The Ultimate Summer Festival Survival Guide


Going to a festival is a fun, energetic and colourful experience, although in Glastonbury’s case that colour may be a certain muddy brown. I would never call myself an expert but with every experience comes lessons and advice for next time. While not a dissertation worthy conundrum, it’s not quite as simple as buying your ticket and assembling your friends. Here are a few of my tips and tricks you may wish to bear in mind!

Consider your outfit(s)

This could be in terms of how fab or drab it may look in photos and on the day itself. What trends have been popular in the past? Generally, it’s what I would call heightened summer-wear with denim shorts, bikini tops, colourful shirts and playsuits all ready staples. What’s trending this year? Crochet tops, stripes and other bold prints, as well as metallic and sheer garments have all been increasingly popular choices. All can be adapted in some fashion though I would perhaps stay away from sheer or mesh items as they may not be as comfortable after several hours in the sun (or rain).

Aesthetics are all well and good, I probably own more books about fashion than most so can hardly dismiss them in their entirety, however, what are other key things to consider? Well, starting from bottom to top, are your shoes comfortable, sensible for the weather, and most importantly, able to be potentially ruined? This may be a slight exaggeration – the average muddy festival generally has better hygiene than Jesters – but you wouldn’t want to wear some nice trainers or boots only for them to be covered in spillages, grass, or anything else.

As for the main outfit, think practically when it comes to length and fit. Do you sun burn easily? Perhaps opt for something which covers your legs so you only have to focus on applying sun-cream to your arms and neck. Is it something you can wear again? Thinking sustainably, if you’re going to buy something new for the festival, would you want to wear it again?

To top it off, a hat and/or sunglasses. Once again this is up to you, however while it would be somewhat harder to lose your main outfit, your hat and sunglasses can be easily misplaced. Like the shoes, it could be wise not to wear your best hat or glasses. Both can aid your visibility seeing the acts out in the sun though they are not for everybody.

If you’re worried about any rain showers, rather than a proper coat, grab a bin bag or poncho. These can be handy for protecting your clothes while still lightweight enough for you to move around the venue.

A bag and what to put in it

This can depend on whether you are camping or not. If you are camping, you will naturally bring more than if you are travelling to the festival. I have personally only packed for days so this advice will primarily apply to that. The bag in question is a white bum-bag with an adjustable strap and three compartments. If you have a small backpack, I recommend wearing it on your front for the majority of the day as it makes it harder for items to be potentially stolen from the bag and the contents is easily accessible to you most of the time.

Space is a bit limited so I prioritize. Some definitive items include a small bottle of sun-cream, hand sanitizer and a print out of my ticket. Most festivals these days are cashless so make sure you can access a payment method, just in case. If you’re paying via your phone, and have the space in your bag, it could be wise to bring a battery pack. I tend to clip a small wallet to the zip inside my bag.

Different festivals have different regulations but most allow you to have access to water and refill stations. Check in advance but make sure you have some form of water bottle. Some require said bottle to be empty – to be filled inside – while others are content with factory sealed shop-bought water. No glass bottles and no alcohol!

Other things you may wish to consider, wet wipes, glucose tablets, plasters, body spray, mouthwash/mints, paracetamol, and sanitary products. When it comes to packing, pack for you! Think about what are you likely to use or potentially need vs what doesn’t really apply.

Be aware of…

Bad phone signal. Around the festival ground DO NOT expect your phone to work. You may have better luck with your data but do not expect to reliably contact your friends. Either arrange a clear meeting spot, split up into groups (if there are 4+ of you) or stick together (if there are only 2/3 of you).

A range of people. Depending on the festival there may be children, teenagers and tourists. Different crowds attract varying attitudes and behaviours. People may not understand English as clearly, be unfamiliar with the set up (which stage is which) or be ‘larking about’. Have fun but be aware of others around you! If something looks wrong, it is better to make the festival staff aware than get involved yourself.

Don’t film everything. Live in the moment and enjoy it. You don’t want to watch it back with barely any memories of the original event. It also drains your phone battery a lot quicker.

Be prepared to queue. Sometimes it is a case of picking your moment but you will encounter at least one queue – even if you are merely trying to maneuver your way through it – so take into account the time it may end up taking. Many of the stalls and toilets will still be within earshot of the stages though. Saying that, do not queue up for anything ahead of your preferred acts. You may think you’ll be lucky time-wise but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

These are just a few things I bear in mind before heading out to a festival. Some of these may seem like common sense but it can be very easy to forget or put things off as summer picks up. While having fun is paramount, it can’t hurt to prepare.


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Deputy Editor and third year history student. Interested in all sorts but particularly film & TV history, lost media, fashion and literature.

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