I mention festivals quite alot, as they are the highlight of my YEAR, let alone the summer!! I got a lovely email (hi jane!) asking for festival advice and what to take/wear/etc. There are loads of guides in magazines with the boring hippy smock top and denim shorts ensemble, which is so not what to wear. You can wear basically anything. I always take my favourite sparkly dresses. Just obviously don't wear heels. And if rain is on the forcast just give up all hope. You will drown without wellies. If it rains this year I will consider selling my tickets, because it puts a damper on the day, unless you don't let it. Be prepared to fight for fun and have a good time anyway.
Taking everything under the sun is not needed. You don't even need very much money, the only things to buy is food and rubbish band tshirts for £30. Alcohol if the heaviest thing you will take, so set off early so you have time to go into the nearest town and buy it then; plus there are usually huge vans at road sides selling cheap crates. Don't take snack food like crisps/fruit. You'll want decent meals as you can't snack for 4 days straight. Save money to buy some cheap van take aways, and take sandwich boxes full of pasta, cous cous and salads. Get some disposable bbqs from pound shops and cook sausages and burger- just don't poison yourself! The medical tents are helpful.
Ration your stuff! It's a big rule if you're dependant on booze/drugs (hey, no judgement here!) On the last day even the bands are asking the crowd for backy, and dealers go round selling £10 teeny splifs. Take your own, or the stuff you buy could be dodgy. Never accept anything off anyone, whether it be even food. People do get assaulted.
Don't think it's going to be a dangerous drug fest! It depends on the festival. V festival is not so stundenty, there are older people there, and you can't have fires, so it's less crazy. Reading on the first night is off the hook as everyone is full of everything. It's not a scary place. Everyone just wants a good festival and 99% of people are clean hippys and not about to mug or kill you. But you need to keep your wits about you. Last year at reading our neighbours used to shoot up outside their tents at 10am. If your looking for trouble them you'll find it, but most just dance around a camp fire and appreciate the music.
It's a myth that you'll be best friends with your neighbours and make loads of new life friends. Older festivals are friendly, but most like reading are full of people who come in groups. Girls don't want any other girls coming into their group of friends. If you make an effort you will make friends, but it's not automatic. Also, people are mean with their stuff, and will NOT lend you tent pegs!
Go to sleep late so you wake up late, as there's nothing to do until about 2pm when the bands start, and even then they're not the great bands. You can't take alcohol into arenas, so put it down the back of your dress or in your shorts. Take fold up chairs, as at night you don't want to sit on the floor, or just steal some! Take a blow up bed as it's not nice sleeping on stones or on a slope. Keep your suitcase in order or when you start to sling in dirty clothes and muck everything up you won't feel any nicer. I've never had a shower at a festival, just had alot of bowl washes and used many baby wipes (which will be your savoir!!!), but I've heard showers at 5am are the best. TAKE TOILET ROLL! Most festivals have portaloos, but reading was basically wooden cubicles on top of a huge box with holes in. If you don't like gross thing skip a few lines now, but at reading when you looked down the toilet hole you were basically looking into a huge box of everyones everything. And it rose over the weekend...
Princess Lou was fanatic about these Urinelle things that oxfam gave out, which were basically cardboard funnels so girls could go to the loo behind their tent, or just not have to sit on the yucky loo seat. Don't piss off your neighbours. Last year Lou was extremely allergic to the fire fumes, so we kindly asked our neighbours if they could move their fires, and keep them to a minimum. They had them right outside our tent at 9am. WHY do you need a fires at 9am??!! We had alot of fights and in the end sought revenge is a way that we will take to the grave!!
I took a big plastic bowl and washed my hair twice with a cup and water. Leaving it to dry was a pain as it made me freezing but it was worth feeling that bit better. At night after the bands, and on the first night, there are discos (how retro) and films in the tents, so don't think the fun has stopped. The mosh pits are not as hardcore as they look. If you are emo you will die. At download they had a rampage of metal heads shouting 'kill the emos' looking for some to beat up. Also there are food fights from one end of the campsite to the other. Talk to hot guys, you will never see them again, you have nothing to loose. TAKE SUNSCREEN! Lock your tent and suitcases. I know you can just slash a tent open, but someone is more likely to go to the average tent than one with locks. If you make friends with your neighbours they can watch your tent when you're away.
Get a cool tent. Lou had a paint your own one, and we spotted loads over the weekend. Most of all just get drunk, have fun and go with it. It's better when you just sling a few things into a suitcase and go, than fret about everything and try to feel fresh!