This was my first festival experience, and I only held back because I was genuinely quite scared about going. I had no idea what to expect, from camping, toilets, water, alcohol, the people, to how the arena was set up and all that jazz. Every festival is different, and so are the experiences!
Now I am a food blogger, so I won't go into a vast amount of detail about the above. The key items to take to a festival:
- Your own toilet roll, even into the arena. The first day of the arena opening and all is well. Day 2 onwards, not so much. Don't get caught with yer pants around yer ankles shouting for toilet roll!
- Plenty of bottled water. We left a 6 pack of water in my car, thinking "we can just refill at the water point". If you're Scottish, then don't expect the amazing fresh spring water we have. It's chemically infused hard water, ideal for brushing your teeth or rinsing away muck. Only ingest as part of an emergency!
- Sanitising hand gel & wipes. The toilets don't have sinks, and are commonly referred to as "shit pits". Take what you need from that and make sure you clean your hands as often as possible - ESPECIALLY before eating!
- Warm jammies. Even though it was blisteringly hot during the day, it can get chilly at night time!
- An air bed. The ground was rock hard, so much so that we struggled to pitch the tent. Maybe not all festivals are like this, but if you are sleeping for 5 days on hard ground you could do some damage to that temple of yours.
- Decent footwear that ISN'T new. Picture a dusty/boggy field that you will stand in for about 8 hours a day. Converse, yes. Wellies are a must have. Carvela wedges, definitely not.
What I was concerned about was what food to take to the tent. We all know that festival food is going to be expensive, stodgy and amazing when you're drunk (which can only mean that it's terrible for you). I've made a list of things we did take, and learned we should've taken, after 5 days of slumming it.
The cereal bar is highly under-rated. When you wake up with a groggy head, feeling like there's a boulder in your stomach and the thought of drinking again makes you want to curl up into the foetal position, these are actually pretty great. The three above were the ones we decided to take down with us; light and easy to digest.
You don't want to overload yourself with sugary foods, as the crash after alcohol & too much sugar will be horrendous. Crisps, popcorn, breadsticks, crackers, nuts and all that kind of food is much better to snack on too, instead of a constant flow of biscuits. I learned this one the hard way.
Bagels, Breads & Spreads
This is food I wish we had taken. Bagels & bread don't need to be kept in a fridge, so if you know the weather isn't going to be that warm then they can stay at room temperature for a couple of days. We were going to take a cool box, but basically didn't. Taking a cool box filled with ice packs allows you to take sandwich fillings, bread, milk and all sorts. We had about a 7 hour drive, so it maybe wouldn't have lasted more than our first day, but if you aren't travelling as long then I would recommend it. You could even take sausages, rolls and burgers and have a barbecue on your first day! (Just remember and buy a disposable barbecue).
I had an amazing time at Reading, and I've realised how much I've missed out on by skipping festivals! If you ever get the chance, you should really go for it.