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Are You a First-Time Festivaler? Guide to UK Festivals


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The UK plays host to a vast number of music festivals every year, from early spring right through to late autumn. The festival atmosphere and degree of self-policing that goes on amongst festival-goers makes these events reasonably safe, and therefore popular with young and old music fans alike. If you fancy donning your wellies and breaking out the camping gear for your very first festival, here is what you need to know.

Which Festival?

A quick scan of UK festival guides quickly reveals the diversity of events on offer. Anything from Ska to Folk music is catered for, so initially try picking an event that suits your musical tastes. As a first-timer, a smaller event may be less overwhelming. The large festivals like Glastonbury are set on vast acres of land, with tents pitched as far as the eye can see, and multiple stages showcasing simultaneous big name acts. For those under 18, the Reading or Leeds festivals are a good choice.

Glastonbury festival

Tickets and Transport

Admission to Glastonbury, Leeds, Reading and Newport festivals is becoming ever-more challenging, with space often being booked-up weeks in advance, and strict controls in place to manage numbers and maintain crowd control. If you are intent on going for broke on your first experience, then it may be wise to hook-up with a big-festival regular, who can show you the ropes.

For these, as well as lesser known and smaller festivals, visiting the homepage is generally the best way to secure valid and genuine tickets, at reasonable prices. These sites have often brokered deals with local and national travel providers too, so you may be able to buy your admission, along with your coach or train ticket simultaneously at a discount.

If you are tempted to drive, be aware that parking can be tricky, and you may end up miles from your camping spot. If you plan to celebrate with the consumption of alcohol or fear you may fall foul of dubious narcotic substances, then public transport is definitely the safest choice.

What Stuff Should I Take?

Not too much. You will have to carry it on foot to where you are camping. You will need:

• A tent – pop-up ones are cheap and practical, and are usually sufficiently robust to cope with the odd downpour and windy weather provided you peg them out well

• Sunglasses and wellies – and waterproofs and sun cream. This is the UK – expect the unexpected!

• Hip flask – and a reasonable supply of your own alcohol if you like a tipple. Drinks on-site can break the bank. You will also be thankful for bottled water, to save trekking to the taps across the field

• Toilet Roll and Wet Wipes – you are away for just the weekend, so keeping fresh with the wipes is probably preferable to braving the dodgy or non-existent washing facilities at the festival. The toilets will NOT have paper provided

• A hippy attitude – most festivals still link back to the idea of free spirit, so be prepared to lay back and relax, and leave your uptight-stress-monkey at home

• Bin bags – to keep you dry, and to put wet stuff into, and for all your rubbish of course

General Tips

Common sense is your best friend at a festival, and as long as you keep the following in mind you should have a happy and enjoyable weekend experience:

• Watch out for guy ropes as you are travelling among the tents – a trip-up can be painful and spoil your fun

• Remember where your tent is – use a landmark to remind you

• Be prepared for NO personal space

• Pitch your tent away from the toilets – arrive early for the best spots

Festival toilets

• Keep valuables with you – crime rates tends to be very low but there is always someone out on the scam

• Take a cheap camera – then if you lose it, drop it, or it gets wet or stolen, it won’t be the end of the world

• Don’t take drinks from strangers, and stay in contact with your group of friends – the same safety-sense applies here as on any night out

• Beware of illegal recreational drugs, as the police are vigilant at these events




About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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