the venue has the facilities in place for you before arriving.


  • Your Ticket & ID - You will need to bring your ticket with you in order to access the venue, some venues also require ID as well as your ticket. You will also need your ID for buying certain items that can only be sold to those over the age of 18.


  • Directions - Festivals often have a separate entrance for those who are only attending for the day. You do not want to get stuck in queues for those who are camping. These events also usually have road closures and specific directions to locations, so make sure you plan ahead before you travel. You can usually find this information on the event website or even your ticket.


As a day goer, you want to be travelling light. Do not bring loads of stuff with you as otherwise you'll be weighing and slowing yourself down. You often need to move fast at festivals and will likely get bumped by other attendees, so heavy items are not on your side.


What can I expect when I arrive?


When attending festivals like Download Festival, you expect to wait in large queues, sometimes for a few hours. So make sure to bring plenty of food and water with you whilst you wait and to plan ahead so you are waiting in the correct queue for your location. As you get closer to your event, you will likely see signs telling you to go in a certain direction or to take a certain exit. Sometimes, your SatNav will tell you to go another way, please make sure to follow the signs that you see, if you follow your SatNav directions when you see these signs, you may end up at a road closure or the complete opposite direction to where you need to be. Also, check your ticket and or email information as it will also tell you what signs to look out for so you can get to your designated entrance and campsite.


As you follow these signs and get closer to the venue, you will start to see security and stewards. If you need assistance, you can stop to speak to them as they will be able to help you, that's why they are there after all.


Once you arrive at your entrance, you will usually be directed by stewards and go through some security checks. Do not worry about the security checks, as long as you have not bought anything in that poses a risk to everyone else or anything illegal, such as drugs, you will be absolutely fine. Make sure to let them do what they need to do, and they'll send you on your way. You may find they have sniffer dogs but as I said above, unless you are bringing something illegal onto the site, you'll be allowed to continue.


Once you have passed security, you will most likely be directed to the parking area or to your campsite by a steward. Make sure to follow their directions and to not get too flustered if they make you wait, they are trying their best and are making sure everything runs smoothly. If you feel you may be in the wrong location, speak to the stewards and they will point you in the right direction.


If you are travelling by bus, it'll be a similar situation, except you won't have the worries of parking your car. You'll likely go through security for a pat down and bag search and then be directed to where you need to go. As I said above, try not to get too flustered, they are just doing their job. If you have any issues with any on site staff, speak to another member of security or steward so you can get assistance. Don't let yourself get into an argument as you may be asked to leave the venue.


Once you have parked or left your bus, your ticket will be scanned and you will be directed to your campsite. Make sure to only take the basics to get started, like your tent. Don't take all your clothes and what not, you can go back for those (alternatively, take a trolly or carrier with you so you can take it all). Once you are at the camspite, you will be able to find a pitch or be directed to where you can get your camp set up. Once set up, you can get your party started!


Sometimes when attending these events it can feel very stressful and increase your anxiety levels. The key thing to remember is, as long as you give yourself enough time and pace yourself, you will be absolutely fine. Make sure to drink plenty of water and have a break when you need to. If you've forgotten something, don't stress too much about it. These things can be either bought on site or at a nearby town. It may mean spending a bit more than you wanted, but it's better than going without something you actually need. The last thing to remember is, have fun. You are there to have a good time and to see your favourite bands perform.


If you are attending Download Festival 2024, we will see you there! If you think I may have missed something on this guide, make sure to leave a comment below. If this guide has helped you, leave a like rating and share!


HAVE FUN!

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