Festival Memories

A lazy post today, a bit of a trip down memory lane. A few festival pictures to show you what you've been missing and/or to get you in the mood for festival fun.

faery festival

crafting at wilderness festival

festival moustache

camp bestival hammocks

butterflies at camp bestival

camp bestival tent

camp bestival

festival rave tent

craft sticker elephant at camp bestival

kids clothes for sale at camp bestival

wall of death at camp bestival

open air piano at camp bestival

festival lights

bunting on a trolley at a festival

Dick n Dom at Camp Bestival

Eating 'out' at a festival

cream tea at camp bestival
As I said yesterday, you should take some snacks but you won't get a full festival experience eating back at the tent each day! Festivals need grub!

Take a while to look around and see all the food stalls there are. You won't be able to eat at each one! There are too many and Camp Bestival is too big. At a smaller festival you may have less choice.

Why not let the kids plan at least one of your meals? I tend to snack at breakfast (I may be lying...The Grill does rather fine bacon rolls) then have a light lunch (or a massive plate of pasta) and then a medium sized tea ( a huge pie and mash plate from PieMinister) sometimes I have afternoon tea at the WI tent (every day).

Cost varies, remember that small kids can share a portion to save money (though you may be surprised at how hungry the fresh air will make them!) Check out where the best bargains are to be had. I'm a fan of the Soup Library.

Just have a look at some of the great food Camp Bestival has on offer

Last year Dd and I ate at the Surplus Supper Club which was great fun (and yummy!)


paella at a festival

fresh coconuts at a festival

The grill cafe at camp bestival bacon and eggs

Festival Food

shopping basket
Food at a festival

First thing to remember is that most times you will have no fridge. A cool box lasts only a day or two at summer heat, so don't take anything that will go off that you can't eat on day one.

I like to take prepacked (individually wrapped)  pastry style snacks like Pitch or croissants for breakfast.

 I take some eggs if I plan to cook, also soft noodles to stir fry with sauce. Baked beans of course, soup, chilli and packs pouched rice.

Not everyone wants to cook of course, although Camp Bestival does allow small stoves.

"Are Chinese lanterns, flares, fireworks or campfires allowed?
No, we have a no naked flame policy at the festival and in the campsite. Fires, flares, fireworks etc will extinguished by our festival fire service. HOWEVER, there are designated cooking areas in the campsite where you'll be able to go to use small BBQs and stoves to cook food."

You might want to plan and take a packed lunch for the first day, a great idea while you are  struggling to get tent up etc to know you have lunch all ready.

Other cold food snack ideas include, crisps, nuts, babybel cheese, raisins or other dried fruit, biscuits, individual cartons of juice, cans of coke etc

Oh and if you want to make tea or coffee, take coffee bags as well as tea bags, (no glass including jars allowed on site) and sugar LUMPS (less mess, avoid spills in and out of the tent!) and take powdered milk or individual long life pots

Definitely take snacks and drinks if you have kids. Queues will be long at exactly the moment young Tarquin wants a drink, you can bet on it! So save money, time and a tantrum. Be prepared!

Basement Jaxx at Camp Bestival

A bit about an act which is actually on the lineup at Camp Bestival this year (2014) . And what better than the rather fab, and quite raucously fun Basement Jaxx.

Basement Jaxx hale from Brixton and have been around for an amazing 20 years (really I thought they were a 'new' group....I think I'm showing my age!) so DD was not even born when they started belting out music.

Thought it was the very year of her birth that they went mainstream when Red Alert made it to the top 5  in the charts.

Never having seen them live, I am quite keen now that I've read what CampBestival describe as an

"unstoppable live proposition as their Latin influenced vibes became an epic onstage extravaganza worthy of the streets of Rio at Carnival time."

They have even headlined Glastonbury! (2005)

Can't wait!

Festival Sleep (adults)

So you're at a festival and you've finally staggered back to you tent. You've taken your wellies off, crawled in, knocked over a can of something that you hope was stale beer. Your tent chum is snoring in the corner and your bed looks more deflated than you remember. The lamps that light the walkways in the camping field suddenly seem over bright and you appear to have pitched right under one. The tent next door is filled with crying children and there is a loud beat drifting across the field from the all night party tent.

Sound familiar? Sound scary (if you've never been to a festival)?

Well fear not! You can and will sleep!

Top tips for a good festival night's sleep.

Leave the tent relatively tidy when you go out. Yes you are keen to pee, yes you want a bacon sandwich and who cares where you flung yesterdays jeans and your warm sleeping bag? Well, you as it turns out, when you stagger back later tired out. So leave the tent - or at the very least the bed area - relatively tidy.

Check the bed is pumped up when you leave. (or ensure your camp bed is wobble-free) Chuck away any rubbish (use a bin bag in the tent - bin bags are really useful in a tent!)

Take a sleep mask, yes it's nerdy but the light can be annoying if you are near a lamp, AND the dawn will try and wake you at a summer festival.

Take ear plugs, there are lovely soft disposable ear plugs on sale at Chemists. Buy some, I used them at Glastonbury to save me from an extreme snorer in a nearby tent!

Do up your tent securely. Keep your valuables with you.

Keep warm. Wear suitable clothes/thermals or pyjamas in bed. Consider warm socks and a hat even in the summer.  Snuggle down. Sleep. Hopefully you've been dancing all day and will be suitably  tired. Don't set an alarm (unless there's something on early that you really can't bear to miss')


Festival Crime

Festivals are filled with awesome people that like festivals.

People like you and me that love to have a dance and a laugh in a field. People that have a drink and become friendlier, that migh laugh and giggle, hug you and fall over.

They may fall onto your tent at 1am and spend 35 noisy minutes apologising.

People at festivals are the best people.

But like anywhere in life there are some exceptions, there are some twats, there are some people that can't hold their drink or become nasty on it. There are people that do illegal drugs, that like a fight...there are even ...thieves.

So take a few precautions and stay safe. I tend to expect the best but plan for the worst. Don't keep all your money/cards etc in one place. If there are a few of you in group ensure you all carry some of the valuables. Maybe leave an emergency fund hidden in the car? Don't leave valuables in your tent. This includes cash, cards, electronic games and phones. At  night put your cash and phones etc into the bottom of your sleeping bag.

Keep your bags etc with you. If you snooze on a picnic run ensure your valuables are not just laying around or in a bag nearby, use a bag as a pillow, or keep stuff on you.

Try not to get too drunk. Tipsy or tiddly is nice, falling over puking drunk is not, and you are more likely to drop and lose important things like car keys or phones.

Be nice to other people and assume they will be nice back, If you see or suspect trouble let the security team know, don't try and deal with it yourself.

Camp Bestival (and most festivals) have a great security team, also handy for radioing around and finding lost kids..

Have fun, Stay safe.

Festival Toilets


chemical toilet
If I talk about festival toilets now, maybe you'll have forgotten about them by the time the festival swings around. No I'm kidding they are not that bad.

Festival loos are something that all non-festival goers cite as reason they can't do festivals. And I'm sure some festival goers have horror stories too (I know I do) but with a little planning and some ability to be a bit more relaxed around poop than usual (more parents can cope with poop in my experience) the festival loo experience can be fine!

Camp Bestival has two types of loo (well actually it has three but the last I haven't experienced...more about them later)

The first is the old faithful, the portable chemical toilet. Most festival have them cleaned and emptied fairly regularly - don't camp too close to them or the 4am hose down and pump may wake you! They can get gruesome but it's down to the festival goers themselves being disgusting and drunk rather than the toilet itself! They will run out of toilet paper and of hand sanitiser. Take your own of both and wet wipes too - make a small bag for toilet trips containing the essentials.

The second sort is the 'compost' loo. They are a variant on the long drop! They have steps up to them and no water, under your seat is a 'pit' filled with sawdust. You take a cup of sawdust from the bin provided and chuck the sawdust down to cover your poop! They are less smelly than the portable chemical toilets (probably as they are very open and airy) they have no chemicals, but you do see a lot of poop. (Kids love this) They tend to stay cleaner. You may still need your own toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

festival toilets

The third and more mysterious option is the luxury loo - Camp Bestival has a secret land of luxury pooping that I have never experienced...

Festival Rain

Rain Rain go away

Today it's raining, so while I did talk about festival weather already I thought I'd do a few specific rain tips today.

Hopefully you have a waterproof tent or camper van. But just in case of leaks take a roll of black bin liners. Pop all your festival clothes into one, and each day pop your sleeping bag into one too, lay one over anything that won't fit in a bag ... now all your stuff is at least protected from drips, and even if you get wet you'll have a dry change of clothes and a dry sleeping bag.

Just because it's raining doesn't mean it will be cold. Summer festivals can be showery but spells of sun can dry you (and your wet clobber) out very quickly. Don't be disheartened at the first drop of rain.

If you have kids plan a few things that you might do if it rains, meet up with another family? Games in their tent? Or in the rain! Look for events happening inside big tents at the festival (though they will fill quickly if it pours)

Consider taking pack-a-macs (those festival ponchos made of bin bag material are a waste of money IMO, either cut arm holes in a bin bag or take a proper coat). We take Shmangles, a rather fab idea, a sort of cross between a picnic blanket and a cape, with a hood! They can be worn in the wet or the cold, or sat on in the sunshine! And they have a handy carry bag too.

Wear wellies. I tend to wear wellies most days at a festival anyway. They have become such a statement item of footwear. Dry feet are a luxury you can afford. Consider getting some super stylish wellies, so that you'll feel good about wearing them and not look like an out of work farmer.

Don't fear the rain. This too shall pass. It's a festival, have fun, you'll be home  in bed in 4 days and miss all this...no really...trust me

Festival Sex

Let's talk about festival sex!!

Well if you are a parent with some excited toddlers sharing the tent I doubt there'll be much! Ha! (though you never know, good luck and all that)

But if you are travelling solo or with mates or are a teen liable to wander off to the woods of an evening...well it might crop up!

First things first. Let's ensure no one has sex they don't want to have! All be on the look out for 'enthusiastic consent' that means not just not hearing a no, or being too drunk to really care one way or the other, it means both of you are really really keen! (and trust me, that's the best kind!)

Take some condoms if you have even a glimmer of hope there will be sex. Especially if you plan that sex with someone you just met. Personally I like to get to know someone I'm going to have sex with, but it's a festival, there's love in the air..so be prepared!

Remember that most festivals have a first aid or pharmacy tent. If your condom breaks or you forget to use one, check them out ASAP and they can help. They may have condoms too if you forgot to bring any and find a willing partner. Stifle those giggles, act like a grown up - go get some!

Thanks to Field Candy for the use of this rather fine tent image!

Festival Weather

What about festival weather! Well it's time to talk. It may rain. If it rains you will need wellies, so take wellies.

But it may be sunny. If it is sunny you will need sunscreen and sunglasses and hayfever meds. So take them.

But hang on, how will we know what the weather will be like? Why not bookmark Festiweather keep an eye on things and you can think about what you'll be wearing.

But still, take wellies and sunscreen.

Your tent & getting lost at a festival

Today lets talk about tents. How to find them and how to make them unique. Also what to do when you get lost.

Festivals can be big, very very big and if you have kids that can be scary, for them and for you!

There will be a sea of tents at a festival

How will you find yours? Well here are some ideas.
  • If it's canvas you can paint it, like I did!
  • you can buy a long pole and a flag or spinner - but be aware that as lots of people do this you may need to fly a couple of things together to say unique!
  • You can add bunting, anything from plastic 99p Store bunting, via home made cloth scraps bunting to something posh from Cath Kidson or some lovely home made crocheted bunting. You can even make bunting out of knickers!
  • You can use ribbons on the guy ropes
But if you just can't consider the outlay or the horror of packing MORE stuff, why not pitch near a tent that is overly flamboyant! And when you walk to and from the tent don't forget to talk to the children about what you see. We heard a lot of parents comment on our tent at the last Camp Bestival, including a lot of "Oh we are nearly at our tent, remember it's just past/to the left/to the right of that painted tent".

Landmarks and tent decoration sorted, be sure to have a plan if you get separated. You may advise children to stay where they are! Or to ask a member of staff (most festivals have clearly defined staff and security) or to meet at a certain spot like the big wheel or the tent! Have a plan but hope not to use it. At Camp Bestival little kids have wristbands with parents mobile numbers written on, you could make your own before you go - but be aware that the signal may be poor in a field so still have a back up plan.

Good Luck and happy decorating!

Buying festival tickets and getting prepared

Buying your tickets...for some festivals like Glastonbury ticket buying is beyond complicated and you have to buy before you know who is headlining, for smaller festivals ticket buying is usually easy. And some festivals let you pay weekly to spread the cost. Camp Bestival and Bestival both do weekly scheme.

Why not start preparing ... do you have a tent? well now is the time to check it, with 74 days to go there's lots of time to sort out anything that needs doing. I pitched mine and found some of the rubber bands that secure it had perished and needed replacing. I was missing a guy rope (how that went missing while the tent was in storage is anyone's guess) and I seem to have misplaced my duct tape!

So get it out (!) erect it (!) and see if you need any new rubbers (!) etc

And if you have no tent there is time to look around. Check out some of the things to think about on my tent buying advice post.

Choosing which festival is right for you

It's time to decide what sort of festival you'd like to go to? Are you going alone? with friends? with children/ If you are taking children how old are they? Do you like music? comedy? food?

As usual I'm setting more questions than answers! But so many festivals! And so many great acts too, from Sir Tom Jones to Mr Tumble, from Chas and Dave to Burt Bacharach, from Metallica to Dolly Parton! So have a hunt around, see what your mates are going to, think about the music you like, some festivals concentrate on one style of music while others have a more varied musical menu.

And some, like Camp Bestival, have all sorts of other things to do too, with themed shows and entertainment for the children.
Helter Skelter at Camp Bestival

cardboard crafts at camp bestival

wall of death at camp bestival

open air piano at camp bestival

For young children especially I would recommend Camp Bestival as a top festival to go to. It's got so much to do, it's friendly, set in a lovely area and for the last 5 years that I've attended the sun has shone every day of the festival.

Barry the Tent's Erection

I realise that I have blogged about how to put up my Cabanon Pyramide IV tent (known to his friends as Wilfred) but I haven't really given as much time to Barry (my Bari3) although Barry did get the thrill of being painted (by me and DD! See that story here) and he stars in many festival blog posts and pictures. He is a little trickier to erect as he has an internal horizontal pole and I'm never sure if I should erect the inner first...I bough Barry on ebay and he has no instructions!

So here are pictures of today's garden erection as a test before festival season kicks off.

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 First, Barry has his own canvas holdall

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 Inside the outer is wrapped in the inner so that the groundsheet is on the outside, the poles are around the bundle, in the bag. All is tipped out onto the grass.

tent poles on the grass
 The poles are numbered, they are sorted and slotted together, except for the long horizontal pole, I tend to add that and then connect it up. It seems easier if you are putting the tent up on your own

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 The inner is arranged on the pitch, check the open end is where you want the front of the tent to be! Lay the outer over the top.

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 Peg down the corners of the outer, ensure it's roughly in a rectangular shape.

tent pegs and mallet on the grass
 Check you have spare rubber bands, they perish and need replacing regularly. Check your tent pegs, this style of tent needs lots.

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 Add the centre pole carefully threading the point on the top through the eyelets on the inner and outer tent skins.

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 Do the same for the back pole, carefully attach the horizontal pole between them, suspending the inner skin from it in the middle.

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 Peg all the rubber bands tight around the base (make sure the tent doorway is zipped shut at this stage or you may not be able to fasten it later!. Add the two front poles and secure them with guy ropes (I seem to have lost one! I shall buy a replacement)

erecting a Bari 3 tent
 Peg out the inner tent. And check everything is upright

erecting a Bari 3 tent
Check it's all tight and secure, job done, drink beer.

Festival tent. Sorted.

Edited to add - sadly I have now sold Barry to make room for new tents, I still miss him.

Deciding to go to Camp Bestival or any festival


The first in a series of short posts about Camp Bestival and festival season. To prepare and excite the reader.

Choosing your festival.

So you want to go to a festival. Maybe you've been to lots, maybe you've never been. How do you decide which one to attend?

Budget - no matter how fabulous and good value a festival maybe you are probably constrained by a budget. See what you can afford. Take into account how many people will be attending in your party. Will you need to buy any extras? (eg tents, extra sleeping bags etc) Are there ways you can save such as taking your own food?

Festivals vary in price from the extremely cheap (I'm off to Wadfest this year £25 for a weekend of mayhem! and kids go free!) to the very pricey. They are usually great value and the more expensive festivals are jam packed with free things to do and great bands. Some people combine the festival with the rest of the week at a campsite and make it their main family holiday.

Check out eFestivals online as a way to see what is available in your area to save on travel costs.

Shopping at a festival can be very tempting too - plan in advance if you will be shopping and pack accordingly, take money if you think you will need it but remember that larger festivals  often have cashpoint machines (they may charge a transaction fee) and lots of shops, even at festivals, can take cards.

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