Hello y'all! It's already been an interesting August and as I haven't had a holiday to look forward to, I've spent a few weeks dreaming towards V Festival. Bieber. RiRi. Sia. Little Mix. Um... hello ultimate fun! Probably one of the most tame festivals, this local beauty is only two days of music but offers massive (undercover) headphone discos each night and what feels like an older age range of folk probably heading to work on the Monday rather than school. I attended my first festival when I was 16 and we weren't actually allowed by our parents to camp there, which I'm quite glad about in hind sight! Aside from never fending for or feeding myself before then, I went on to hit up loads of festivals before starting University and then started returning once I was a working graduate who needed to spend a weekend completely away from running water, sleep and normal civilisation. Is it just an excuse to wear some teeny yet super cute co-ords? Maybe! It's like you're in a huge universe contained in one tiny bubble of sounds, views and vibes constantly stimulating your eyes and ears. Since planning my outfits, I've been revisiting my list of packing essentials saved from years gone by, and here are a few things you may not have considered packing but DEFINITELY need.
My ultimate item is a portable gas hair tong. Yes, they do portable straighteners too and they are pretty decent. Life. SAVER.
Guaranteed you'll be camped next to some super keen beans with a portable stove, trolley, perfectly arranged tent and loads of food. I only camp once a year so I tend to scale down on any food I take. I usually pack food for Day One only as any food I take to a festival, I tend to not use. Before you set off you could take anything you fancy as a packed lunch/dinner (I'll usually cook veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, pizza, etc, and wrap in foil) but for the following days, the only viable option is taking dried food like bread, crisps, etc, that really aren't appealing. You'll be craving proper, hearty, hot food as it could be days until your next main meal, and a cereal bar just won't cut it. There will be a stall for any and every cuisine you may fancy so if you can afford it, just eat on the go. You'll be in the arena all day too so are you going to want to be carrying food around in your backpack all day? The only thing I take is a LOT of sweets for energy hits.
Take a torch and before you leave your tent on the first day, tie it to the roof on the inside so when you return at midnight and it's pitch black, you're not fumbling around with your phone torch while trying to enter a damp tent covered in mud. Tie a bag to the porch of your tent too to keep rubbish (and wasps) out. Lots of plastic bags are handy to hold worn and muddy clothes. ALWAYS take wellies off before entering the tent - it should be a no mud zone! Before leaving your tent for the day, move everything to the middle so if the tent sides get wet, your things may stay dry.
Take a flag, balloon, stickers - anything to separate your tent from the rest as it truly is SO dark at night that finding your own tent is a very difficult task indeed.
This is not advice I condone but if you need to smuggle alcohol into an arena, take water pouches (like Caprisun pouches) as they are much more maleable to conceal than a hard plastic bottle. Don't forget a batch of plastic disposable cups too and straws if you are feeling flashy.
Ear plugs and an eye mask might feel really odd but you'll be way too tired to mind and they really will buy you a few more precious minutes of sleep before you get woken up by early birds playing music and cooking sausages at 7am, only separated from your face by a thin tent sheet. Once you're awake, you will not be able to go to sleep again so make it last!
When you do wake up, you'll have to make the sorry walk to an awful portaloo or to the tea/coffee van, probably ASAP, and just imagine thousands of hungover, sleep-deprived, unwashed people waking at the same time. Plan an outfit or suitable pyjamas that you know you can walk straight out of your tent in and stand in a 20 minute toilet queue clutching a loo roll. PJ bottoms and a hoodie should cover it - nothing that can drag on the floor. Take your usual cleanser too and take it off with a flannel or baby wipe dipped in water.
You might have your little brother's sleeping bag from his Scouts days packed but don't forget a pillow.
I learnt last year to take a proper mac as it's going to cover your outfit anyway, and those cheap colourful macs do ABSOLUTELY nothing when it rains. You will be soaking wet and clammy because they are in no way made for rain. Take a proper waterproof (I'm borrowing my brother's) and when the rain does stop, you can emerge pristine rather than sodden. A mac can also double up as something to sit on as the ground will be trashed and you will definitely be sitting at some points during the day.
Failing that, keep a bunch of hair ties in a memorable place and tie that hair back before the rain does any damage.
Try on outfits before you go, including accessories. Not having a mirror is really annoying and you want to trust in what you are putting on and feel super confident. Sense check what you will be wearing at home before you leave.
YES I am going on about outfits because everyone looks damn amazing at festivals. Unless you want to stand in an hour-long queue for those stands that do your hair and glitter, you need to turn your tent into beauty boudoir. The only way to feel half decent is to buy awesome outfits and go ALL out. Plan your makeup looks too as sitting in a field is not the time to try out a cool new eye look.
What is your day bag going to be? I'm trialling a bum bag this year but carrying a mac will mean a backpack may suit better.
This is top secret but if you look at the festival map of years gone by, you can choose a car park to aim for in advance. Instead of the stewards ushering you to the one that's a two mile trek away, we always continue into gold car park and we're literally parked up next to our tent. We can keep half of our belongings in the car until we need to refresh our supplies each morning, and if we have a tent leak again, we will be leaving our clothes in the car also. Take some cash too as they do charge you for parking - ew.
That's everything for now but please let me know if you have an amazing festival tip! Unfortunately the V forecast is rain but I'm really, REALLY hoping it is more of a brief shower than torrential downpours. Touch wood!