Tent poles: essential structural component to a night under canvas or increasingly an irrelevance? On the rare occasions that I thought about them, I assumed tent poles were a boring but vital part of the camping experience. But I've recently learnt that, thanks to the Vango AirBeam range of inflatable tents, poles are over. So if you don't want to look hopelessly unfashionable at a festival this summer, the only way is blow up.
Worried you won't be able to locate your airy lair after a few jars in the dance tent? You need the £19.95 Illuminating Tentfinder from handpickedcollection.com. Pop it under your sleeping bag, take its remote control with you and press it to make your temporary home light up like a Christmas tree. And don't forget your must-have festival fashion in the form of Asos's feathered headdress: now with 20 per cent off. I've been made aware of these products and a lot more in the past week, which means one thing: festival season is fast approaching.
Given that, according to the Association of Independent Festivals, the average festival-goer spends £461 on their wild weekends, I can forgive retailers in a tough financial market getting excited about the prospect of selling everything a reveller might need for three days and nights in a sunny/rainy field/car park/stately home's grounds. I only wish such a wide array of equipment had been available the only time I went to Glastonbury: I ended up huddled in a hastily bought crushed velvet kaftan I'd found at a vintage stall in a bid to keep warm, realising too late that my childhood sleeping bag barely reached my chest and that a black bin bag didn't cut the mustard as a make-do cagoule.
If you were to go by the emails piling up in my work inbox promoting festival-related products or those pouring into my personal account trying to flog me everything from wellies to SheWees ("the portable urinating device for women" in case you didn't know), you'd think that 2012 was set to be a bumper year for festivals, but in recent weeks a number of events have bit the dust – the 2012 Sonisphere festival at Knebworth has been cancelled due to the recession, as have smaller events Rough Beats and The Trowbridge Festival. Oxegen and Big Chill aren't happening this year and the next Glastonbury Festival will be in 2013.
So if you are planning to attend any music-filled alfresco events and you're tempted by top-of-the-range tents or mad hats, it might be worth holding back on splashing out (and I'm not talking about the SheWee here) until you know for certain that your favourite festival is actually taking place.