Festival season is almost upon us. Eager groups of friends have gathered conspiratorially around laptops for tickets, while piles of tents, wellies, face paints and sleeping bags have begun slowly to amass in the corners of hallways and living rooms across the country. The steady, growing ascent to the crescendo of the mosh pit, the glittering stages and the colourful lights cast across euphoric crowds is tangible at this time of year. But the glamour of festival life simply cannot be without the pragmatism of a good packing list.
Before we take a deep dive into festival must-haves, a brief note on festival must-nots. According to Glastonbury Festival, anything made of glass can be dangerous and is likely to be confiscated (including mirrors and perfume bottles). It also suggests avoiding non-biodegradable body glitter. Non-biodegradable glitter is a damaging source of microplastic and can be dangerous, clogging pipes, hurting animals and even entering the human body. Another environmental no-go is the use of disposable wipes, and yes, even biodegradable wipes! They release greenhouse gases when they decompose, so making them less desirable than their manufacturers might care to admit. The Glastonbury organisers suggest a washcloth and a bar of soap – a much more eco-friendly alternative.
Your packing list needn’t be a chore to compose. Think of it like a more pragmatic, waterproof edit of your daily life…
All the Gear
The least glamorous but most important part of your list is your camping gear. Invest in a good quality tent that gives you a little slice of solace to return to when you need a break or a nap. Equally, a sleeping bag (and a roll mat or blow-up mattress) that keeps you warm will be your best friend when temperatures drop and the dancing stops.
No matter the thought and consideration you’ve put into your festival attire, you’ll feel the benefit of even the least aesthetic rain jacket or a waterproof layer. It’s difficult to dry soggy clothes, especially denim, so make sure your favourite cut-offs are covered and dry for the return of the sunshine.
Prepare to lose any style of footwear beyond a sturdy wellington boot as you trudge through the churned up mud at any festival this year. The beauty of the festival outfit is that it is only elevated by the cool, casual effect of muddy wellies. Think Kate Moss wearing a gold lurex mini dress and battered hunter wellies: the very pinnacle of festival chic.
Beyond the Glastonbury-recommended soap and washcloth, there are some great hacks that keep you (almost) squeaky clean for the duration of a festival. The very first step starts at home. Your last shower should be the best shower you’ve ever had, but more than just savouring each drop of water, make sure you use an exfoliator to remove dead skin to give yourself a headstart. You should also give your hair a thorough wash, using lots of conditioner to ensure it looks its best before you forego any further care and attention for the next couple of days.
In the absence of a shower, dry shampoo and rinse-free cleansers should be your go-tos. Shower gels that don’t require water actually remove grease and grime instead of just masking them, so you can be as clean as they make you feel.
Festival season just isn’t the same without just a few of everyday life’s creature comforts. Make sure you invest in a high-quality portable phone charger to avoid expensive mobile charging at festival charging points. This way, you can rest assured you can contact friends and family and have enough battery life for all those Instagram stories.
For an eco-friendly spin on festival living, bring a reusable water bottle or coffee cup to cut down on waste and remind you to keep hydrated.
Of course, you can’t expect to have the most restful nights at any festival, but there are ways to increase your chances of getting some quality sleep. Using earplugs and an eye mask will help you to summon a semblance of calm for a few hours a night, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy the music and the atmosphere in the morning.