Essential festival gear you don't want to forget
Dave Taylor identifies the things you'll need to make your next event memorable – for all the right reasons
Thursday 13 May 2010
Headwear is a must. No, we're not talking about those multi-coloured jester hats that turn up all over the place – although, for many people, it seems that the usual rules of fashion are torn asunder no sooner than their weekend wristband is clamped firmly in place. As most festival-goers will probably have spent the majority of the year cooped up indoors, the sudden 24-hour exposure to the elements can inevitably take its toll on their pasty skin. A sun hat is the absolute minimum requirement, although more experienced festival goers are likely to include warmer headwear too for after dark. Headgear can also be pulled down over your face to aid a mid-afternoon catnap – the ideal antidote to a heavy night before.
It's all about layers. Let's face it, your average UK summer conjures up weather conditions that can swing from from a sweltering heatwave to bruising hailstones and back again in under an hour. The secret is to layer up with a T-shirt or vest top, shirt and jumper or jacket – not forgetting those essential waterproofs of course. This will also mean that you don't need to keep stomping back to your tent for an extra layer of clothing throughout the day – very handy, particularly if you're lucky enough to be heading to Glastonbury's 40th birthday, where it takes at least an hour to cross the sprawling site. Better to be prepared rather than missing that once in a lifetime set.
Bring spare clothes. Shorts or shirt skirts are ideal for daywear, but make sure you pack long trousers for when the sun goes down. And take at least one spare pair. If the heavens open (as they surely will) you'll need to change into dry clothes or spend the rest of the day shivering. Likewise, a pair of overtrousers can be a life saver – you can pull them on over underwear when it's lashing it down, should you need to nip to the toilet in the wee small hours. Better than a soggy pair of jeans any day.
Take a small bag. You've lugged your bulging rucksack from car park or bus stop to the little patch of grass that you will call home for the next few days, but you'll still need something to carry around your waterproofs, sunglasses, suncream, camera, booze, water and whatever other creature comforts you simply can't be without from one day to the next. Some of the bigger festivals have started handing out cotton bags when you arrive on site – but it's best not to rely on such a freebie. A simple daysack – or even a reuseable supermarket bag – is ideal. After all, the easiest way to loose your precious things is to cram them into your countless pockets.
Wellingtons or flip flops? Both. If you've got a favourite pair of sandals or trainers it's best to leave them at home (or in the car if you've driven). Festival lore dictates that as soon as you put on your latest boxfresh trainers and head off to watch your favourite band, the rain clouds will gather and your limited edition footwear will never be the same again. Take an older pair, shove some flip flops in for hanging around the campsite and some wellies or boots for when the weather turns sour. High heels should be reserved for the city – unless you bring your own golf kart and your surname's Moss.
Take a lessons from the scouts. You don't have to have been a scout or guide to be prepared. There are some things worth shoving in your bag wherever you are heading this summer. Toilet paper is one – loads of festivals supply it, but best not to be caught short. Spare plastic bags – for waterproofing trainers if it's a washout, sitting on if it's wet, storing dry clothes etc. Gaffer tape – ideal for tent repairs. Cereal bars and nuts – healthy, high fibre treats to keep you going. And wet wipes are essential for an in-tent wash or for wiping excess mud of your boots.
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