Be prepared for festival camping. It's not like any other camping experiences you may have had or imagined.
The best and biggest festivals always involve camping. If this is your first festival, put aside any ideas you have about waking up to birdsong and the smell of fresh air and greenery. Except that you might use a sleeping bag and tent, festival camping bears almost no relation to ordinary leisure camping. Keep these pointers in mind for stress free festival camping:
Choose your pitch carefully
Arrive early for the best choice of pitches. Try to choose a spot that is within sight of landmarks you'll remember and that will still be visible when you wake up to a field covered in thousands of other tents. Whatever you do stay as far away from the toilets as you can because it won't be long before they stink to high heaven. Don't expect to get much sleep, but if you want to camp in a quieter area, ask the stewards for advice. Some of the bigger festivals try to set aside quieter areas and family camping zones.
Claim your territory
Do whatever you can to mark a small area of territory around your tent. Some people even go so far as digging a small trench around their tents. If you don't, you are likely to unzip your tent in the morning and find exit blocked by the side of someone else's tent.
Circle the Wagons
If you come with a group set up your tents in a circle with the openings facing the center and each other for the reasons explained in item two, above. If you can, set up some kind of fencing around your "compound". It discourages people from wandering through and also discourages opportunistic thieves.
Identify Your Tent
People use flags and banners, pinwheels, symbols painted in dayglo colors on the sides of their tents. Do whatever you can to identify your tent or your group "compound" so that you can find it again when stumbling home in the dark.
Make friends with the neighbors
Getting to know the people who have pitched their tents near yours can add to your festival experience by giving you a group to hang out and identify with. It can also make your camping area a bit more secure.
Don't lock your tent
Don't be tempted to put a padlock or a luggage lock on your tent. Think about how pathetic that looks - there's not a tent made that can be made secure - and how tempting to thieves. It announces to the world,
. As a corollary, don't leave anything in your tent that you can't afford to lose.
Try to Stay Dry
We've all seen pictures of music festival-goers plastered in mud and thought what fun, what freedom. Forget it. It can get pretty cold at any time of year at the big UK music festivals and if you can't dry off, you will be miserable. Bring some sturdy, water-tight bags or containers to hold spare underwear, socks and a change of clothes. Some towels too. Use big black bin bags on the ground under your sleeping bag. Do whatever you can to stay dry and if you can't stay dry, at least dry off.