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Strange Turn – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Festival.

By Craig Kelly.

Festivals – we all know someone that’s mad for an ‘auld festival or two. Maybe you go to them, maybe you don’t. Or maybe you might be heading to your first?
Either way, here at The Ungraceful Guide there have been many weekends spent in a muddy field enjoying the euphoria of dancing around amongst the rest of the festival goers.

With the beloved Electric Picnic coming up at home, we couldn’t help but think ‘we got this’, surely amongst our vast list of festivals, tours, different cultures and lifestyles we have in fact picked up a thing or two.
BUT – since we’re in Peru (for now), we’ve contacted our man on the ground Craig Kelly for some hints and tips for festival season.

The music, the entertainment, the funky outfits, the mini markets, the out of place Ferris wheels – the excitement of it all. Whether you’re a full time thrill seeker or if it’s your first time being at an event with such an exhausting amount of people, we have got you covered!

Whether it’s over packing, underfunding, or you may have left something at home by mistake, there are always going to be little hits and bumps when you leave home for a few days.

This is where we come in! We’ve come up with a little list of recommendations & tips for you guys if you’ve any worries about something that may happen.

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Home Sweet Home – The Tent:

We know as much as the next about this glorious piece of cloth we call a home for a whole 2/3 days. Your tent is the most important part of the weekend (if you love sleep as much as us). If you’ve never set one up, maybe give it a go a few days beforehand so there’s no fumbling around beside everyone else doing the same thing.

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Things To Bring:

Something that’s always got your back (or your head) – a cushion! Keep comfy, even in a field!

A yoga mat. Why would I be doing yoga at a festival? Well, you wouldn’t be! You lay it on the ground under your sleeping bag!

Sleeping bag. Your best friend in the night – it will keep you warm whilst your head’s spinning after that long day, there with you throughout the night getting you ready to do it all over again.

Black bags! Ah sure there’ll be bins there. Well, keeping a few black bags at your campsite is always handy. Especially if it starts raining and your tent from Dealz starts getting wet at the bottom. Easy job, rip a few black bags down the side and put your tent over them – if your tents not touching the wet ground, your tent won’t get wet. Obviously keep a bag or two for your rubbish (there will be a lot!!)

We really cannot emphasise this next one enough. TOILET ROLL. Unless you want to use the public rolls of course (not recommended).

A few honourable mentions that are big on the personal hygiene list are:

Baby wipes.
Anti-Persprant deodorant.
Dry shampoo.

Wardrobe Overload:

An outfit for when I get there. An outfit for the first night. An outfit for the second day. An outfit for the second night. An outfit for the third day. An outfit for the third night. An outfit for the day home.

Over-packing can lead to a LOT of weight on top of carrying your tent. The only piece of clothing you need to stock up on? SOCKS. A real problem common amongst people who go to festivals is your socks getting destroyed, leading to dirty feetsies.

Realistically, you’re not going to wear most of the clothes you brought because the day is spent wandering and discovering. When you’re packing just ask yourself ‘Am I actually going to get changed this many times?’

A funky hat, a t-shirt, raincoat, jeans (or shorts) and your trusty wellies are all you need! (And funky facepaint.. ALWAYS funky facepaint.

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Quick Tips:

Always put your clothes in plastic bags, separate the clean from the dirty. Basic laundry.

Ponchos are always going to come in handy. You can use them to save your clothes from the rain, OR you can use it as a seat on the ground when you want to sit and relax and enjoy the music or eating.

Which brings us to..


The glorious smell of BBQ and Mammys home cooked goodness first thing in the morning always gets the tummy rumbling. Festivals tend to have a lot of the usual ‘BBQ BURGER & HOTDOG’ stalls, smoking like the Hogwarts Express. If the smell, or smoke is maybe a bit too strong, why not explore the surroundings? 

There is always going to be independent businesses down for the day looking for some cash and notability, almost all of the time your taste buds will be in for a treat. Various styles of cooking, whether it’s Burrito’s you’re into, Lebanese, Thai, and sometimes even pizza. There’s something to satisfy even the of fussiest eaters.

On a budget and don’t want to buy food you won’t actually eat? A good treat if you’re feeling peckish between meals is a box of cereal bars or some nuts.

It always a good idea to have a little rucksack filled with snacks for a quick nibble in between acts.

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Safety First:

Feeling nervous? It’s okay! (You’re not the only one)
As long as whomever you’re going with has a phone with your phone number, you’re gonna be fine! Stick with your buddies and if you (somehow) wind up apart for whatever reason (probably beers or toilet breaks), find a location close and meet up there? It’s all pretty basic guys, as long as you have common sense you’ll be grand sure!

Quick Tips:

Fanny packs, bum bags, tummy money, whatever you want to call them will be your guardian angel. For quick access to your money, these little babies will keep it safe and on your person without the worry of being dipped. (Rare, but c’mon people, sh*t happens, but now you won’t have that worry)

Worrying about leaving some stuff in your tent? Easy, a simple little pad lock will keep your goods safe, and there’ll always be people (like your tent neighbours for example) to look out for any bad carryings on.

It’s a well secured area guys, there’s always security looking out for everyone. There’s always a first aid centre, and trouble is usually a rarity at most festivals we’ve been to. (Oxygen does not get a pass on this one)

Hygene? Bye-gene:

Already something we’ve touched upon, your hygiene is something of a worry when you’re camping in a field for a whole weekend.

But like we’ve said, baby wipes, dry shampoos and antiperspirant deodorant will be your life for the duration.
Most of the time campsites have open showering facilities so as our favourite animated towel says, “Don’t forget to bring a towel!”

But most importantly of all – FUN.
What would be the point of going to a festival and worrying the whole time?
The time spent there is crucial and without time for worrying, so see some real musicians playing banging sets. Go see the entertainment. Go get your face painted. Go and dance the night away. Have fun guys, be safe, have fun more.

Quick Tip:

Already know who you want to see? All you’ve gotta do it write up what time, day, and stage your favourite acts are playing and you’ll know where to go and when.
And for the die hards, laminate that baby. 

So there you go guys, go forth and festival. Have as much fun as possible and don’t forget to party like it’s 1999.


Author Luke

They told me I had to grow up, so I sold everything I own and bought a one way ticket around the world. That's how you adult!

More posts by Luke

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