Wednesday 3 April 2019

How to survive a music festival in your 30's

I’m all for the mini-breaks and the staycations and even the daycations, I’ve been to countless dive bars and been in many a mosh pit and seen some brilliant concerts, but by the age of 30 I was yet to experience the ‘pleasures and or challenges of the music festival’. My only experience of camping (my only three might I had) was as a much younger teen and only lasted approximately one evening!  We tried attempted and failed to cook pasta and out of the pan it fell onto the soggy wet grass and the tent almost blew away. The great British summer this was not! The only others were as a young na├»ve 20 something which also only lasted one evening and even then I only survived on cans of Stella (god I was classy).

So at the age of 30 (2 years ago…fuck!) I was presented with a brand new scenario, the long weekend music festival. Would I be able to cope without adequate toilet/washing facilities? Could I survive on greasy tasteless burgers that soaked up last night’s excesses? What about the mud the endless mud?

But guess what……, I survived and actually thrived. The staycation on a musical note can transform and transport you around the world and regardless of age, you can really have the time of your life!
I discovered almost upon entering this muddy field ala polka dot wellies on, that it’s actually kind of fun squelching around in the mud. When you near the main stage you are kind of dumbfounded a miniature city on show! I wasn’t expecting this, rides, vintage clothing shops, craft beer tents, world food, even a gin bar and a Freixenet cava stand, welcome to paradise my friends, an almost utopia of your favourite things.

Now, what if you aren’t quite a music fan? No problems, there’s shopping opportunities, yoga and meditation classes, science and political talks hell there are even comedy tents. Fan of food? Awesome! Treat it like a food festival, last year I had one of the best gourmet burgers of my life, ate fresh crab from the Scottish lochs, had wood-fired pizza, French rotisserie chicken, drank wine from Argentina, had cherry beer from the local brewery and a fabulous G&T from the guys at Portobello. The list is endless; this is even before the music.

And now my tips to make your festival feel like an absolute breeze!

Shower in the evening – I found this to be absolutely essential! Even getting up at the crack of dawn which is pretty much written off after a night of merriment you’d still find a queue of people that seem to take hour long showers! As my idea of a lie in consists of any time after 8am these days the queues just get worse, so go for a nice long shower in the evening 5-6pm is perfect. Tie your hair in one of those plaits or buns, grab some salt spray and rock the beach waves the next day as there is absolutely zero point in a blow dry.

Only a large tent or van will do- I have found after trying and attempting to sleep in a one-man tent my husband thought would be perfect for two that this is indeed a completely stupid and ridiculous idea. You need room, space, a place to get changed, somewhere to put your pots and pans and food essentials, a place to blow off steam, a place to put your chairs, your rubbish and whatever other essentials you deem necessary.

Something comfy to sleep on- If you can do bring a blowup bed or whatever is nice and soft to sleep on. Grass back is not fun, that yoga session would be painful the next morning. At our last music festival the hubby had the idea of bringing the transit van which was ingenious as we had a mattress that was relatively new in storage after purchasing a new bed, layering the bottom of the van we whacked in the mattress put on a proper sheet, duvet and pillows and I could have sworn I was in my own bed. It also had the added benefits of completely blacked out light! What a winner.

The Power Nap- Do not underestimate the power of these, if your liver has taken a battering and there is an act you simply must see at a certain ungodly hour (which for me is probably any time after 11 these days); there is nothing a painkiller, Lucozade and a long nap won’t solve.

Budget – Whilst the delicious food and drink stalls must and do deserve to be attacked they can quickly add up. Stick to a certain amount and agree on it, if there is a delicacy you simply must try limit yourself at other occasions unless money is no issue invite friends back to your plot have a BBQ and or picnic and have a laugh! Sometimes the shittest of convenience food can bring out the best conversations with friends and family.

Try to choose your plot wisely – this is truly an art form. You need somewhere that isn’t too far to walk for any major conveniences, yet is still quiet enough to actually have some form of REM sleep.

Plan, Schedule, list- do this early on and try to work out what times you must see what and when try and see if anything is repeated so you don’t have the annoying task of working out what you might miss. You then have the added benefit of knowing you have worked out and planned everything in advance, also have a wander and explore the festival layout and see out how much time you need to get where and when so you can get adequate seating or at the front and or possibly stop with enough time for a beverage or two.

Shopping list- I may have nailed this down to a fine art depending on who you are with, whether you are single, together or a group you can add or withdraw items as you see fit; reusable water bottles (most festivals are aiming to be plastic free and offer free water so take something you can fill up and keep your hydration levels up), baby wipes (for just about everything), errevescent vitamins, medicine cabinet essentials (painkillers, dioralyte, Imodium, acid reflux meds, blister treatments, plasters), sun screen, various hats, food (anything non-perishable is a god send), booze (if you can), wellies, waterproofs, the usual’s (shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, tooth paste, toilet roll), anti-bacterial wipes/gel, hair bands/clips, condoms (better to be safe than sorry), wireless chargers, a bum bag (safer than a handbag or backpack and is quite the fashion piece), sunglasses,  ear plugs and a sleeping mask (if you’re near a noisy area or don’t have a black out tent), disposable BBQ, dry shampoo, salt spray, wellies, sleeping bag, a size up tent.

I would also suggest possibly beautifying yourself at home over the coming days if you’re that way inclined. Want that dewy nice glow, get a spray tan before you leave, have a conditioning treatment at the hairdressers, make sure you eat well and rest before the party starts and once there well go get that glitter face painted on because when in Rome you can be a unicorn.


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