Having Gilbert has spoilt us. A fridge, a two ring burner and a grill, a double bed, thermal window blinds, a killer sound system and loads of space for multiple changes of clothes. Drive up to the festival campervan field, hoist up the awning, crack open a cider and away we go. Camping is a complete different ball game but, as I've mentioned before, a hell of a lot more fun at Glastonbury. It's the biggest and best festival on the planet and camping in the middle of it all makes the experience even more thrilling. A two hour hike with as many belongings you can carry strapped to your back, a feverish hunt for a spot big enough for you and your mates, erecting the tent, a quick beer and back up the hill of doom to collect the rest of your stuff. Last year was a steep learning curve but turned out to be the best Glasto yet!
|During Ed Sheeran's set last year.|
Camping at a festival. Where do you start? A tent, obviously. Ideally one with a groundsheet and a couple of rooms so you can stash your dirty wellies and waterproofs away from the bed. Our tent was salvaged from one of the many abandoned at Glastonbury last year. Give yours a trial run before you set off to check that it is watertight & treat it to an application of waterproofing spray just to make sure. Take more tent pegs than you need and don't forget your mallet.
A blow-up air bed isn't an essential but does make camping that bit more luxurious. Do test it first. If we hadn't have done so last week we'd have had an uncomfortable week. Don't forget the pump, as the bed will inevitably deflate over time. Our research led us to a Quechua air bed, at £16.99 not the cheapest, but judging by the reviews the most reliable.
A sleeping bag and camping pillows.
Camping stools (these 1950s beauties came from a car boot sale years ago) for sitting outside the tent chatting to your fellow campers and for watching bands if its muddy during the day (don't bother at night time - they're a nuisance and a tripping hazard - dance instead.)
|Waiting for Kasabian|
A plastic backed blanket is great for lounging about on a hot day or at night-time when the grass is damp.
A large water container (but not so big that you can't carry it back from the standpipes when it's full). Never clean your teeth, wash your wellies or your hair under the communal tap, it's anti social, it creates mud and it's annoying. Collect your water and move on.
Food! Glastonbury has a wealth of fabulous food stalls selling everything from chips & mushy peas to grilled lobsters and the range of veggie food is amazing BUT it comes at a cost. We'll treat ourselves to dinner out a couple of times but cook our own meals most of the time. A single ring camping stove, a couple of spare gas cylinders, some lightweight aluminium pans (Wilko), a kettle, a couple of wooden spoons, a set of cutlery, plastic mugs, beer glasses, bowls & plates, a collapsible bucket (Army surplus store), corkscrew, a sponge scourer and some biodegradable washing up liquid decanted into a small lidded pot.
Unlike campervan living, camping means relying on food that can be cooked on one gas burner, doesn't require a fridge or too much preparation. Along with a block of cheese, some butter and a punnet of seedless grapes this should keep us going. Our camp site of choice is handily just down the track from a bakery so we can get newly baked bread and, as Worthy Farm is a dairy farm, we can buy fresh milk from the wagon every morning for our tea.
|Don't worry, this isn't all the booze we're taking! Vintage cool bag, Lidl pear cider, Asda canned Mojitos, eco pouch vodka (we'll buy cola when we're there), red wine box (I'm freezing the Rose)|
Booze! Glastonbury is one of a handful of festivals that allow you to bring your own alcohol into the arenas, the only rule being no glass. Buy a box of wine, discard the box and stash the filled bladder in the freezer, remove on the day you leave, pop it into your cool bag and it should keep your cider, milk and cheese cold for at least the first few days. There are bars so if you do run out don't despair!
|Collapsible wash bowl, Lidl wet wipes (we take two packs), Batiste dry shampoo, biodegradable shower gel/shampoo, vintage hand towel|
Washing. There are showers on site but, unless you get up at 5am, you could lose hours queueing. Wet wipes and dry shampoo are fine but we fill our collapsible bucket with warm water from the kettle and have a proper wash in the privacy of our tent.
Hair. I can usually get away without washing my hair for the duration of the festival (that's what headbands & plastic flowers were invented for). If I redo my roots the morning before we leave then it seems to hold up pretty well. If its a particularly hot or dusty year I'll fill an empty 2 litre plastic cider bottle with water in the morning and leave it outside the tent all day to get warm. Using a corkscrew I'll pierce the lid with a few holes and ta-dah! Wet hair, add a dollop of biodegradable shampoo, rinse, towel dry, comb through some of my leave-in Lush conditioner (decanted into a sample-sized pot) and I've got a festival friendly hair washing system.
|Glasto 2014 - Day 4. Filthy hair disguised with a massive topknot and fake flowers, 1960s playsuit (when will I ever learn?), feather boa & vintage wellies|
Toiletries. Stash them in a bag with hanging hook to save precious floor space in your tent (If you haven't got one of these try an army surplus store). Once a Day sun cream slapped on every morning, especially the day you arrive on site (it was dull last year so we didn't bother, resulting in embarrassing lobster red faces for the rest of the festival). Decent quality wet wipes - some of the cheaper ones disintegrate and you end up using twice as many. Lidl's are fab and don't dry your skin, another issue with some of the cheap ones, which means you won't need to pack body lotion - making your load lighter. Carry anti-bacterial hand gel and tissues (rather than loo roll, too bulky) with you at all times.
|Day 5. Me: Floral crown by House of Harrie Hattie, 1980s sequinned bustier from a car boot sale Jon: 1980s De La Soul tee shirt & vintage cord trilby (both charity shop finds)|
Clothes. Feather boas, sequins, bikinis, fake fur. Wear what you like and don't pay any attention to those lame festival fashion guides in the magazines. Follow fashion and you'll just end up looking like everyone else. Footwear-wise sandals, wellies and sturdy boots should cover all that the good old British weather throws at you. Like Monski wisely says, take as many pairs of over the knee socks that you can lay your hands on. They prevent welly rub and keep your feet warm in bed!
|With our friend Jon during a very wet set by Morrissey, Glasto 2011|
Wet weather? An umbrella for nipping between your tent & the loo will save you from struggling into your cold mac if it's raining in the morning (also ideal for protecting against the blazing sun).
|Last year's Friday morning mud fest. Watching Royal Blood in a vintage nightie.|
Pack a dress short enough to be fit under your mac to avoid a soggy hem flapping around bare legs. Forget leggings and tights, skin dries far quicker than fabric. Denim is horrible when wet so jeans are definitely best avoided.
|These insanely comfy 1970s fleece lined cowboy boot style wellies came from yesterday's car boot sale (£1.50), the vintage mac was 50p from a jumble sale years ago.|
The temperature drops dramatically at night so a coat or a thick jumper, warm boots (if it's dry enough to forgo wellies) and thermal leggings are essential. I take a knitted hat and fingerless gloves, too. I hate being cold and they take up hardly any space.
|From last week's boot sale: quilted maxi dress, Indian silk scarf, Tricoville mohair & wool cape (all vintage), leather boots by Aldo & a tooled leather bag.|
Pack outfits rather than individual garments, roll each one up (including socks, pants and jewellery) in a plastic bag to keep them together and ensure they stay dry. Jumpsuits may look cute but they can be a nightmare when negotiating the portaloos and you're wearing a coat over the top. If you're wearing maxis make sure they're above the ankle and not trailing on the floor (think of those toilets!)
Make-up. It's a festival, of course I need it. I take neon bright lipstick, lurid eye shadow, waterproof eye liner & fake lashes, basically the same stuff as I always wear with a bit of extra glitter and a bindi or three chucked in for good measure. I paint my nails so I can't see the dirt underneath and take the bottle with me to touch up any chips. I use Lidl sensitive facial wipes for taking it off at night and a generous slathering of Boots' Soltan Once a day factor 30 sun cream in the morning.
Other essentials include a torch (for making your way back to your tent in the dead of night), a battery lantern so you can see what you're doing inside your tent, duct tape (repairs everything from snapped tent poles to leaking raincoats), bin bags (for storing your clothes in case of tent leaks), plasters (all that walking/dancing/wandering is hard on the feet), at least two pairs of cheap sunglasses (you're bound to sit on/loose one of them) and a cheapo camera so you can
bore show your friends when you get back.
|My new-old rucksack was an eBay bargain (less than a fiver).|
Oh yes, do make sure you can carry your backpack before you set off! (Advice I should have followed last year before having to admit defeat and go back to the van to offload).
Four days and counting but I'm not wishing my life away, there's plenty of action lined up in the meantime including an exciting meet-up happening tomorrow with some rather fabulous friends. Watch this space.