With Boardmasters a little over a fortnight away, the Urban Beach Team thought it was high time to give you their run down of their top tips for surviving 5 days of camping, high energy fun and limited personal hygiene.
1. If You’re Worried About Losing It Leave It At Home
Expensive items like your brand spanking new phone or tablet should be left at home. If you need to bring a phone to contact friends whilst at the Festival, bring an old one or a cheap pay as you go model that you won’t mind if it gets lost or smashed into pieces when the crowd goes off!
If you’re a bit of shutterbug then a cheap disposable camera is a good alternative to an expensive digital one.
2. Be Prepared to Skip The Shower For Several Days!
Let’s face it festivals are notorious for their hygiene or lack thereof! The only way to beat the neurosis of feeling unclean is to embrace your inner hippy and deal with it. Besides everyone else is going to smell the same by the end of the weekend, so you won’t be alone in smelling like a foot!
A handy tip for dealing with the unpleasantness of festival porta loos is to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Wet wipes work well as a shower in a pack, if you don’t want to completely reek, and ALWAYS REMEMBER TOILET ROLL! You don’t want to have the embarrassment of being stuck in the dreaded long-drops without any.
If you’re worried about your hair looking like it’s been dunked in a deep fryer, then dry shampoo is an ideal solution. On the other hand if you’re a crusty at heart then skip the comb and the shampoo for a few days and let those tresses tangle (just remember to give them a decent rinse when you get home).
3. Pack For All Weather!
This is the UK remember, we can go from sun-drenched to just plain old drenched at the drop of a hat! So make sure you pack a waterproof or water resistant jacket, preferably one that can fold down to next to nothing. Ideal for quick deployment if there happens to be a cloud burst. A cap or a hat is also perfect for keeping the sun off of your head, essential when you're going to be out and about in it all day.
A thick hoodie might sound like the last thing on the list for a summer festival but it will be a godsend in the evening when the temperature drops and things damp down.
Pack strong shoes, walking boots work well in all conditions, wellies are a must in wet conditions. Flip flops, whilst unsuitable for the main arena (unless you like the idea of broken toes) will come in pretty handy for kicking back on Fistral Beach and watching the surf comps.
Also don't forget a dry bag for those items you really want to keep dry - check out ours here.
4. Check Your Tent & Camping Gear Before You Leave.
Double check that you have everything that comes with your tent (i.e. poles and pegs) check that the fly sheet for tears etc. It’d be a disaster if you get there only to find you have no poles to hold the canopy up with and that there’s a hole you could drive a truck through in the fly sheet!
Ensure your tent doesn't look like this, before you head off!
Make sure there are no punctures in your air mat and your sleeping bag is warm enough. As sturdy bag for taking your gear and a decent day bag for the arena are also festival essentials.
Check that you include spare batteries for things like camp lanterns and torches (Very important for navigating a field of tents at night!) A camping chair is also useful especially if the heavens open and the ground resembles something like chocolate milkshake!
5. Sun Lotion! Don’t End Up Looking Like Grilled Lobster!
If the sun happens to grace us with its presence you don’t want to get cooked! Sleeping in a sweltering tent all weekend is uncomfortable enough at the best of times, having red raw flesh is going to add to the discomfort tenfold, so make sure you pack the highest factor you can afford.
6. Don’t Forget Your Medication!
If you need to take prescription medication then remember to take it with you, you don’t want to be left gasping for breath after raving all night to Wilkinson because you forgot your inhaler!
7. Look After Your Ears!
Use earplugs! Don’t let your mates take the mick, because when they’re 40 and struggling to hear, the joke will be well and truly on them.
Motörhead once supposedly recorded a decibel level of 130 at a show in Cleveland and British Electronica peddlers Leftfield once performed a show at South London’s Brixton Academy that recorded a whopping 137db (so loud it shook chunks of plaster off of the ceiling). To put that in perspective a jet plane taking off from 25 metres is 150db and will cause severe damage to your ears (i.e. eardrum rupture). Wearing hearing protection does not make you a wimp, it makes you smart!
8. Money…It’s A Gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash! There will be cash machines on site but they’ll probably run out of dollar well before you need to use them. Take enough cash to last the weekend but make sure it’s safe.
Bum bags may not be as cool now as they were in the 90’s but they’re great for keeping all your loose change and notes safe in the madding crowd. Just be sure not to take too much, else the temptation to spend it might prove too much to bear. Remember the price of things like tees and food tends to skyrocket at festival stalls.
9. Food & Drink + Utensils
As mentioned food at festival stalls tends to be on the pricey side, so stocking up with quick easy food stuffs is essential. Non-perishables such as dried noodles make a decent meal in the evening and can be cooked up in a mess tin over a disposable BBQ. Oat bars make a good high energy snack to keep you going during the day. An enamel mug is perfect for your morning brew, just don’t forget the teabags!
Be sure to take a water storage container or a hydration pack for the campsite and fill it up regularly. Hydration at festivals is key especially if the weather is hot, or you’re drinking alcohol.
10. Look After Yourself & Others Around You - HAVE FUN IT'S WHAT YOU'RE THERE FOR!
This one is probably the most important of all, we’re all there to have a good time and to make the most of it! Festivals can be places of excess and sometimes that ok. But burning yourself out isn’t! Too much of the nectar of the gods can get you into trouble.
REMEMBER: Drugs are as illegal onsite at festivals, as much as they are anywhere else!
Pharmaceuticals of an illicit nature are more often than not, visible on the festival circuit… we’re not your parents so we won’t tell you what to do, but use caution, (even if you usually indulge) if in doubt as to where it came from, don’t ingest it, and don’t feel pressured into doing anything you’re not comfortable with. Same goes for sex, make sure you protect yourself, even if you think you've met your Mr or Mrs Right! When it comes to both these subjects the best thing you can do is read up on the facts. After all knowledge is power...Arm yourself!
For free confidential advice on drugs visit: www.talktofrank.com and for advice on sex and contraception visit your local family planning clinic. There will be medical centres onsite for anyone who needs assistance or needs to cut back on their partying a little.
Crowds themselves can be a hazard especially for festival virgins.
Crowd surfing can be great fun but it can also be dangerous. Make sure your neighbours are willing (and paying attention) and your shoes aren’t going to brain anyone if you get airborne. If you’re being ‘surfed’ over don’t drop people deliberately; it is most definitely NOT cool and you could cause someone a serious injury!
That giant circle up ahead might look like a giant punch-up to the leman, but it isn’t. Mosh pits are a usual phenomenon and whilst they can be fun to get involved with, they can get particularly violent (especially during heavier acts) so if in doubt stay out.
If you do get in the "pit" then watch out for one another, keep objects that can cause injury to a minimum (i.e. studded belts etc.) and make sure your piercings are secured or removed (getting your nose ring ripped out is going to suck!) Above all don’t deliberately try to hurt people and if people fall down pick them up! It’s not only good "pit etiquette" but you’d like someone to do the same for you right?
Most of the above are frowned on by security, so partake at your own risk!
And that concludes our guide to getting the most out of your experience at Boardmasters.
Have we missed anything? Tell us your top tips below, and we’ll see you in the arena.
Ours is a pint of cider!
The Urban Beach Team.