I wouldn’t say I’m a total festival pro, but with 5 Glastonburys under my belt I’ve learnt a bit along the way. So, with festival season truly upon us, and since I have spent most of my weekend sorting and playing with glitter, I thought I would share my definitive list of festival essentials. The word ‘essential’ is to be used loosely; it’s fair to say I’m not one for travelling light. But I’m also not afraid of bugs, mud and fields – in fact they are some of my favourite things, and I rarely feel more at home and at peace with the world than when at a festival. So, without further ado, here is my guide to being comfortable, sparkly, and still ever so easy breezy at a festival this year.
- Tent: It might be harder to carry on arrival but I like a big (ish) tent. For two, it’s nice to have a room you can stand up in, space for a double airbed, and a bit extra for belongings. It’s also nice to have a porch area for wellies, booze, and things of that ilk. As much as I like mud, I’d rather not have my pillow covered in it. A good tent is also an investment; I got my Hi-Tec 5 man tent from Go Outdoors 6 years ago for about £140, and it is still going strong. Things to make sure of are built in groundsheets (no groundsheet, no point), and a decent amount of space between the inner and the outer layer, to avoid leaks. Under normal circumstances, it’s always advisable to put all the guide ropes up and stretch them as far as possible. Depending on how busy the site is, this could just lead to your tent being tripped over and collapsed so less may be more, if it’s not too windy.
- Airbed: So much better than a mat.
- Airbed pump: I buy a cheap one every year as, without fail, every year it is either lost or trodden on. Ebay is the best place for this, and don’t forget lots of spare batteries as it won’t last long.
- Duvet and pillows: A bit prissy, yes, but so much nicer than a sleeping bag.
- Torches: For finding your tent and finding your stuff, in the dark. Depending on how busy the festival is, guide ropes are also an utterly hilarious nightly hazard. I always at some point or another get garrotted by one, and someone in our group usually manages to collapse a tent or two; don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.
- Bin Bags
- Toilet roll
- Plastic backed rug: I got a really nice candy stripe one from Argos for £10. Comfortable sitting even in the mud.
- Food: There is so much lovely food available at festivals that I don’t usually cook, but things like bananas and cereal bars are a good shout.
Make up, cleansing, and wellbeing
- GLITTER: A girl can never have too much!! Sequins, gems, bindis, glitter liner and loose glitter powder in large quanitities will all be going in my make-up bag. I am also very excited about my bridal style bindi, another Ebay find. I apply loose glitter by creating a base with any clear lip balm (a Chapstick or vaseline will do, it will be covered in glitter and unusable by the end of the weekend), and then pat the glitter on with an eyeshadow brush. Sometimes it takes a few sweeps – if in doubt just add more! Eyelash glue is the best for sticking sequins and gems.
Make-up: With all that glitter going on I either keep my eyes simple, or match shadow with glitter. Rimmel Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner in Black is an essential. I’ll also be taking a nice selection of moisturising lipsticks. Long lasting is good, yes, but I won’t be thanking it when I haphazardly paint my chin with it. I’m also prone to dry lips so long lasting is a bit of a hazard for me. I’m currently loving Benefit Hydra-smooth lip colour in Fling Thing.
- Face wipes
- Baby wipes
- An empty spray bottle: For filling up with water when you arrive. Stand in the porch of your tent and, hey presto, you can have a spray bottle shower! One coat of sprays, soap, another coat of sprays, rinse. I feel like I personally invented this, although possibly just in my own head. You feel so much cleaner than with a baby wipes wash!
- Dry shampoo: I like a normal one for freshening up, and the volumising one for making my hair slightly less stuck to my head. I have very fine hair that doesn’t generally play ball in the volume stakes so my best bet is to spray, toussle and hope for the best. I won’t be washing my hair. But if you want to, then a bikini, your friend, and a 2 litre bottle will suffice for this.
- Hand sanitiser
- Hand cream
It’s all about layers layers layers! During the day, hopefully, it will be hot, so I like to take full advantage of the opportunity to wear floaty boho playsuits, tiny denim shorts, crop / bikini tops and of course, many options of kimono. I am taking 5 to SGP this year, and yes I realise that in 2 out of 2 blog posts they have featured. There is a hole and I’m trying to fill it up with kimonos. You can read how I made a tie dye one in my last post.
Under normal circumstances it may be freezing walking around outside at 2am, but in crowds of people, with a blanket of alcohol to keep you toasty, that huge thick hoodie suddenly becomes both heavy and hot – I like cute jumpers and cardigans instead, layered up for warmth with my pac-a-mac; this way the rain won’t catch you either! Beware, however, the term ‘waterproof’, it is often deceiving. If you have a fashion waterproof, the chances are it isn’t really so. Do not make the mistake as I did of leaving my sturdy, reliable (but not quite as cute) North Face jacket miles away in the car at Glastonbury, believing in the beautiful Khaki ‘waterproof’ mac I had just bought from Warehouse. I was wet and the walk was long.
Leggings are essential for putting underneath shorts and skirts etc when it gets colder, as are lots of pairs of long socks. I’ll also be taking a few beautiful hats (trying my best not to sit on them), and a bikini, not because I plan on walking round in a full bikini, but because they are handy for the spray bottle shower.
Ever the optimist, I also like to take a few footwear options. Along with wellies, I usually pack a pair of ankle boots (my last season’s Topshops are perfect, and since they’re getting on a bit I won’t feel sad when they get covered in mud), and a pair of sturdy leather sandals.
I hope you found this post useful – see you at a festival soon! I’ll be wine in hand looking for the sunset xx xx