Friday, 19 June 2015

Carry On Camping - Glastonbury Under Canvas

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. 


  1. It never really appeals, but this post almost makes me want to go!
    Isn't it ridiculous how you have to cover ever weather known to man for a week away in June in the UK? Bloomin' mad!
    Have a brilliant time and, I for one, am looking forward to all those photos!

  2. come I'm first again????

  3. Each to their own but I can't bear the idea of festivals ... different strokes for different folks! I hope you have fun anyway, it looks like you always do :) xxx

  4. Those rainbow stools! My Gran used to have the matching deckchairs. Also I love your plastic see through rain mac, how practical and chic :-)

  5. Oh great post! So nice to see a festival guide from someone who's actually a festival veteran rather than a 20 year old "full time blogger" invited free to V festival in the bloggers VIP area!!

    This is my 15th Glastonbury - i took my 4 month old last year and can't wait to take my 16 month old this year, he is going to love it. Thankfully I only live in Bristol and the grandparents are coming to collect him for the weekend so we can have some party time!

    Enjoy Glastonbury :) :)

  6. excellent festival tips. I never camped at a festival, but I attended concerts and moto parties (love those) and I follow your philosophy when it comes to dressing. Always carry an extra layer, boots and high socks are your best friend and so on:) I really on tested pieces and it never occurred to me to read about what I should wear in a magazine.

    I must say you look fantastic! I love that big smile of yours when you're carrying that backpack...and your green eyes shadow plus eye-lashes looks so glam!

    Have a blast!!!!!!

  7. I could comment on every photo. But I find the 1950's camping stool quite interesting. My son Bart in-laws manufacture camping furniture.

    Never heard of pear cider. I now need to keep my eyes open for some.

    Coffee is on

  8. This post should be made into a brochure and handed out to everyone you meet at Glasto this year so that next year, they will have a much better camping experience! Even though I don't go camping, or to outdoor festivals, I can appreciate all the wisdom of experience that went into this.

    Looking forward to see who you're meeting up with this weekend, and then you'll be off to the Festival! Happy Camping!!

  9. Looks like you are all set Vix, and lots of tips for everyone. The tent you salvaged looks great. Have a fab time xx

  10. Pheww .... you had me worried that that was all the booze you were taking with you! lol. You must be brimming with excitement. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your visit with friends.

    You look so cute and festive in every one of these shots! xo

  11. You make it sound so easy! You have plenty of experience and wisdom, and this is a brilliant guide to the realities of festival camping. Your previous Glastonbury photos always bring a smile to my face, you clearly have such a great time, and that comes from knowing the drill and having the right stuff - that means you're free to have all the fun!
    You're ahead of the game with getting all your shopping done in readiness, which leaves you free to play out tomorrow - hurray!
    See you VERY soon, love you! xxxx

  12. Fantastic low-down on what to take/how to enjoy it, you really have the 'knowledge'. x

  13. Phew , Made me out of breath reading it lol , You are so organised obviously you have gained the experience over the years some fantastic ideas there We love music but not festivals but i still love to see your posts when you go , hope you have a fantastic time xxx

  14. Vix, you are indeed the Queen of festivals.... I am so impressed with your organisation and innovation! You have perfected the art of being comfy, looking fab and having a blast.... I'll probably never go myself, but love getting to experience Glasto through your blog :-)

  15. You are an absolute pro. I was wondering why you were buying a torch and non-garden food the other day... All becomes clear!
    And your non-fashion advice is right on! This is why you are Queen (in the best possible interpretation of the word).

  16. Fantastic post for festival fans. I have never been to one, only seen it on the tele.

  17. Just realized my mistake. I HAVE been to a festival, several in fact, Truck Festivals, ha ha. They were never like Glasto though.

  18. Your resilience to any kind of challenges is really amazing. The less we use the excuses like "I think I might be uncomfortable" really does get in the way of adventure. You two embrace those things and make your lives so much more exiting. There's something so wonderful about tent camping and waking up early to the sounds of nature. I can see that packing for only one burner takes some planning.

  19. You live life to the full. How fabulous, dear Vix
    You yourself are a festival to my eyes.

  20. Fantastic your short dresses! I love them! And your green eyeshadow is great!
    How nice camping and summer festivals, maybe not die from the heat as here!
    But the thing I like best, after your smiles, is the green fields!



  21. These photos are fantastic. You look great! They bring back such fabulous memories. I went to Glastonbury 6 times in a row in the 90's and had the best time of my life there. Plus I got to see some of my musical heroes. I really want to take Sprogzille (my daughter) to it now that she is old enough. It really pays off to be prepared and your outfits looks brilliant. Give the Scrumpy Bus my love and have the best of times. Xx

  22. dear lady, love your 'how to pack' posts, you're really fabulous: absolutely sensible and practical advices and a feathers boa! what else?
    And you look gorgeous wearing your psychedelic little dresses and wellies!, gorgeous!!!!

  23. Words of wisdom gained through much experience.

    Just reading about this makes me exhausted though. I honestly don't think I would have able to do that when I was 16 let alone now. Glamping is more my thing.


  24. I'm not much of a camper, but if I did I would definitely use your tips! No nonsense and yet fun! :)

  25. Great advice, have a fab time, we went during one of the very muddy years 1997, wet wipes, lots of beer and comfy boots stood us in good stead, I even managed to break my wrist and didn't know until an xray 10 years later, I blame the beer!!! Have fun xxx

  26. It looks like a fabulous festival! I don't particularly like crowds or sleeping in tents, but I admire people who do. Have fun Vix!

  27. I think I'll stay home. Not a fan of camping or really large crowds. I'd flunk "festival going"

  28. I literally have not been to Glasto in years, but it's long overdue now. You look marvellous, we checked out T in the park a while back and had fun! You must be the best dressed amongst the crowd. <3

  29. What kind of music? It seems all the festivals, or just Fest, we have in the UK are heavy metal or country. I'd love some good bohemian/earthy/indie rock/folk and then I'd be there in a heartbeat as long as I had a good sturdy air mattress for the night. Poor John in the rain with jeans, or does he don a kilt?

  30. Avoid wet denim jeans. Portaloos and pantsuits do not mix well. Use sunblock. Drink a lot. Words of wisdom that should be offered in a tasteful needlepoint pattern for sale at Glasto, perhaps?

    Thanks for sharing the snaps of your goodies, Vix. One did wonder what had made the cut.

  31. Happy days!
    Go and enjoy yourselves with all that fab music.
    You will decorate the place as usual! How you manage it I'll never know...oh just told us! :-D
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  32. A lovely post. Thank you! I'm still not tempted to stray away from my little festies. That is unless Leonard Cohen returns to Glasto xx

  33. This is a super guide! You are well prepared and this is (like someone said above) a true veteran account rather than a sponsored 20year old.
    The cow boy boots look good!!!
    Aha, you're going to meet Curtise and co today! Definitely one day I would love to come along!!! X

  34. Have a fabulous time. Love the dress and your boots in the last photo.

  35. I'm really not cut out for festival life but this post makes me wish I was as it does sound like such fun! x

  36. Such a sensible yet fun-loving post, Vix. Hope you have a rollicking great time. xox

  37. You're so completely organised! I've never been to Glastonbury, but love seeing all your gorgeous pics. The polka-dot mac is perfect :) xx

  38. Huzzah!

    My wish come true :-)

    Best Festival guide evuh.

    Love the stools & those Cowboy wellies are MENTAL! Hope they are off to Glasto with you.

    Hair washing tip brilliant - like also your use of biodegradeables & mention of Festival ettiquette. A guide on Festival ettiquette would be good - tis a whole art in my view - or am I being a grumpy old bag?

    Duct tape is boss.

    3 more tips

    Replace guy ropes with glow in the dark ones

    To keep warm at night dance your tits of at the after hours clubs in too much clothing (jumper, mac, hat etc..) & then go the bed with most of it still on.

    A teeny sample spray or decant of cologne/fragrance can be a lifesaver for end of Festival loos when you are gagging/fainting.

    Catch up with you at some point Bab!
    XXX ;-)

  39. Great tips from camping guru for those who is not that experienced in this as you. Nice to see all those photographs of you having fun at different events.

  40. What excellent tips! You nearly make me want to attend one of those festivals as you two are having such a blast! xox

  41. This is all good advice and stuff I generally follow myself when I go to festivals (or should that be when I used to go to festivals?!).

    Don't forget the paracetamol!!

  42. I haven't done Glasto since the Eighties and I'm not likely to go again, so I love it when I hear about festie exploits from you and my other mates. I especially love your enthusiasm and wise words. I reckon every festie newby should listen to you!
    Can't wait to see this years photos.
    Have a perfectly bloody luscious day with the gals today.
    Loves ya!

  43. The perfect guide to survival on a festival !
    Hope you have a great time !

  44. Lots of really sensible advice. Hope you have a fabulous time and don't get bogged down in all that mud. Betty

  45. Such a fab post, can't wait to see your pics from this year's festival! Adrian's brother is going with his wife and our friend Paul is DJing (he does so most years-I'll find out his DJ name and where he'll be and let you know!) xxxxx

  46. Our friend Paul is part of a collective of DJs called 'Situation' djing in Block 9, if you are over that way! Have an amazing time xxxx

  47. we love minimal camping - but not with the masses....
    your preps look very well from here - i only would swap out the dried meals for rice, couscous, canned tomatoes, onions and some different spices. maybe i do a "healthy camping food" post in the future :-)
    wish you lots of fun!!!!

  48. Ah glasto memories... have a fantastic time Vix!

  49. You are the best source of sensible advise, sod Google, Vix it!!

  50. Great advice … I swear you need to write a travel/ weekend escape book … you have it all down to a fine art

  51. Your camping skills are very impressive! You and Jon have clearly learned a lot over the course of your many years of rocking vintage fairs and festivals and are well equipped and prepared for them. Your array of munchies laid out in that ninth photo looks yummy. You and Jon certainly did a brilliant job of getting everything together and organised so you could enjoy your festival at Glastonury regardless of the weather. Well done you.

  52. What a BRILLIANT post!! Vix, not only are you beautiful and frugal, but you are absolutely practical. I learned LOADS from reading your posts - and I particularly appreciate your festival tips. You are very kind to share such detailed tips with us. Honestly, I`m surprised some high falutin` ladies magazine hasn`t snapped you up as a writer. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!

    Have fun at Glasto!!!

  53. I know what I said yesterday, but reading this has actually made me want to go again! All your tips are so pertinent, you've covered the lot. You're going to have the most fabulous time and be in your element. Seeing that food just brought a memory back to me; hitching all the way to Cornwall with my boyf to the Elephant Fayre, thinking my rucksack was heavy and then discovering when we got there that he had stashed several tins of baked beans in there 'just in case'!!! Oh what fun we had. Take lots of photos for those of us who aren't going. Xxxxx

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  55. I'm with you on so much of this - wet wipes especially. I always have mini packs of antibacterial ones in my handbag at Vintage Nostalgia ready for the portaloos. This year we got a couple of those self-inflating roll mats - they're really brilliant. One of the few really good things about having horribly dry hair is that I can go three days without washing it, no problem.

    Are tents fairly safe at Glastonbury, then? I'd always imagined everything I took getting nicked...

  56. You're born to hang out on festivals!

  57. oh Vix you are the queen of festival camping! i mean i love camping and i was even a girl guide, but camping in a massive bell tent is a luxury compared to a tiny little nylon tent. i hope it doesn't rain for you or if it does only a little bit in the middle of the day so you can dance the afternoon away! have a wonderful time and show those silly little Top Shop festival bunnies how to so it with style!!

  58. I bought a box filled with Cup noodles today, because they were 20% off ... A young guy asked me, if I would go to a festival, because of buying top ramen noodles! :)

  59. A modern version of Miss Eleanor Lavish, she never went anywhere without her mackintosh square!

  60. I loooove this post!! But wait... you guys have vodka in a bag over there??? WHAAAATTTT?? Hang on, I'll be right over to score a stash to take back with me for our upcoming camping trips

  61. GREAT festival tips!!!! Looks so freakin' fun!


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