Music Festivals in the UK have come a long way since the first few bearded hippies gathered on Worthy Farm near Glastonbury more than four decades ago. Nowadays, it’s just as common to see groups of young professionals celebrating a weekend away from the office in a field with music and muddy wellies as it is to see old age pensioners living it up in the dance tent – in short, festivals have become something that everyone of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy. Are you thinking of packing up your tent and heading for some fun this summer? Whether you’re a festival veteran or a total beginner, here are our tips to enjoying a great weekend:
Back in the day, there were only a few music festivals to choose from, each offering the same combination of progressive rock bands and hippie culture. Now, there really is something for everyone no matter what your musical taste. Of course, there are always the big ones like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Isle of Wight and more – although you’ll want to be sure to book your ticket far in advance to ensure your place. They don’t come cheap either, so be prepared to fork out a substantial amount of cash both on your ticket and on food and drink while you’re there. Another popular option is one of the smaller ’boutique’ festivals like Wilderness or Secret Garden Party. Smaller and with a more laid-back vibe, these festivals focus less on a starry line-up of famous bands and more on activities, workshops and art installations. There are also festivals aimed squarely at families, dance music festivals, alcohol-free festivals, combined food and music festivals and much more, so you can tailor your summer partying to suit your personal interests.
Setting up camp
For many people, a weekend at a festival over the summer is the closest they come to getting back to nature in the great outdoors. And while this often leads to plenty of frivolity in the fresh air, it also means that some enthusiastic festival-goers can arrive a little under-prepared. When you’re packing for your festival, it’s worth making sure you’ve got everything you need to be warm and comfortable for the whole weekend. Even the sunniest British festivals can get cold at night, and we all know that rain and mud is a frequent occurrence – so ensure your comfort by investing in a decent tent rather than a cheap pop-up that is liable to leak and bow in the wind. Visit a store like Millets to pick up a quality tent aimed to withstand the weather, and make sure you’ve got a decent set of waterproofs too. If you plan on saving money by cooking for yourself you’ll need a good camping stove and fuel too – although it’s worth thinking your plans through. Many people head to festivals full of good cooking intentions, only to end the weekend with bags of uneaten pasta and noodles. Take some time to think about whether or not you’re likely to leave the party long enough to cook up a meal.
Even the most sedate music festival is sure to see some casualties over the weekend. From inexperienced youngsters going too heavy on the booze to victims of the weather struck down by sunburn and heatstroke, there are plenty of risks to watch out for if you want to enjoy yourself without incident. If drinking, make sure you alternate your alcoholic drinks with water and make sure you stay hydrated even in cold weather. And when the sun is shining, look after yourself and your fellow festival-goers. Always carry sunscreen and make sure you top it up regularly, wearing a sun hat and seeking shade during the most intense hours of midday sun.
The VIP option
Feel a little too old to spend your weekend huddled under a sheet of leaky nylon and sleeping on a hard floor? Thankfully, you’re not the only one. The growing popularity of music festivals amongst the older generation has lead to a rise in luxury camping options for those wanting to party in style. These range from ‘glamping’ options such as yurts, tipis and bell tents to full blown five star hotel packages. Glamping usually comes with extras like proper beds and carpets and is usually located on or very near to festival sites – so you can still be a part of the action while getting just a little extra sleep at night. Hotel packages tend to include off-site accommodation, and are ideal for anyone who still enjoys all the excitement of a festival but wants to be able to go home to a quiet room at the end of it all. For the best deals on hotel accommodation near your favourite event, check out sites like Booking.com.