HAVING once set a tent on fire while my friend was inside waiting for me to hurry up with the Cup-A-Soup, it’s been clear for a long time that as much as I love music festivals, they lead me to disaster every time. But I like to think I’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to, and I’m here to share some hard-won lessons.
If you’re a girl, endless Instagram shots of Coachella might have you thinking you ought to be wearing white crochet hotpants and a feathered headdress to festivals this summer. Unless you have zero plans to actually take part in any music watching, and/or enjoy being a total prat, I’d advise against it. I once wore a button-up floral sundress to a Prodigy set at a festival. It was ripped from my body in the mosh pit, leaving me essentially in my underwear.
Then there was the time I headed to Bestival straight after a holiday in Ibiza and decided to take the same bag. I arrived with no less than three types of hair accessory but nothing warm to wear. At one point, I stole a yard of
bunting from a falafel stand so I could wrap it around me like a scarf.
So what should you wear? Music festivals are about entering a parallel universe where the normal rules of society don’t apply. You need to be able to run around all day in comfort without feeling self-conscious. All you really need are sturdy shoes, a bumbag with loads of pockets (yeah, you heard me right) and a supportive bra.
Be prepared to go with the flow. That said, it’s also worth looking where you’re going.At Sziget Festival in Hungary, I ripped my leg open after falling down the gap between two Portaloos, resulting in what I hope was a Tetanus shot from medical staff who spoke no English.
And be careful when getting changed. I once wobbled in from Glastonbury’s Shangri-La and somehow got my hair caught in
the tent zip while trying to climb into my PJs. I had to crouch in my knickers, calling out to my friend until she woke up to rescue me, much to the great delight of the man pitched opposite.
You can take all the baby wipes you like but be prepared to go feral. After last year’s Glastonbury, I lost my voice and had one eye swollen shut by a stye. I sat on the train to Paddington, quite literally encrusted with mud, wolfing down a fried egg bap in a hungover trance. A businessman got on, then quietly got up and changed carriages.
But if you’re not frightening men in suits by the end of it, maybe you’re not doing festivals right.