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The Festival Essentials

Published: 8 Jun 15, 02:36pm  |  Author: Pembroke Tenneson

Festival season has begun. Do you know your shewees from your tipis? Our guide gives you the lowdown.

In the joyful apocalyptic chaos that most festivals become after a few hours, some essential equipment can mean the difference between having the time of your life and wishing for the sweet comforts of civilisation.


It's going to be amazing - but...

You’re about to have the time of your life, but remember that it’s not going to be comfortable. The best you can do is to make it bearable - and with the right stuff, that’s not hard at all. 

Sunday afternoon at the Pyramid by Paul Holloway

First, establish your goals. You need to travel light so prioritise your packing based on what you need to do. Drinking or chilling at the tent? Bring booze. On your feet all day seeing acts? Bring a fold-out chair, a hat and sunscreen. If you’re raving it up at the club tents into the early hours, pack your glow sticks and neon facepaint. 

Festival colours by Gianluca Ramalho Misiti

Be prepared.

It’s war out there. Pack first aid supplies in case of disaster (a muddy field of unwashed revellers isn’t the best place to get a bad cut) but most of all, pack some off-the-shelf supermarket drugs. When you wake up in a hot tent with a headache, aspirin is going to feel like a kiss from the Muse herself.

Aspirin by Bayer

If you’re not packing light, take a trolley - heaving two crates of beer, spirits and a box of wine on your pack isn’t much fun, especially when the boxes break, as they inevitably will. We’ve learned this from experience. Sweaty, frustrating experience. 

You don’t want to carry all these in by hand.

On a serious note, water and sunscreen will keep you alive and protected. Bring a hat. Eat crisps to replenish your electrolytes - you’re going to pee a lot of away what with the constant drinking (we make no judgements here - drinking lots of water also depletes your electrolytes). Drink plenty of water!

Ridiculous Sunglasses by Egan Snow

It can get hot out there. Sunscreen up!

Maybe we’re making some unfair assumptions about you, festival-goer. Let’s keep it simple from here on out.

The absolute must-haves:

Gaffer tape. It can fix the hole in your tent the neighbours made last night, or hold your dying rucksack together. Use it to prank your sleeping friends.

Loo roll. Or if you like to travel business class, consider wet wipes instead. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. While we’re on the subject of loo visits, ladies, consider a she-pee. It’s a plastic funnel that lets you pee standing up and avoid sitting on a nasty festival loo. It’s also strangely liberating.

Unfamiliar but convenient.


A really big water bottle - five litres should do the trick. Fill it up after you arrive so you don’t have to schlep in all that weight, and you can use it for a quick shower if you’re feeling grubby.

Spare phone charger. By your third day at the festival, your phone will be limping along at 10% battery even if you’ve carefully switched it off when not using it. Cease your worrying and do it yourself with a hand-powered charger.

Poncho. They’re light and can be rolled up tight for quick emergency rain shelter. Sit on them if it’s sunny.

Proper boots. Sturdy timberland-types will do, but wellies are preferred. Wear high, comfy socks to stop chafing.

Hand sanitiser and dry shampoo.

Earplugs or headphones for sleeping. Festivals are crazy noisy (if you are surprised by this, maybe you should donate your ticket to a friend. Like us).

And if you’re a bit mad:

  • Glow in the dark toilet paper. Easy-to-find and freaks out the next person to use the loo.
  • Umbrella hat. Trendy and practical!
  • Battery-powered shower, if you can’t leave civilisation behind.
  • Vuvuzela, for making friends.
  • Rowboat, in case of flash floods. You never know...



Thanks to Seb Flyte, Egan Snow, GRMisiti, hubbers, Bayer AG and Wikipedia for their images.


About Pembroke Tenneson

Pembroke is a singer-songwriter, copywriter and editor. His first loves are music and words.

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