We dug into the archives to give you the low-down on some of the UK’s most iconic music venues.
We truly love music festivals.
The pure joy of leaving all your worries behind you and setting up camp in a field, surrounded by all your mates, and watching your favourite bands across an entire weekend. There’s nothing else quite like it.
Whether it be Reading and Leeds, Download, TRNSMT, Creamfields or elsewhere you’re headed to this summer, there’s a sizeable amount of people who’ll be heading to a music festival for the very first time.
Going to your first festival is a right of passage that, whilst unforgettable and amazing, can also be a fairly daunting experience. That’s why we’re here to help. Between us here at Ticketmaster, we’ve been to thousands of festivals all across the globe.
With all that experience we decided to put our heads together and to draw up a checklist of essential items to take to your next festival, which as well as being helpful for festival newbies, might be useful for a few seasoned festival veterans too. Check out our first-time festival tips below:
This is obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people rock up at a festival without one or both of those things.
Whilst yes, music festivals generally take place in the summer, they can get very cold at night and it may rain whilst you’re there, so good shelter and somewhere warm to rest your head are essential.
If it’s your first time pitching a tent, have a practice run in the garden. That will give you invaluable experience, especially as when you’re pitching it at the festival, it might be raining.
Also, please please please take your tent home with you after the festival. It’s super important.
Speaking of rain… Prepare for wet weather. British summertime is at best unpredictable and you certainly don’t want to ruin your time by getting so wet people will think you’ve swam there.
Buy wellies as far in advance as possible – you’ll be surprised at how many shops tend to sell out of them around festival season – and you don’t want to find yourself buying them off the back of a lorry at five times what they’re worth when you get there.
Walking boots or sturdy shoes can be an even better option. They are comfortable in all weather, so you don’t need to take any backup footwear. Simple.
Odds are you won’t need it over the weekend, but a small medical kit with the essentials is a very wise thing to bring. Include things like plasters, painkillers, antihistamines and anything else you think you may need.
We really hope you won’t need it, but make a note of where the nearest medical tent to your campsite is located, as you never know. And you don’t have to wait until it’s a full emergency. The medical tent staff and welfare tent staff are always happy to help.
Most festivals have designated timeout zones too (usually a welfare tent), so if at any point its all getting a bit too much and the anxiety starts to bubble, there’s somewhere to go for a much needed refresh.
Festivals are the best place on earth (fact), but looking after No.1 can make the experience so much better.
Bringing a packet of your favourite chocolate bars will, A) Keep your energy levels up so you can keep dancing and, B) Give you a much needed home comfort.
Fruit is great too as it keeps well over the weekend. Crisps too. Cereal bars. Anything that keeps well and is easy to carry.
If the festival allows portable cooking equipment you can even go all out. Some of our favourite people ever are the ones that make their campsite buddies breakfast in the morning. You can’t beat it.
Your favourite band are about to take to the stage for their headline set, the lights look incredible and you know this would be the perfect photo to remember the festival with… but you can’t take it ’cause you’re out of battery. Don’t let it happen to you and bring a good portable charger!
It’s also highly likely that at some point over the weekend you will get separated from your pals. A portable charger will make sure you have enough battery to can wrangle everyone up in time to go see Liam Gallagher take to the stage.
Saying that, signal at festivals can be patchy at best, so it’s a good idea to organise somewhere to meet before and after each set you want to see.
If you want to go a bit off grid for the weekend, buy a pay as you go phone – they should cost about £20 from the shops – only give the number out to your friends who are going to the festival and your emergency contacts back home.
If it’s highly unlikely you’ll get to shower over the weekend, wet wipes will save the day. Most festivals do offer shower and washing facilities though, if that’s important to you.
Also, trust us on this one, you’ll be hard pressed to find any loo roll when you get to the festival. Having one in your bag when in the arena can become a lifesaver.
For the drinkers out there, chances are over the weekend you will consume a fair amount of alcohol and as it’s summer the weather will hopefully be warm and sunny, it’s highly important to stay hydrated.
A good idea is to bring with you a reusable water bottle. All festivals will have clean drinking water available to you around the site to refill your bottle, and because you’ve got a reusable one you’ll be helping the environment too.
And this isn’t just for the drinkers either. Drinking water and eating regularly will make the whole experience even better.
Prolonged exposure to loud music can lead to hearing loss. Get some earplugs to protect your hearing for all the gigs and festivals in your future.
Also, the campsite can be a noisy place, these will help you get some much needed sleep. For any light sleepers out there, we swear by silicone earplugs for the nighttime. You won’t hear a thing until you’re naturally woken up by the sunrise. Perfect.
Ask anyone, festivals are like no place on earth. Other than the incredible live music, the best thing is easily the amazing atmosphere made up of thousands of likeminded music fans. Head into the field with an open mind, ready to meet new people and check out new music, and you’ll have an even better time.
We’ve made lifelong friends, and discovered our new favourite artists across some of the best weekends of our lives. Now it’s your turn.
Planning your first festival adventure? For inspiration, check out our festival finder.
Header photo by Sara Emerson