The UK festival survival guide: 11 things you need to know before going to any festival

Whether you’re a seasoned festival-goer who has boho-babe style down to a T, or the one who always has all their mates cringing because you only pack the loudest Hawaiian shirts, it’s safe to say everyone can benefit from a UK festival survival guide. So, that’s exactly what we’ve put together! From ponchos fashioned out of bin bags to top tips for weaving your way to the front of the crowd, here’s 11 things everyone going to a festival needs to know. After all, we only want you to have the best time ever.

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    It’s not always all about the main stage

    Of course we all love seeing the big name acts, but there’s so much more to festivals than that, so do your research and take some time to branch away from the main stage. Voyage over to other areas and all the separate stages on the outskirts where you’ll often find performances from comedians, music from up-and-coming artists and huge dance arenas, all of which we’re sure you won’t want to miss. Our top suggestion? Simply wander – many of the best festival experiences can be found where you least expect them.

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    You’ll use bin bags for anything and everything

    Bin bags (yes really!). You’ll be surprised at just how much use you will get out of them whilst at a festival. Whether you’ve been singing in the rain and (*rolls eyes*) have gotten soaked from head-to-toe, or your tent has sprung a leak out of absolutely nowhere, bin bags really will be your saviour! Perfect for fashioning into a poncho, covering tents and creating makeshift wellies, they’re a must! If you don’t pack any, you’ll be sure to regret it.

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    Dry shampoo is a lifesaver

    Well deserving of an entire category of its own, let’s face it, dry shampoo’s a lifesaver for guys and girls with long locks. After days and days of partying outdoors in hot (ish) weather with limited access to showers, your hair is going to be greasy, but we’ve got the answer. Simply give your hair a spritz when it starts smelling a bit funky and looking a bit flat, and boom, it will look and feel ten times fresher. A travel-sized can of dry shampoo is all you’ll need, and it’s perfect for minimalist festival packing too!

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    Find the balance between boho-babe and practical princess

    Girls, we get it, you all want to achieve that classic, boho-babe festival look – and who wouldn’t? It’s great strutting your stuff looking like Kate Moss. Well, that is until you’re squelching through mud in high heels. Instead, find the perfect balance between fashion and practicality (because in all honesty, climbing out of a jumpsuit in a portaloo is just a recipe for disaster), by dressing for all kinds of weather. Oh and sunscreen, remember to bring plenty of sunscreen.

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    Drink water, water… and more water

    Your body is 70% water, so make sure you keep hydrated! More and more festivals are prioritising providing party-goers with access to fresh water. This includes Glastonbury, who have teamed up with WaterAid. Fun fact – the festival has over 400 drinking water taps and 150 hand basins located around the site. And don’t worry, you’ll be getting the same quality water as you drink at home – Glastonbury do things properly. So, save the pennies and bring along a few reusable water bottles. Because when it’s free to fill up, you might as well, don’t you think?

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    Bring ear plugs and get a good night’s sleep

    They may not be the first item that springs to mind when choosing what to take to a festival, but ear plugs are a necessity! Whether the music’s blasting and you’re stood opposite the speakers, your mate Dave is snoring like a pig (cheers, Dave) or your tent neighbours are still up partying at 5am, you’ll be glad to shut the world off – even if it is for all of 10 minutes!

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    Pack a portable charger

    So you’ve pushed your way to the front of the crowd and are just about to get a selfie with your favourite band in the background (yay!)… when your phone runs out of power. #Heartbroken. That’s why a portable charger is an absolute festival must-have for those sudden 10%, red-bar battery moments. Top tip: you can also save battery (and a ton of data) by turning your phone on aeroplane mode too.

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    Get to the front of the crowd by going around the side of the stage

    Skip barging past hundreds and hundreds of people to get to the front of the crowd and use the pincer movement (yes, it does indeed have its own name). This is where you go via the side of the stage and then work and weave your way forwards. Or, if mimicking the movements of a crab is not really your style, here’s an alternative. Just tackle the crowds head on, simply put on your best worried face and say you’ve lost one of your friends. It works… but you didn’t hear that from us. 😉

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    Pack a game or two

    It may come as a bit of a surprise, but in between all that drinking, dancing, and all-round partying, you’ll actually have a fair bit of spare time on your hands. So unless you’re wandering about (see tip number two), we’d recommend bringing a game or two. Whether it’s a funny card game or a Monopoly marathon, whatever you choose to pass the time is sure to be a great way to make friends with your tent neighbours.

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    Choose your camping spot strategically

    … because no-one wants to be sleeping right beside a footpath or in front of a portaloo! You could even solve this problem altogether by booking a pre-pitched tent. Check out the options available at We Are Fstvl – they’re offering camping for the very first time and are going all out. From boutique and pre-pitched options to booking a spot where you can still pitch your own tent, there’s no question that you’ll be camping in style. Plus, as a camper, you’ll get access to all the exclusive activities and events too. These include Giant Pillow Fights, a Blowdry Bar and the legendary We Are House Party. All sound incredibly fun, don’t you think?

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    Mark your territory

    Whether you tie a bright balloon to the top of your tent, get creative with bunting or simply use one of your many bin bags (see tip three) as a flag and decorate it with glittery makeup (another festival must-have), make sure your tent is noticeable. After all, no-one wants to get lost in an endless sea of tents at 1am. Or worse, stumbling inside your tent and soon discovering it’s not actually your tent…

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So, how about that for a UK festival survival guide? Let us know which festivals you’ll be applying our tips at this year by tweeting @NationalExpress. And remember, you don’t need to stress about your travel either, as our coaches drop you right outside the gates. Great, right?!