7 Tips For Your First (or 100th) Music Festival

We are deep in the heart of music festival season. Some have just passed us by (Lollapalooza!), but plenty of others still lay ahead (Bumbershoot, Hopscotch and Afropunk, to name a few).

This summer, I decided to go to my first music festival with some friends. I chose to go to Glastonbury Festival in the UK as a volunteer. Being a festival virgin at Britain’s biggest one, I had no idea what I was getting myself into —but somehow managed to survive. Here are a few tips I wish I’d known ahead of time!

1.  Fanny packs are super useful — just make sure you do up the zips! My fanny pack was my savior, containing the essentials: phone, tissues, money, cards, camera, and, of course, a she-wee. It had everything I needed without the hassle of a big bag. However, as I learned on the first night, if you don’t zip it up, things will fall out. I ended up losing a few things, and the panic is real! Save yourself the heart attack and remember to keep it zipped.


2.  Always, always have an emergency toilet roll. I cannot stress this enough! Usually I have enough with me in my fanny pack, but sometimes you forget to restock and, I don’t know about you, but in desperate times, what do you do? Use half a letter you found at the bottom of your bag?! Let’s not go there. I’m not about to take a whole toilet paper roll around with me, but always bring more than you think you will need.

3.  You can never have too much anti-bacterial hand gel. Festival toilets are not pleasant: You’re going to the bathroom in a literal pit, and then, probably, going to eat. There are “sinks”, but they just don’t cut it, so make sure to have hand sanitizer at all times, ladies! It’s especially handy when your friend accidentally dips her poncho into the toilets after drinking too much and you basically have to bathe her in it.


4.  Rain boot rash is real and could happen to any one of you. At Glastonbury, one moment it’s raining and the next there’s boiling sun, but since it’s always muddy, rain boots are always a necessity. We did not account for the amount of rain boot rash we’d endeavor. Without long socks you are at serious risk, so pack a few extra pairs and maybe a couple of leg warmers for extra protection. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

5.  Always bring a brick phone. Considering I thought I lost my phone on the first night (I’d actually given it to my friend and then ran off somewhere), I was genuinely upset but not too bothered since it was only a 2006 Nokia. Imagine losing your nice new phone! Bring a cheap, old one and disaster averted.

6.  Abide by tent rules or bring your own tent. If you’re sharing a tent, be considerate of your fellow tent mates, especially if it’s their tent that you’re sleeping in. Make rules and follow them. Ours for Glastonbury were: – No vomiting. – No boys. None were broken, but I spent nights out in the fields until the early hours of the morning, and then worried about waking up my tent-mates when I got back. If you’re not up for sharing, bring your own tent.


7.  You can talk to anyone. Everyone is approachable. You can go up to strangers and talk, and they talk back! It’s the most fabulous thing and I love it: Full on conversations with strangers about love and life and stars and why goldfish are called goldfish when they’re usually orange. Returning to normal civilization and having people be nowhere near as friendly and talkative confused me a great deal and saddened me completely. I found myself wanting to talk to strangers on the bus and on the street, and then remembering that it’s just not socially acceptable in the real world. In a festival, anything goes, so make some new BFFs while you can.

I wish more things about festival life were incorporated into my real one, but normal life has the luxury of clean bathrooms and unlimited toilet paper (within reason) so it probably wins. Either way, follow these tips and you’ll have the time of your life at your next music festival!

Alice Lum is an 18 year old student from England. Her favorite pastimes include watching films, long walks, cake, and eating out. She is a massive poncho enthusiast and an aspiring journalist. She loves Twitter but does not understand Instagram. You can follow her on Twitter @Alice_here_yo!
(Images via, via, via, via and Shutterstock)

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