I have went to Leeds Festival every single year since 2004 so I like to think I have my festival 'procedures' down to a 'T'. After seeing a few videos and blog posts about festival style and beauty I thought it was time for someone to do a proper guide to a festival and what to expect, along with some recommendations for packing etc. There are only soo many videos/blog posts where the person has waved their hair and bunged in a flower headband and It just isn't a good representation of what to expect or to do. My guide will be mostly referring to Leeds Festival as I have only ever been to two other festivals once and these are Glastonbury, Somerset on a guest pass (which isn't a good representation) and Connect Festival at Inveraray Castle, Scotland.
Setting the festival scene - FIELD. PROBABLY MUD. MAYBE RAIN. PERHAPS A LITTLE BIT OF SUN. DIRT. HANGOVERS. STODGY FOOD. LOUD MUSIC. Expect everything, Don't assume it's going to rain/be sunny/be muddy all weekend (or however long the festival is) or you won't be prepared. Pack for sun, rain and severe cold. The nights are always freezing when you're trying to sleep so bring a thick jumper and some thick socks. Remember your wellies as you will probably end up wearing them the entire time but remember to take some shoes like plimsoles as well (traveling in wellies isn't the most comfortable).
- FIRST WORRY. The hair! How am I going to clean it? Can I wash it there? Should I just put a hat on?
I remember it was my Nana who told me about Batiste Dry Shampoo. Batiste Dry Shampoo wasn't as widely known at that time so when I brought some along to my first festival there was a chorus of 'Ohh whats that? Can I use some?'. The truth is though, this stuff doesn't satisfy my need for clean hair so I don't feel comfortable (I cannot take dirty hair at all and I have to wash it every day. Yeah yeah... Apparently its bad for your hair to wash it everyday. My hairs fine, In fact its in absolutely top notch banging condition so I think it just depends on the person). Since day one, I have also brought a pair of Braun gas powered straighteners. They're not THE best but they've been a life saver in some situations. I couldn't be without them at a festival and you'll find out why a bit further on. I used Batiste Dry Shampoo until 2006 when I just decided 'Bugger this, I'm going to wash my hair' and washed my hair at the camping site sinks. BEST IDEA OF MY FESTIVAL LIFE. I had some hair serum in my wash bag so I bunged some of that in and waited for it to dry naturally making sure I brushed it regularly so it didn't go into a frizzy mess. After it was dry, that's when the straighteners came into play to tame the leftover frizz and shape my fringe. I can imagine that washing your hair at a festival isn't feasible for someone who has the nightmare hair but it's worth a try. You could even put it in a plait until its dry and let it out then tame the frizz with some serum. Even if your hair isn't as perfect as you wished then at least it's clean. I'd rather have a slightly frizzy or messy head of clean hair then a stinking grease ball. I bring Dry Shampoo just in case but I hardly ever use it. Bring a hat for the days where it all goes wrong and it rains. Bring a headscarf to keep your fringe out of your eyes if you need it, to keep the sun off your scalp and to hide under when it rains. You can also sit on it if the grounds a bit dirty!
Freshly washed, dried and straightened.
- SECOND WORRY. Oh My GOD, I'm going to be camping for 3 days. I'm going to stink! Can I wash? Is it worth it?
You can wash at a festival as most of the camping sites have showers. The only time I have showered at a festival was when my friend Sarah and I went to Glastonbury. She was playing Glasto on the John Peel stage and she took me along as her guest. At a result of this we had backstage camping with showers and nice toilets. We showered every day and it was fantastic but I don't think I would in the usual camping situation but the option of showering is there if you need it. My solution is...you guessed it... BABY WIPES. I don't mind a 'baby wipe shower' and my skin always feels lovely by the end of the festival! Obviously bring an antiperspirant and a mini body spray or something similar to keep any bad smells at bay. You can even try out one of those anti antiperspirant's that temporarily reduce the amount you sweat like Driclor.
- THIRD WORRY. I don't know how to put up a tent!!!!
Get the tent out of it package and practice. It seems so obvious for me to say this but you'd be surprised on how many people you see frantically reading the instructions to their tent and struggling to set it up. On the subject of tents, if you're interested, my tent style of choice is dome tent with a porch so you can put your camping chair and wellies in the porch. If 2 of you are sharing a tent buy a 3 man or 4 man tent. A 2 man tent is basically for 1 person as you have to take into account your camping bag.
- FOURTH WORRY. THE TOILETS.
Right, I have quite a strong stomach so I don't really mind them but I know some people can't stand the toilets at a festival.
You'll find two types of toilets:
- Long Drops - These are the outside toilets which are more commonly found in the camping areas. These are the toilets that set people off for moaning and 'ewwing' and there's nothing worse then hearing it. My advice is very blunt - Don't assume there will be toilet roll and remember to bring your own, hover and get it over with. It's just a toilet and you're only there for one purpose. Get it done and get out.
- Portaloo's - These are normally found in the music venue. Don't expect these to be the best option every time. They stink to high heaven on a hot day. You will more likely find some toilet roll in these toilets but again, don't assume there will some.
Important things to remember:
- Hand sanitiser
- Toilet roll
- It's a toilet. Stop moaning and just get on with it.
- FIFTH WORRY. What about make up?
Follow these rules and you can't go wrong:
- Don't bring a high coverage foundation. It'll look cakey on your face under the natural light and it just looks odd. Try a medium coverage or a tinted moisturiser if you can get away with it. Rely on some concealer to correct and not a mask of foundation. It just looks weird.
- Don't bring anything in a glass bottle. If they search your bag on the way in for glass say bye bye to your expensive bottle of Chanel Matlumiere.
- Waterproof mascara is good if you can be bothered to remove it on the night. I normally just bring one which isn't waterproof just so I don't have to fight with removing it later on.
- Keep eyes simple. A full done up eye looks out of place and who frankly has the time? My staple is liquid winged eyeliner or kohl pencil in my waterline.
- Bring a good lip balm. Bring two in fact in case you lose one.
- Remember your eyelash curlers if you want to look awake and alive.
- Bring a blush to make sure you look alive after a night of too many mini bottles of shiraz from the arena bar.
- Bring a lipstick.
- Keep some blotting sheets and a powder compact with you for touch ups.
- SIXTH WORRY. What should I pack? What do I need?
After years and years of packing too much and too little I've finally created a master list which I have been using for the last 4 years.
Here it is:
Chair (or buy when you're there)
Blanket (for the cold nights)
Inflatable air bed and pump (trust me, it's worth it)
Bin bags (for rubbish and dirty clothes)
Socks and tights
1 flannel shirt
2 pairs of pumps/plimsoles
Pack a Mac
First aid kit with plasters, Resolve sachets and painkillers etc
Mini shampoo and conditioner
Small spray bottle for water or facial spray (Good for hot days and nice for when you take your make up off at the end of the day)
Toothbrush and paste
Contacts and Glasses (If you need them)
Straightener and spare cells
Make up bag
Mobile and portable charger (Try ebay)
Purse with money
- SEVENTH WORRY. Should I bring a stove? What about alcohol?
After years of yo yo-ing with whether I should bring a stove or not. My final answer is NO. Don't bother, just save up some extra cash and budget for food. There are a great selection of food vans throughout festivals so you'll be able to find something you like. I do take a few bits of food with me that doesn't require any preparation though for snacks. If you're old enough to drink bring your own alcohol for campsite consumption. Buying from the festival shops is expensive. Leeds festival has a shuttle bus that goes from the site to Asda if you run out of anything. Most festivals will not allow you to take your own alcohol into the music venue and will be confiscated if found. My advice - Don't risk it.
I don't tend to bring soft drinks with me and I normally just buy a couple bottles from the surrounding food vans when I need it.
Food and drink wise I normally take:
Tuna light lunches
FINALLY - HAVE FUN AND STAY SAFE. Try not be split up from your friends and arrange a meeting place for if this does happen.
I hope this is a bit helpful then some of the other posts I have seen so far. Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll try to help you out.