Friday, 3 August 2012

Virgins and Veterans; A Leeds' Festival Check List

Due to the nature of my residence, I am of the lucky people who reside in the village that hosts the amazing festival that is Leeds' Festival. And because of this I have been to the festival every single year since 2009, however my mum was not silly enough to let me camp then but I have camped for the last two years, making this my third. For anybody wondering my favorite place to camp is yellow campsite, I always feel it's the safest and it is known to be the nicest plus we have the best campsite DJ going, most who are fellow Leeds' residents so what's not to love. Because I live so close to the festival I know exactly what's happening right now in terms of the festival coming together so for your update (which is sure to make you very excited) right now I know that the tents/stages are in process of being put up, the campsites and marked, fenced and flagposted and all the road signs are taking over the idellyic country side and main stage is in the first stages of being built! I personally have ready started collecting my much needed items for the festival but I know for all you Leeds virgins that this process can be a little daunting. You may be stressing on what you need so that's exactly what this post is all about, well that and what you don't need and what I seriously suggest you consider taking with you as well.

*Although this list is customised to Leeds' festival, it is similar to any other festival although you should check with your festival on limitations on certain items like gazebos and BBQ's.*
  • Tents? - Firstly you'll obviously need your  standard camping stuff for your little house for the extended weekend. A standard tent is clearly a must, although I always suggest you take a bigger one than you need. I'm camping in my tent alone, need my space, but I'm still taking a three-man tent just because when you have your rucksack of clothes, your booze, food, camping chair etc it can be a bit of a squeeze in a smaller tent. I always suggest a two man or three. Though don't be silly and buy a pricey tent because it's most likely you'll want to dump it at the end of the weekend since they get pretty grotty, check out shops like Asda, Tesco and Home Bargains where you can pick up a good quality three man for around £15/£20 that will last the festival but you won't be devastated if its too nasty to bring home. When buying a tent trying pick one with a zip-up porch, it just makes life that little easier especially if it's muddy because it's a great place to leave your muddy wellies so everything inside your tent isn't covered in mud and the zip up ones means you'll be happier about leaving stuff outside because it's not on full display of the drunken public. Also make sure you practice putting your tent up before the festival because there's nothing worse than being that random person who is struggling with there tent when everyone else is off getting drunk. Also remember to take extra pegs for your tent because they always seem to go walk about when your putting the tent up.
  • Airbeds, roll mats and lilos? - Sleeping wise, I personally don't recommend taking an air bed. It's just extra stuff you have to haul in all the way to the camp and if your not in yellow which is close to the gate a trek to orange or red with an air bed plus a pump plus everything else you have with you isn't fun! A festival isn't glamping in the slightest but it's only a few days, just man up. If you really need an airbed take a pool inflatable like a lilo, a friend of my did this back a year or two and it was seriously one of the best ideas ever. Poundland lilo beds are the way forward! Otherwise a roll mat/yoga matt is your best option just to give you that extra bit of comfort when sleeping so you can't feel the ground in your back. 
  • Sleeping bags and blankets? -Sleeping bag wise, obviously cheep and cheerful does the job - chances are you won't be in it that much anyways but do be careful regarding thickness because yes, when you do go to sleep you will be cold but regardless of the weather outside in the morning, it will be bloody hot and sweaty in your tent! That's why I suggest a plain blanket along with a regular thickness of sleeping bag is your best bet. A pillow never goes a miss either though when you're as drunk as the native fest'ers usually are clothes do the job too.
  • Chairs and gazebos? - If your camping in a group it's always a good idea to all take camping chairs with you and when you lay your tents place then in a circle leaving a gap in the middle, perfect for your chairs and a camp fire. Look for one with a cup holder as well because then at least you don't have to hold onto a can all night.  Also a great buy for groups is a gazebo, last year when it rained every camp with a gazebo seemed to double in size and the main camp seemed to double in drunkness (it's a fair trade). Plus they just make a perfect area to meet up with friends, sit and relax and stay dry while getting drunk. Defiantly a top buy on my list especially since Leeds is one of the few festivals that allow them. But do be careful when buying these babies since they can be pretty pricey and they're not all that great sometimes, take my camps last year. Me and my friend Ellie tried to put it up and after an hour we finally succeeded before a gust of wind managed to snap four metals poles in is that even possible? Worst £15 ever! But this year me and my friends have split a pricey £25 one between us which is very strong and sturdy as it was reduced from £50. Yes £25 is a fair bit of money, epically when we'll most likely leave but between our smaller camp of six, that's only a little over £4 each which works out at less than a pound a day which is fab (especially if we make it back by charging people to sit under it in the rain). The sales are your friends so look out for good quality but reasonably priced gazebos. And do give your gazebo a test run, wish I had done last year...
*I am only posting at few essential clothing items since I will be doing a festival look book later this week.*
  • Raincoats and waterproofs? - A must for British festivals, you never know what’s going to happen with the weather. Last year I stupidly forgot my waterproof mac in a bag on the day it rained... I was soaked and soggy for the rest of the day, I just wanted to go home so make sure you have yours with you regardless of the weather forecast. While there is places to buy festival ponchos there, they can be thin, poorly made and very pricey. So take your own, Primark have them for cheap and they last too! 
  • Wellies? - A neccisity as well as a festival fashion must. Regardless of the weather most people just live in their wellies but regardless take a cheap pair of shoes to wear just incase its muddy and you can't be bothered putting on your wellies to walk from your chair to your tent just to take them off again when you get in your tent. But if it is muddy wellies will be your best friends especially since you'll ruin any shoes you take with you.
  • Sunglasses? - Keep your eyes happy and look stylish while doing it. Regardless of the weather the majority of people will be wearing them plus they're great for sunny days when the outdoor stages like main can leave you blind as you try to watch.
  • Hats and headgear? - Caps, beanies, fedoras, boating hats, floral laurels and even native American headdresses are always a great way to dress up any festival outfit plus depending on the weather, they can be super handy to have. 
  • Clothes? - Obviously you'll need as many clothes as you can fit in your rucksack but keep in mind the festival favourites; shorts, knee high socks, band tees, leggings, summer dresses and crop tops.   
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste? - You can get those little finger toothbrushes now, which are really handy for saving space and are disposable too. But make sure you don't forget one regardless of the size because you are going to need it, nobody wants cider breath (ew).  It you’re going in a big group, it might make sense to just share things like toothpaste, to save everyone bringing it.
  • Deodorant, hair brush, comb? - Self explanatory. Plus nobody in a crowd wants to smell your BO!
  • Dry shampoo, shampoo, conditioner? -Shampoo and conditioner seem a bit silly to me due to the fact the showers on site aren't fab plus are bloody cold! Dry shampoo is all you need for your hair that weekend. But soap doesn't go a miss just in case you do get a shower though the mass opt for a wet wipe shower because it's easier and warmer, surprisingly.
  • Make-up, remover and perfume? - You'll most likely be taking your make-up with you just make to semi-decent (remember it's a festival not London fashion week) and perfume but make sure you don't take any glass bottles since you will be forced to bin the on bag check. That's the last thing you want is having to dump a full bottle of expensive foundation because it's in a glass container. And if you're bringing make-up, then remover has to come too.
  • Face wipes, wet wipes, tissues?- Aka make-up/mud/face paint  remover, portable showers, loo roll.
  • A small mirror?- Make-up/face paint application aid or a mud remover aid.
  • Contraception?- It's better to be safe than sorry with a bun in the oven...
  • Paracetamol- The morning after might be a long way away now, but you’ll be thankful for packing them but just remember before starting to drink again that while their in your system it is dangerous for your health.  
  • Pro-plus/energy tables - Great for when you sleepy and need a pick up but also good when mixed with booze on a night to give you that extra kick.
  • Suntan loation and insect spray – Regardless of the weather forecast before hand take both of these with you in case we get a famous Leed's fest mood change in the weather - downpour to heatwave... it's happened before.
  • Camera? - You'll obviously want to take your camera so if you're opting for digital then make sure you’ve strap for it, as they’re easy to drop and lose in crowds. Remeber to charge it before you go and put a memory card in it so you have lots of space to caputre everymoment. Disposable ones are great too. Cheap to buy and wouldn't be too heartbreaking if you lost it, apart from your poor pictures being lost though
  • Phone? - Fully charged and primed with all your friends’ numbers is a must. I strongly advise you take some cheap brick of a phone rather than your iphone/blackberry/htc - yes you won't be able to instagram or tweet but at least you won't lose or break you beloved phone like so many other do. Plus older phones tend to have better battery life but even so it’s likely to run out if you use it a lot, so try and stick to texts, leave it switched off while you sleep and buy an extra battery which you can switch into the phone when the first is dead because there's nothing worse than not being able to get in contact with other people due to a dead battery. Although if you're lucky enough to be on Vodafone take your charger because they often have a charging point for Vodafone users to charge up for free.
  • Torch – Navigating back to your tent after an entire day of drinking is likely to end in disaster without light as is it essential for fiddling about in your tent at night, as you desperately try to take off your make-up and get into your sleeping bag.
  • Bin liners - An essential item! Take them to areas to sit on during a gig if the ground is dirty, to put your rubbish in in your camp, to keep your dirties separate and to tie around muddy wellies for the way home. They also come in handy for a make-shift poncho if the rain catches you off guard. 
  • Money - Your going to need money with you, even if you take everything you think you could need. I always take a bit extra because Oxfam's fur coat sale is my favourite thing ever! Plus got to take a little for cute impulse buys of jewerly, hats or the must have festival buy like last years animal hats and the year before flower headbands. And a little more for food because regardless of what you take you'll want to buy something... it's usually a cuppa, stone bake pizza, ostrich burgers or soup and a roll for me.
  • Lights and matches - I'm not sure whether you can even take matches into the festival, I have never tried but lighters are a must! Whether for lighting up a cancer stick, a BBQ, firewood or waving in the air at a gig. You can get some really cute ones at poundland for a pound (obviously) with polka dots on, aw cute!
  • Gaffa tape – hole in the side of your tent, wellies dropping to bits or you just want to shut up an annoying camp mate... tape is good. 
  •  Cutlery and cups - unless you eating out of tins, using a sausage roll as a spoon, you’ll  some sort of plastic cutlery which you can dump after using. Cups are also a must for mixing any spirits you take too.
  • BBQ's -At Leeds' you can only take those disposable BBQ's in for health and safety reasons, no gas camping stoves allowed. Personally I don't bother, If I want a burger that bad I'll fork out the extra £4 to have it cooked for me in a second rather than wait for the charcoal to catch alight. 
  • Blankets –That blanket I said was so great for an easy extra layer in bed is also fab for a number of other reasons like a picnic rug, a sunbathing blanket or to cover your knees when your sat around the fire.
  • Food - Make sure you have lots of snacky things because they are easy to carry and you can bring lots of options. Food I always take are things like pringles, chocolate spread (in a plastic container remember), mini pain au chocolats, sausage rolls etc. Don't bring anything that will go off in the heat of the sun or your tent though, last thing you want is to get sick.
  • Drink - Obviously you'll have your booze, mostly likely cider like because it's cheap and cheerful plus perfect day drinking material for festivals. But you may be also opting to take a spirit for the night in which case also remember mixers for these but a handy hit is to take smaller bottles of mixers so you're not forced to drink flat coke for the entire weekend. Also remember day drinks like juice and coke etc as well as water. Take lots of water, not only to wash out all the gross toxins from the booze the night before but also because nothing is worse than having dry mouth in the morning when your hanging and your only option to quench your first is left over vodka and coke.
 Here are a few things that you need to remember when it comes to Leed's fest, please pay extra attention to this section. 
  • Remember that glass bottles and containers aren't allowed in the festival at all, not even the campsites so transfer anything into a plastic bottle whether that's your vodka or chocolate spread otherwise you'll be forced to dump it!
  • Remember alcohol is not allowed into the arena (want you to buy it inside don't they) so sneak a hip flask into your bra because girls with class drink from a flask!
  • Remember do not drop anything down the loo! We don't need another poo girl thanks.
  • Remember to keep a look out for the welfare tent, its open 24 hours and looks after those of you who can't handle the booze... plus if you say you've been sick you get free hot chocolate!
  • Remember not to camp too close to the toilets, a change in wind direction can make all the difference, ew!
  • Remember to keep all valuables well hidden in the bottom of your rucksack and behind your head when your sleeping.
  • Remember buy everything on the cheap because you don't know what will end up on the campfire when your friends are drunk.
  • Remember Salvation Army's soup and roll for a pound is a total Godsend!
  • Remember be safe, be happy and have a bloody good time!
Are you heading to Leeds Festival? What's your favourite Festival?
Let me know in the comments below. 

1 comment

  1. Such a great blog! Just bookmarked it:) I finish my blogs survival guide to festivals this week. Catch you at Leeds fest!


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