Festival Preparation

Festival packing preparation (except the guitar - that stayed at home!)

I went to my first festival in 2004. I would be the first to admit I didn't have a clue what I was doing. The only time before that I had been camping as an adult was when I went on a trip with my kick boxing squad to Amsterdam and it was proper camping with nice(ish) toilets and showers.

I was not prepared for how different festival camping would be.

Firstly there is the distance from your car to where it is you will actually end up camping for the duration and getting all your stuff from A to B as easily and as pain free as possible.

Reading 2004 - my first festival

In 2004 at Reading I did not pack light! Apart from an abundance of clothes, I also had two full sized pillows, a large sleeping bag that did not fold down at all (I might as well have been carrying a duvet) plus two 5 litre bottles of still water (it didn't occur to me that they actually have to provide running drinkable water at festivals!). The car park was either a 2 mile walk or boat and short walk from where we were eventually camping. And that year the campsite was flooded which meant we had to walk a lot further in order to find suitable ground for camping on. In the process of carrying everything from the car we lost one of the water bottles (just too heavy) and one of my pillows ended up in the mud. I learnt quickly that I did not actually need much to get through 3-4 nights of festival camping.

Fast forward to this year and packing for Download has become a straight forward operation. I have a spreadsheet which we slightly tweak each year as we realise that we actually don't need something or actually there is something that we can add to the list that would be useful for the following year. Having experienced some awful weather conditions in the past 6 years we are quite well equipped now to deal with all weather conditions.

Download 2017 - car park to pitched and ready to rock in 45 minutes

I still feel now that I am massively over-packing as I don't wear everything I take but I feel I am now down to as little as I can take risk free. Culling anything more from the list would mean that if I was to be hugged by a muddy creature or fall over and rip my leggings or just get absolutely soaked from the rain, I would have no back ups and would be forced to spend the remainder of the weekend either muddy, looking like an idiot or soggy.

So, if you are planning on attending a festival this summer or, indeed you just want to refine your own packing list, here is our recommended packing list:

Tent (do recommend a decent tent if you are going to be going often)
Sleeping bag (a decent one that packs away to almost nothing)
Sleeping mat
Camping pillow
Small water bottle (can be filled onsite and easy to take into the arena as well)
Mallet (because even though it rains normally getting tent pegs in the ground can be hard)
Picnic blanket (handy for outside the tent and in the arena if the ground is a bit damp)
Loo roll (festival loos have a tendency to run out pretty quickly)
Black bin liners (useful in so many different ways)
Torches (because guy ropes are a death trap in the dark)
Tent light
Poncho (to ensure you experiences is not entirely soggy)
Earplugs (to help with sleeping and if you are planning on get up, close and personal with speakers)
Phone chargers (a must in this day and age - in 2004 phones lasted forever)
Waterproof case for you phone
Eye mask (tents are not great for keeping out the early morning light)
Hat (to hide day 3 greasy hair)
Gloves (because night time can get pretty cold at times)
Wellies (because 9 times out of 10 you will need them)
Wet wipes (again useful for lot of things but just to refresh you a bit everyday in the absence of a shower)
Cereal bars (great late night snack as well as breakfast)
Anti-bacterial gel (again festival loos have a tendency to run out pretty quickly)
Sun cream (despite the rain you also will get burnt)


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