Summer Festival Prep
Following on from the last post focusing on camping, I thought it might be fun to explore the preparation for the coming festival-packed summer of fun ahead.
Whether you’re a camping enthusiast the rest of the year or prefer your breaks with a little more luxury, many of us venture out under canvas for at least a few nights in the summer when miniature cities spring up all over the country for a weekend of live music.
But of course, it’s not all about camping. There’s plenty more to consider before loading up your car and heading out hoping to relive your parents’ Woodstock stories – though perhaps with a little less chemical enhancement!
There are a few things that we all absolutely need when we’re considering camping in a field with a few thousand other revelers, and they’re not your hair curlers or your laptop.
- Go Prepared. Yes, it’s shocking, thousands of people at festivals hook up, and many go tent-hopping for the weekend. You don’t want to be caught in that predicament of really wanting that boink but having to go hunting around the festival shops at 3am looking a box of rubbers. Don’t forget to pack condoms, lube, and maybe a Z-pack and some PrEP pills.
- Wipes. Not all festivals have showers on site, and even when they are offered they are often out of order, very limited or far too busy. Having some damp wipes to give yourself a quick bath in your tent is preferable to having everyone around you asking what that smell is.
- Antihistamines. Most of us travel a few miles out of town to go to these events, and some of us even leave the country for a really good festival. While you might not have allergy symptoms at home, going to a new area with different plant life and possibly even a completely different climate can often surprise you with allergic reactions. Not everyone needs it, just ensure one person in your group has some.
- Sun Block. It might seem obvious, but plenty of people forget it, or think they’ll get it when they arrive. The next thing they know they’re waking up after their first afternoon drinking session of the festival severely burned and unable to move.
- Duct Tape. This is a lifesaver for those who unpack their tent to find a mouse has used a corner of it to raise their young, or when they poke one of the poles through the canvas in a drunken rage of ineptitude. Once that tent has a hole, you will be waking up either damp with dew or drowning after a sudden shower. A little duct tape is all that’s needed to make it good for the rest of the trip.
- Tissue/Toilet Paper. This stuff is like gold at a festival. Sellers know people need it and will charge extortionate prices if they have the chance. Make sure your group has enough to last you.
- Energy Sweets. Many festivals now give these out completely free in the UK, because they know that after a day or two people tend to start skipping bands and sticking by the tent while they recover from the night before. These little sweets can be all you need to get that energy back and get into the mood again.
- Cash. Even if the festival has a cashless system, you never know what might happen. You need to make sure you have enough cash to be able to travel at least a few miles to civilization if you absolutely have to.
As someone who has been festivalling for more than nine years, I do feel like a bit of a veteran, and there are a few things I have picked up along the way which might be of use to the festival noob.
- Bandanna. If you have ever used a toilet at a festival you will probably know this little tip. If you have a bandanna or scarf, spray a little deodorant on it and cover your face before you enter that “pit of doom” and you’ll save yourself from either passing out through holding your breath, or passing out thinking about what travels with smells. Thankfully, the Victorians worked out that smells don’t generally make you ill. But it took them a while and we’re still not totally there.
- Valuables. Most festivals now offer a locker for a small fee. This is great, but it would be better if people didn’t bring expensive gadgets to show off. What do you need an iPhone for when a cheap disposable phone does the same? When sleeping, put all valuables inside the bottom of your sleeping bag, and make sure anyone you invite into your tent isn’t able to take any souvenirs with them when they leave. But maybe give them some underwear to remember you by if you’re that nice :)
- Sex. Perhaps not surprisingly, most people are open to experimenting at festivals. While you could join festival websites and meet other gay attendees you could visit with on site, you’d actually not have that much of a difficult time hitting on random people. Most won’t immediately be uninterested, if only because they feel they SHOULD be more daring. They might be straight or only slightly, privately, curious in their everyday life, but at a festival something strange happens and horniness often takes over.
- Neighbors. I have met so many fantastic and interesting people at festivals. The people who are camping around you are not just people, they are your neighbors if even for a short time. And you’re at the same event, so chances are good that you have a lot in common. Get to know them on the first day and you’ll probably find you have a very large crowd of fantastically funny people to party with for the entire stay.
Gay or straight, the festival experience is an amazing one, full of fun and excitement and new experiences. All it takes is a little common sense, an attitude of adventure and some incredible weekends can be had as a result. The summer is a time to get out there and enjoy everything there is for life to offer. Enjoy it, because very soon the snow and ice will return and we’ll all be locked up inside by the fire once again, dreaming of what we’ll do when the sun comes back.
Just make sure you do not do the following: