I’m not trying to insult your intelligence with this one, I promise. Some (maybe even all) of this advice will seem like common sense but it’s surprisingly easy to forget when you’re all caught up in excitement and drunkenness at your first European festival. Trust me, I would know. I’ve made 99.9% of these mistakes, plus a few more. Despite all of this I’ve always been lucky enough to have an amazing experience at European festivals and hopefully you should be just as lucky! Here are some of my mistakes that I’ve generously learnt for you to provide some simple, yet effective advice.
- Look after your stuff: It sounds ridiculously obvious but unfortunately I’m speaking from experience. Unless you’re splashing out Diddy style and staying in a hotel, the chances are you’ll be camping. Although the vast majority of festival goers are great, you can’t be too careful. One of the best things to do is a little bit of research to see if that festival offers locker facilities. Although it might seem frustrating shelling out to hire a locker, the peace of mind it will give you knowing that your passport, flight tickets and money are safe is invaluable. If they don’t provide lockers make sure you keep anything seriously valuable on you. It goes without saying that all your money should be separated, so if you’re unfortunate enough to lose some or have some pinched, you’ve got a back up supply of funds. I’ve learnt the hard way on this one.
- iVote no: Leave your smartphone at home. Don’t get me wrong European festivals are pure gold Instagram material but it’s just not worth the likes. There’s no pretty filter for your face when you realise you’ve lost your iPhone. When you’re there you just want to enjoy yourself and live every second and not just through the medium of Snapchat. Just take something so you can let your parents know you’ve arrived safely and contact your friends if you get split up. The Nokia in the kitchen draw that is as old as you are is a safe bet, as you won’t be gutted if you lose it and the battery life is second to none. Phone charging queues at festivals are insane and you don’t want to spend your holiday waiting when you could be enjoying yourself.
- Footwear is key: It sounds like a “mum” thing to say but when you get round to packing, make sure you choose your footwear wisely. The heat and sand can cause havoc with your feet and having loads of blisters can put a real downer on things. Flip flops are great for pottering around in but make sure you take plasters in case in between your toes get sore. When putting on suncream make sure you don’t forget your feet. Red swollen feet didn’t suit Aunt Marge in Harry Potter and they won’t suit you either. When it comes to night time, something like Vans or Converse are perfect for when the music is on as sandals don’t provide much protection for your toes when you’re bouncing around in the crowd to Maya Jane Coles or The Maccabees.
- Branch out: When you see a line-up for a festival it can be tempting to just beeline for the big names. If you get the chance, go and see someone you’ve never heard of or someone you would never see under normal circumstances. The chances are if you like a band or DJ loads you will have already seen them in the UK or will have a chance to see them again, so it’s worth making time for some more obscure acts. Some of the best atmospheres you will get at a festival are often in a small tent while a big name draws most of the attendees to the main stage. Finally, don’t be too self-indulgent. Take the time to go and see some acts that your friends want to. Even if you’re not into them, it’s important that everyone compromises. You came to have a good time with your friends so it’s a shame to bicker about what stage to go.
So those are just a few words of wisdom for you to bear in mind if you’re off overseas for a festival this summer (which you definitely should be…)