How to survive camping at a music festival

Whether you’re packing or partying, there’s a lot to think about when camping at a music festival. Take our advice for surviving your next music festival (image source: Lara Pacillo)

By Lara Pacillo| 

As someone who internally gagged at the idea of camping to then getting my hands dirty for both Falls Music Festival and Beyond The Valley, there are definitely a few lessons I’ve learnt along the way.

Whether you’re packing or partying, there’s a lot to think about when camping at a music festival.

However, if I can do it, anyone can. If the recent New Year’s Eve festivals have made you keen to give it a go, here are some tips to make your life a little easier.

1. Bring a form of shelter

If you drive up to the festival gates without a gazebo or some type of shelter, turn the car back around and go home.

A gazebo is a must, and I cannot stress this enough. Whether it’s set to be perfectly sunny or pouring with rain, you need reliable shelter to keep you cool, covered and comfortable.

Seeing our neighbours unfold their camping chairs in the open sun on a sweltering 40°C day was painful to watch.

Speaking of camping chairs, make sure you bring one of those for yourself too. Don’t be that person that forgot one and tries to sneak into their friends’ every time they get up.

2. Have a reliable light source

Our very same neighbours who didn’t bring a gazebo also tried to set up their tent at night in the dark. Don’t be like our neighbours.

Make sure you remember to bring a flashlight or lantern with some spare batteries too. 

3. Base your outfits on the weather, but be ready for anything

Back to the weather topic, have a look at what you should expect and dress accordingly.

However, be prepared for cold weather, especially because it is almost always guaranteed to get chilly at night even if it’s a scorching day.

I recommend bringing options and packing at least one very warm jacket; that way you can throw it over your daytime outfit and you’re good to go.

4. Bring appropriate food

So, you’re surfing the supermarket shelves with your friends.

You’re feeling silly and excitement is high for the awesome few days you have planned ahead. Suddenly, you get to the checkout with a trolley full of lollies, chips and chocolate; your mother would be shaking her head, and there’s a reason why.

While these sugary treats are fun, you should be bringing real food that can keep you grooving all day long.

I’m not saying don’t bring these snacks at all, but just make sure you have some food that keeps well and is going to sustain you for your busy, energy-draining schedule.

Think sliced bread and peanut butter, snack bars and canned meals. Bananas, apples and carrots are great too for healthy snacks. Also, lots of water is essential.

5. Don’t be stingy when it comes to your phone 

Depending on what festival you go to and what sort of camping ticket you have, it is likely that your site will not be powered.

That means no power outlet for your phone charger (gasp!).

I’ve heard stories of festivalgoers who decided to be spontaneous and not bring chargers at all.

Personally, I think there is a time and place to have this mindset and this situation, in particular, is not it.

It’s very easy to lose your mates, especially in the crowded festival itself and very hard to find them with a flat phone.

Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry if this were to happen. Bring a portable charger and bring a good one.

Fork out a little extra for a high quality one that will last — it will be worth it in the long run.

Be sure to find out if your phone provider has coverage in the location of your festival and if not, buy a prepaid sim from a provider that does have service in that area.

6. Don’t forget toiletries

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: don’t forget toiletries!

I don’t just mean a toothbrush and toothpaste; I’m talking baby wipes to keep you fresh, sunscreen for protection, even thongs for the shower if you manage to have one.

And quietly, don’t take toilet paper for granted. It’s a treasured rarity you’ll be lucky to find if your experience is anything like mine. 

7. Bring along a speaker or two

When you’re not at the festival, it is more than likely that you will be hanging with your mates at your gazebo.

Whether you’re getting rowdy or having a nap, it’s always a good idea to have a speaker handy.

Soundtrack the vibes and keep the crew entertained with known tunes and fun playlists.

8. It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Pace yourself.

It’s important to be realistic and plan which acts you want to see and who you are willing to miss.

Most camping festivals have acts playing all day, every day and on multiple stages. It’s a lot to take in.

Take breaks and listen to your body. If you’re planning on drinking, be smart and don’t overdo it.

The last thing you want is to miss your favourite band because you drank a little too much. 

9. Be mindful of your waste

My final tip is tidy up after yourself. Once the festivities come to an end, be mindful and avoid contributing to the harmful wasteland that often results from music festivals.

Please clean up your rubbish and items and dispose of them appropriately because your waste is your responsibility. 

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