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Surviving The Summer Music Festivals

Jun 13, 2008
Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading, Secret Garden Party, Glade, Bestival, Latitude, Download, T in the Park, the list of festivals and outdoor music events in the summer is as long as your arm. Thousands of people gather in fields around the country, brought together by their unifying love of live music. It's very special. You watch artists that you idolise with hundreds of thousands of other people, all feeling the same exhilaration and euphoria, singing and dancing along to legendary tracks and the anthems to your lives.

The camp site is buzzing through the night with new friendships and experiences, drinking and dancing in the dark, immersing your self in the vibrant atmosphere. It's the best time of the year and you'll be talking about it till the next one, wearing your wrist band like a medal until it snaps 6 months later.

Well, it can be that good, or it can be a nightmare if you don't prepare yourself properly for the hazardous conditions you potentially face. Here is the essential check list to ensure your survival and maximisation of good times at whichever festival you are going too this summer.

Money. You will need to take quite a lot of cash with you unless you don't mind queuing for three hours in the five mile line for the only cash machine on the entire site. Unless you have brought enough food and drinks with you, you're going to have to shell out quite a lot on them as food is always expensive at music festivals. You'll need to keep the money on you and well concealed, pick pockets go to festivals too.

You're more than likely going to be drinking over the festival weekend. It can be very expensive to buy your drinks at the event so it's best to bring some with you. Most, if not all, festivals will not allow glass bottles to brought inside so bring boxes of wine and cans of beer, plastic bottles of water and soft drinks and if you're bringing spirits decanter them into a plastic container first. At the Carling festivals, if you help clean up you are rewarded with cans of carling for handing in bin bags of rubbish from the campsite, this is great because it helps keep the area clean and your save a bit of cash.
I hate to sound like a bore here but try to be responsible with how much you drink, it will be awful if you get drunk and lose your friends and can't find your tent, you become vulnerable when you're intoxicated too so be aware. Drink plenty of water, sleeping in tents in the heat when you've been drinking booze can make you feel very ill and dehydrated. Take plenty of bottled water with you.

Take a disposable camera. Dropping your lovely digital camera in the mud at Glastonbury would be upsetting, not only would you lose your camera but the treasured pictures too. Losing a disposable camera would not be quite the same disappointment, and if you manage to look after it and get it home, when you get it developed you have that element of surprise and excitement that doesn't exist so much with the digital alternative.

Tent! Obvious I know but there are a few points to consider regarding your home for 3 days.
1. Pitch your tent at the top of a hill if you can. If (well, when) it rains, you don't want to be sliding down the hill or even worse, at the bottom with your tent totally soaked. If you have to pitch on a hillside, have your door facing downwards so that the muddy water can't come through it. Oh and another obvious point but one worth remembering; don't camp near the toilets!! I think you can figure out why.

2. A two man tent is just that. It fits two people, think about where you are going to put all your bags and valuables, if you can deal with a tight squeeze then do it, if you can't then your sleep is going to be very uncomfortable.

3. Padlock. Unfortunately if you give a thief an opportunity then they will take it. Lock your tent whilst you're away from it and it would be wise to lock it at night too, to save yourself having random drunk people mistaking your tent for theirs and climbing into bed with you.

4. Take gaffa tape to deal with holes in your tent, again this is a rain safety point. We live in England, it's probably going to thunder down at some point!

5. Make your tent obvious so that you can find it. Write on the side of it or put up a flag that no one else will have.

It might be sunny. There is always the slight possibility of freak good weather. Most of us are not use to this event so a few things you will need to familiarise yourself with are; sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and drink lots of water.

You will find a heavy appreciation for wet wipes. They will save you. You won't have a sink nearby to wash your face and hands most of the time and the wet wipe will become your best friend.

Take dry shampoo with you. You can buy cans of batiste which you spray on to your greasy unwashed festival hair and then brush it out to have lovely clean hair again. It's a God send.

Throat Lozenges will ease the pain after a night of chain smoking. Pain killers for your hang over are essential and Imodium in case you get some tummy trouble after a dodgy barbeque.

Finally, don't forget a torch, condoms (you might meet the love of your life, or you could just get beer goggles) camping chair and toilet paper. Take a radio with you, Bestival and Glastonbury and probably more festivals have their own radio shows so you can keep updated with what's going on, it's good to have a listen in the morning to help plan your itinerary for the day. Radio or a guitar is also good for the campsite at night to keep the musical atmosphere alive.

Whichever festivals you go to, you're bound to have an amazing time. I hope this survival guide has helped save you from the potential blunders. Good Luck!
About the Author
Student Book is a website for prospective and current students. It offers a university comparison tool and a wealth of information on the ins and outs of applying to university. The site is also a guide to student life with advice on finance, welfare, study skills, accommodation and a lot more. These are helpful, relevant and entertaining articles aimed at students and future students.
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