Festival Fables: tragic stories and lessons learned

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Now that summer has arrived, many of you will be preparing for holidays or festivals that you have magically managed to scrape out of your student loan. Well done, you've bossed the financial side of things. But, money aside, tragedy can strike at any moment. I'm certainly not an expert, but here are a few tales and tips that I have picked up along the way to help you survive:

1)    If the festival is in England, do NOT leave your wellies behind: Don't let light nights and short shorts fool you, this is England after all. Summer here consists of rain every other day, a light drizzle leaving you up to your elbows in mud; so if you're dancing around in a field, it'll be messy. Leeds Festival 2016 saw the loss of my favourite ankle boots (R.I.P), August bank holiday weekend being notoriously unlucky with its weather forecast. Luckily I had wellies with me, but they should have been on my feet and not stuffed with underwear and cereal bars at the bottom of a rucksack.

2)    If the festival is abroad, take a hoodie with you: Whilst this may seem like a ridiculous suggestion in countries that can reach temperatures in the high thirties on an average day, let me paint you a picture. Benicàssim 2016: 4am, drunk and exhausted, a nineteen-year old girl is trying to get to sleep. She realises that she should've been prepared, knowing that the campsite is basically located in the mountains, as the wind tries to detach parts of her poorly put up tent. With not a blanket or even a skimpy jumper in sight, she wraps herself in two towels, one damp from her shower and the other covered in sand from the beach, and shivers herself to sleep in a cold wet sand paste. Safe to say, I learnt my lesson, and this year I will definitely be squeezing a warm layer into my suitcase.

3)    Don't get emotionally or financially attached to your tent: Possibly one of the biggest mistakes you can make at a festival is thinking that your tent can come home with you. Last year, my friend’s parents bought us a massive six man tent that had to come back with us. Aside from not being able to assemble it properly and it needing its own suitcase on the plane,  taking it down and getting it back into the bag (or not, in our case) was a very painful experience. After several days of drinking and not sleeping, taking down a tent in scorching heat whilst other holiday makers stroll off to the coach stop, abandoning their ten pound pop up tents, is stressful and upsetting. Buy yourself a cheap tent from Home Bargains and leave it there; if it feels like a waste of money, compare your £2 a night tent to hotel prices.

4)    Bumbags should be at the top of your list: Whilst a lot of bumbags are ugly and remind us of various elderly relatives trying to dictate the family holiday, they are essential. Your personal belongings can't get any safer than strapped to your stomach, which is what you need as festival goers are easy targets for thieves. You might think you're safe with a backpack or your pockets, but jumping around in a crowd with better things on your mind, it really isn't worth the risk. Now is the time to buy them as most high street shops stock bumbags that aren't even a little bit offensive on the eyes. I would suggest shopping in advance; last year I ended up with an emergency one purchased the day before we left. It was so small it could hardly fit my phone and money in, never mind glitter, face jewels or lipstick.

5)    Follow the crowd: It pains most people to be the sheep at a festival but it's probably your most effective method of survival. Individually, most people have no clue what they're doing, whether it's cheaper to buy food on site or take a trip to the supermarket, or which area is best to camp in. But if you investigate and pay attention to what the masses are doing, you'll prevent yourself wasting money on a travel pass that might not be essential or buying an air bed that doesn't fit in your two-man tent; smart people like myself slept on a lilo, floating by day and comfy by night.

So, along with these festival hacks, I wish you happy holidays and give you the standard advice of travelling light and staying safe – apologies if I sound like your mum. Don't forget your sun cream!


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