Here’s my handy guide to surviving this years Reading and Leeds Festival weekend. First up, here’s what you’re going to need to take!
DISCLAIMER: The tips I will be giving apply mainly to Reading Festival as that is the only one of the two I have experienced, although I’m sure almost all of this will be applicable to Leeds Festival as well.
- Tent, I recommend getting one that can take everyone planning on sleeping in it plus one extra. So for example, if there are 4 of you sharing a tent, buy a five man one. You’ll accumulate so much crap that the extra space will be appreciated.
- Some sort of mat to sleep on, the ground is very lumpy and uneven and you’ll sleep better if you’ve got one!
- Sleeping bag.
- Some sort of pillow, this is optional, but you can get inflatable ones and ones which fold up super small so they don’t take up space in your bag. They’re available in camping/festival shops/websites. (See the end of this article.)
- Wellies, these are ESSENTIAL. Even if it’s a good year and it hasn’t rained, your normal shoes WILL still get ruined. When it’s dry, instead of mud there’s dust. Lots of dust. It gets all torn up, especially in the mosh pits and crowds, so even if there isn’t any mud, your wellies are still needed. And hey, it hurts WAY less when someone steps on your foot when you’re wearing wellies, than when you’re wearing sandals or whatever it is people wear.
- Socks, take spare socks with you so you have something to change into if your feet get wet.
- Make sure you don’t take any clothes that you would care about getting ruined, I know fashion magazines make out festivals to be some sort of fashion parade, but to be honest no one cares what you look like. Anything goes! Also make sure you keep your clothes wrapped up in a couple of plastic bags because if all your stuff gets ruined by the rain/mud then at least your clothes will still be dry. And everyone knows there’s nothing worse than having to put on damp clothes.
- Take something warm that you can tie around your waist while in the arena. It may be hot during the day when you’re dancing, but when it hits around 11pm it gets freezing and you’ll be really appreciative of that hoody.
- Baby wipes, these will be your saviour when there’s no access to a shower (which will be most of the time.) Just give yourself a wipe down and you’re good to go! 😉
- Dry Shampoo, lots of it! Again this will be useful after a lack of showering.
- Chewing gum, chances are if you’re at a festival your breath won’t be THAT great.
- Toilet roll, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll take lots of this.
- Then the obvious, tooth paste, tooth brush, deodorant etc.
Food & Drink:
- Water, you’ll need a lot of this, take some with you initially and try to avoid buying it from the arena as much as possible as it’s incredibly overpriced in there. The site isn’t a far walk from Tesco or even the Sainsbury’s local in the town centre, so I would recommend morning trips to top up on water and food supplies.
- Food, some people don’t like to take food as it takes up room in their backpacks and much prefer to just top up as they go (as previously mentioned.) But if you are going to take food I’d recommend starchy, stodgy foods such as tubes of Pringles, biscuits etc as these will slow your digestion down and mean you won’t have to use the gross festival toilets as much! Avoid taking things like meat and cheese because it’ll just smell awful and you’ll probably end up with some form of food poising.
- Alcohol, take your own and avoid taking drinks from strangers because you just don’t know what’s in it. It seems that anything goes at Reading and Leeds and although that may seem like a great thing, you don’t want to put your life at risk. Remember that there are drinks available in the arena but of course they are going to be more expensive so I’d recommend getting your own from the supermarket. However don’t be surprised if it goes missing if you leave it in your tent.
- A Lighter and a packet of rizlas, even if you don’t smoke these are good to have as peace offerings or just generally for meeting people. Think about it, the more people on your side and looking out for you the safer you’ll be!
- Ear Plugs, not essential, but a good idea if you want some shut eye (which you might not think you want on the first few nights but trust me, you will.)
- Under the clothes money pouches. These may seem quite lame but the last thing you want to do is lose your money, and don’t worry, the whole point of these pouches is that nobody can see them. They’re available on most camping/festival websites. (See the end of this article.) Also, girls, a trick I have learnt is to buy those super padded bras with removable air pockets from Primark, take the air pads out and you’ve got some handy pockets! Last year I kept my phone in one and money in the other. It’s really useful as you don’t want to be carrying a bag while in the crowds as it’ll just get in the way. However be aware that this trick is quite embarrassing when trying to pay for things and you have to fish around in your bra to get your money out!
- Small amount of medical stuff for little accidents, a few plasters, paracetamol etc. Take condoms and tampons and pads for the ladies as well. Even if you don’t need any of these things there will probably be people who do.
- Sun cream, sunburn is just so awful!
- Some form of tape, probably gaffa tape will come in useful for all kinds of little emergencies, tents breaking etc.
- Don’t camp near the river. (Leeches!)
- Don’t buy a padlock for your tent, you may think you’re stopping people getting at your stuff but a determined thief will just slash your tent. What would you rather have, an empty and shredded tent or an empty but still-in-tact-and-able-to-sleep-in tent?
- Don’t take anything valuable, just don’t. It will get stolen. Things which you have to have (such as mobile and money) keep on you at all times. If possible try and buy one of those rubbish phones for a tenner that you can use for the weekend. If you lose that it’s not the end of the world! If you lose your iPhone however, it’s a different story!
- If you do get things stolen, there are always places you can buy replacements from. (I do believe there are stalls on site which sell wellies, blankets etc) and as I’ve said the supermarkets aren’t too far away.
So there you go, a list of things I recommend you take! Obviously it’s up to you what you take and not all of this is essential, but I hope I’ve given you a few good ideas in case you were feeling stuck.
List of good festival/camping websites: