You may have noticed a comment in yesterday’s post about us not getting Glastonbury Festival tickets, then getting them after all. This has left me probably even more excited about going than if we’d have just got tickets straight away in the Sunday re-sale!
So in celebration of this – and because I’ve been working on my festival packing list (!) and there’s only 55 days to go – I’ve dug out something I wrote after our first trip to the festival in 2009. I’ve tweaked it a bit, but it’s basically a wee sort of advice thing for da ladies…
I’ve just been to Glastonbury Festival for the first time. I hadn’t been camping for about 16 years but was quite confident I’d got it sussed after reading reams of advice on the Internet on festival survival and what to pack. I thought I’d packed a manageable amount of gear, and that everything would get used…
Silly, silly girl!
Best tip for a girl at Glasto, despite all the stuff you’ll read, is DON’T TAKE TOILET ROLLS! There’s nothing worse than a soggy loo roll in the bottom of your day-bag and it will get wet, even if you put it in a plastic bag. Or you’ll drop it – they do tend to become a little hard to control in a confined space after a few ciders… So ditch the loo roles, and just make sure you have an ample supply of those little packs of tissues. Anyway, if you get caught short, free toilet rolls are given out at the many property-lockups on site. Oh, and take a pack of scented wipes to cover your nose with in the whiffier loos – no, don’t laugh, you will be glad of them!
Shampoo? Soap? Conditioner? Shower gel? Forget it. Maybe a little travel bottle of all-purpose stuff, otherwise just little bottles of anti-bacterial gel for your hands, and lots of baby wipes. You won’t want to queue for hours for a shower, or even for a water tap to stick your head under (and thereby annoy all the people queuing behind you waiting to fill their water containers). There are far too many exciting things you could be doing at Glastonbury than washing your hair!
Camping stove? Nah, don’t bother. Ours got used once for a cup of coffee on day two. Much better to get out of the tent and into the festival site for a cup of proper fair trade coffee than fiddle about in the rain for a cup of instant. Oh, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking “We’ll just take a bit with us, because we’ll go back to the car every day to stock up.” Well, if you really want to spend a few hours every day hiking to your car and back, then fine. Otherwise, take everything you’ll need with you when you leave the car – you can always leave stuff in the property lockups if you’re worried about it getting nicked.
Inflatable mattress? Nope. Have you tried moving around in a two-man tent with a double mattress and two people in it? After a night of getting pinged around the tent each time one of us moved, or rolling over and getting stuck between the edge of the mattress and the side of the tent, we deflated ours after the first night and I swear the bedding rolls were more comfortable. Those inflatable mattresses are blummin’ heavy to carry too. [Update: this year we’re taking a bigger tent and a 4-wheeled trolley, so will probably take the mattress…]
Now, clothes. That’s a little more complicated. I’m a trouser person, but after reading girlie advice on the internet I invested in a cheap short skirt, a couple of pairs of leggings and a few pairs of over-knee socks. Money well spent! The shorts and jeans I’d also packed didn’t even make it out the rucksack! Think about it girls – trousers or shorts and portaloos with muddy (and worse!) floors don’t mix very well. Pop your skirt on, the long socks will stop your wellies rubbing, and stick a pair of leggings in your day-bag in case it gets chilly in the evening. Do leave a set of clean clothes in the car so you can get into something clean on the way home, but don’t leave them at the bottom of the boot and pack all your wet gear on top of them when you leave… Top-wise, just take one for each day and one or two spares. You’ll be far too busy doing festival stuff to trek back to your tent to get changed halfway through the day. Waterproof jackets are a must, as long as they pack down to nothing, are light, and cover your skirt. I stuffed a headscarf in my pack at the last minute and ended up using it often to cover my shoulders when the sun got hot, so I’ll do the same next year; much better than having a spare top with sleeves in your bag. A hat is useful, but next time I’ll probably buy one when I get there – there’s loads of choice and prices weren’t too bad at all.
Footwear wise, take wellies, and a pair of flat comfy boots (like army boots or walking boots) and possibly a pair of comfy sandals to slip on in the morning for pottering round your tent. Oh, and make sure your wellies FIT when you’re wearing one pair of thin socks. Mine are slightly large so I can fit thick gardening socks in them, which is all well and good for gardening in the winter, but a bit on the hot side when the sun’s out and you’re doing a lot of walking…
Once of those collapsible water carriers would have been useful – we had one in the car, but decided we wouldn’t need it, doh! Just because your tent is within spitting distance of the water taps doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to get water whenever you want it – there are these things called Queues that always seem to be at their longest when you’re at your most desperate… A torch in your day bag is useful, but only if you’re planning on getting back to your tent before it starts getting light…
The only ‘luxuries’ I’d take again were (possibly) the camping chairs and (definitely!) my gas hair straighteners to cure morning-curly-fringe-syndrome. My make-up bag stayed in my rucksack and won’t be coming with me next time. I’ll maybe invest in one of those camping towels that pack down to next to nothing, just in case I do end up sticking my head in a bucket of water. And leave a towel in the car to dry off with if it’s raining on the long trek back at the end of the festival. Which reminds me – take something waterproof to protect the car seats from wet and muddy bags and bottoms for the return trip, until you find a service station to get changed in.
Oh yes. Do make sure you put your hangover-busting tablets where you can find them quickly in the morning, like the side pocket in your tent… And take sun-cream with you at all times, not forgetting to put it on before you leave the campsite every morning.
Last but not least (for girls anyway), don’t forget that everything you take – even if you don’t use or wear it – will need washing when you get back, especially if you get caught in a storm on the way back to the car. And if that doesn’t convince you take as little as humanly possible, I don’t know what will…
Maybe one or two things in there will prove useful to someone somewhere!
My biggest dilemma at the moment is finding a way to keep my iPhone charged for the duration, without having to waste valuable hours queuing in the Chill ‘n’ Charge tent… I fully intend to tweet and blog from the festival, and maybe do a Crazy Rhymey Challenge or two whilst I’m there… So all ideas would be very welcome!
Update: Thanks to reviews and comments from the helpful folks at the Glastowatch forum I’ve ordered myself an Anker E4 charger – no queuing at the Chill’n’Charge tent for me this year!