Festival survival guide: 7 classic mistakes everyone makes

CREDIT Joe Wilde August 10th (447)

We’ve all been there. It’s your first festival and you’ve come fully prepared. Or, at least you think you have. However, there are some lessons you only learn from experience – like the importance of anti-bacterial hand gel and a pair of wellies that don’t have holes in them.

You’ll also learn that human beings really can develop quite a stench after living in a field for four days. But they can also create world-class music, excellent food and the kind of electric atmosphere you only find at a festival.

If you’re just starting out on the festival path of self-discovery, we’re here to help. These are just 7 mistakes that all first-times festival goers make. You live, you learn…

Assuming that a three-man tent will actually sleep three people
Once you’ve thrown your rucksack, sleeping bag, food, fancy dress costumes, crates of cyder and wellies in there, space will be seriously limited. Don’t be surprised if you wake up squashed up against your tent mate with all your worldly possessions nestled around your sleeping bag. When it comes to tents, always go bigger.

Wearing a playsuit/onesie
Sienna Miller may look great when she sports one around Glastonbury – but in reality, that polka-dot playsuit is just not practical festival attire. Every toilet break will involve getting almost undressed  in the dark while simultaneously trying to save everything from falling out of your pockets onto the grimy floor.

Pitching your tent at the bottom of a hill
Your tent is your home-from-home for the weekend, so pick your spot carefully. Avoid pitching at the bottom of a hill, unless you want to wake up in a puddle after a particularly rainy evening.

Thinking that you will shower
You won’t. The queues are too long and the showers too disgusting. This is where wet wipes come in handy – you can have a quick standing wash in the comfort of your own tent. It will make that post-festival bath back home feel all the more deserved.

Taking photos of your favourite band on stage
You’re moshing out metres away from your favourite band. The atmosphere is electric and the lead singer is practically within touching distance. You want to capture the moment by snapping dozens of photos on your camera. However, nine out of ten times, the results will be disappointing. Save your camera space – you’ll cherish gig memories far longer than those blurry disposable shots.

Leaving at 9am on Monday morning
It’s tempting to party until the very end. By Monday morning, you’ll be exhausted, sandy and desperate to get home – along with everyone else. And that’s before you join the traffic jam of the century trying to leave the campsite. Beat the rush by leaving Sunday afternoon – or make your escape after the last act on Sunday night.

Getting that henna tattoo/hair braid
It seemed like a good idea at the time. The sun was shining, spirits were high and that multi-coloured braid looked so nice weaved into blonde hair. Plus you always wanted a tattoo of a dolphin on your hand. Didn’t you? Come Monday morning, you’ll be back in the office, trying to cover up signs that you’ve succumbed to all those festival goer clichés.


Click here to download our Healey’s essential festival packing checklist. It’s like the kind your mum would give you – but without the nagging.


Photo credit: Joe Wilde