It is a good way to see how a weekend festival will pan out. Great for children of all ages. If the kids hate loud music, big crowds and mud maybe wait a few years.
Bring picnic, water bottles - lots of wet wipes and waterproofs!
For younger children ensure they have your mobile number on their arm, or on a sticker.
Ok, Ill be honest I do not travel light when I come to festivals. I respect people who come to festivals with one bag but that's just not me. I bring everything and I like bringing everything. I like making a festival home that my friends and I can all start off from and end up back at. There are a few important requirements when making my festival home: trolley, big tent, gazebo, fire and dressing up bag. Firstly, the trolley, or ideally a wheel barrow, is important as you have to get ALL the stuff from the car to your chosen camping area. The trolley has to have big strong tyres, grannys shopping trolleys will loose wheels/ fall apart. My advice is to think industrial strength.
Secondly, the tent. I like a big tent with a communal area where people can hang out, get dressed in while standing up (its really awkward to get dressed sitting down) and store stuff so your not sleeping wrapped around your rucksack! So, I recomend a tent with a main communal area and small pods off it.
Thirdly, the focal point of this festival home has to be a fire. We bring one of those pot belly ones or a bucket BBQ. Then all you need is lots of charcoal and you can have a nice warming fire first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
Fourthly, a gazebo. The fire goes in the middle, everyone's tents go around it and you have a lovely central, covered area where you can hang out! Cheap ones can be purchased for £10 but just beware that a gust of wind can send them hurtling across the camping area!
Lastly, a dressing up bag. I realise that this is not strictly part of the structure of a festival home but for me its the heart! Its contents, which must contain many tyes of head wear, are a constant joy not only to the owner but to all those friends who 'forgot' to bring or 'don't do' dressing up. The fact that it can be topped up from stalls at the festival is even better.
For me festivals are about fun and friends and our festival home has always provided the foundations to both.
PS: duct tape is really handy to have with you. It can be used to mend tents, mark your area, tape toilet doors shut (tape them closed while your in there and then pull it off when your done) etc.
1) Teenagers - to keep them busy and happy they need an earner. Despite your parenting most 14-year-olds are complete capitalists who have no qualms about putting 100% profit onto the cost of a pot noodle.
2) Toddlers - no matter how many clothes you pack for a three-year-old prepare to be rubbing the dried mud off Friday's tights by Saturday evening. A helium balloon of choice (in our family it's usually batman) tied to the back of a toddlers dungarees can help to prevent the panic of a lost child at a busy festival (rope could even be lengthened at larger venues!)
Drum into children that they must not purchase chocolate cake /truffles off anyone, especially if salesperson is barefoot!
Finally remember there is no such thing as a free lunch. Arranging to work at a festival may seem like a shrewd money saving option, however there is nothing more depressing than wearing a stewards waistcoat and being 3 fields away from your friends/family who are probably down the front at the main stage.
It's a mish-mash of alternative music which in the past has been curated by bands such as Shellac, The Breeders, Mogwai, Tortoise and of course, the fans. Not only is there superb music but it's held at Butlins!
The best thing about it for me is being able to go for a swim and bomb down the flumes, come out in your swimmies and go see a band!
Forget slumming it and dealing with dodgy port-a-loos, you stay in your own chalet (private bathroom included) so a party or good night's sleep is on the cards every night, whatever your preference.
Games of five-a-side football on the adjacent beach at 4am are always a blast and if you're more of a crazy golfer you can always find something to do.
Not only does this festival have some of the best music available but it's complimented beautifully by ATP's own TV channel showing films such as Dig, The Fearless Freaks and Achorman as well as series like Peep Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I've been going for the past three years and every year i've persuaded more and more friends to come. If you do make it down I only hope you're lucky enough to meet the crazy Swedes we've met every year for a singstar showdown!
Held in the UK at Butlins Minehead or Cambersands. Also have festivals in Oz and New York.
I have been going to the Big Chill for several years and it wasn't until last year that I bought a roof tent for the Land Rover. By far the worst part of the festival is packing away at the end when the fun is over and getting everything back to the car when you are feeling worse for wear. With a roof tent every manufacturer has easy design assemble and disassemble which takes less than one minute with mattress and bedding already inside. The design folds out over the back of the 4x4 (or any make of car with roof bars). It has an extra piece of fabric which clips to the underside of the tent to create an area that you can use to cook, shower or use the port-a-loo - you are totally self sufficient and when the festival finishes, it takes minutes to fold away. This is far cheaper than any camper van and just as good.
MyWay Tents - www.mywayrooftents.co.uk
Festivals abound these days, but most of them cost lots of mone. This one is free. Held in a beautiful field surrounded by the River Evenlode (great paddling for the kids), some great bands play in an idyllic and completely chilled out setting. This year it is held on Saturday 20 (12-10) - Sunday 21 June (12-8) 2009.
Two minutes from the Charlbury train station - which is north of Oxford on the Paddington-Oxford-Hereford line operated by Great Western. For more information: www.riversidefestival.charlbury.com/Home.html
Depending on the weather, arrive with a thermos of chilled liquid. Whenever boiling water is available, fill the thermos. Use for instant soups, noodles and other such nourishment. I can usually find some extra energy after a green tea (best made with off-boiling water anyway) and a cereal bar.
Make sure you can easily identify your wellington boots. As they are taken off before entering some tents, piles of near-identical green wellies accumulate. Last year many people were wandering around in ill-fitting footwear because someone else was wearing there wellies.
Glanusk park, Brecon Beacons. 21-23 August 2009.
Three days of merryment including the kids but beware of the loos! Take empty milk cartons/washing liquid containers for a private pee in the tent. Windbreaks are great to form a barrier for small children to stop them wandering off.
You have just about remembered where you camped after an hour of circling strangley similar tents to yours. You crawl inside and slump onto your damp sleeping bag only to hear the folk next door un-ironically playing Phil Collins, loudly. "Oh how will I make it through?" you cry.
The solution is simple; pop in a pair of BioEars silicon ear plugs, twang on a pair of those eyemasks you get given on flights (you can buy these and the BioEars from Boots) and drift off into a Collins-free sleep. The beauty of the BioEars is that they form a perfect seal inside your ear without having to be pushed into the canal like the foam ones and they make the festival fade away completely. The loudest thing you will hear all night will be the sound of your own breathing.
You wake, hot, uncomfortable and ready for a hard days headonism.
Boots is the answer.
If you don't fancy using those freezing Skandi-style communal showers at Roskilde, some enterprising young Danes have set up some portable shower cubicles in the carpark outside their house, a ten minute walk from the east entrance. The equivalent of £5 (not much in expensive Scandinavia) will get you your own spacious bathroom with toilet and shower to wash the mud away. Feeling fresh, clean and ready for another day at the best music festival in Europe, you can also stop for breakfast there before you head back or buy supplies, like socks and soap. Stellar idea!
Walk past the convenience store near Entrance East and turn left down the next country lane you see, you might feel like there's nothing down there but trust me, it's just up ahead. Ask a friendly local for directions if you feel lost.
You've already spent around £150 on the ticket, but you can expect to easily double that by the end of the festival. Here are some tips I have picked up from experience to help you save some money:
1) Before you go, go shopping with friends, buy biscuits, crisps etc, you won't want to eat big meals and food there is always extortionate (but good, so maybe try one!) And drink, check out good deals, but again, sharing is key!
2) To get there and back, check on the festival website for coach tickets that are often cheap to encourage less carbon emissions. Or if driving, make sure every seat in the car is filled and agree to split the petrol cost equally.
3) At most festivals, there is a refundable charge for cups. Late into the night, cups can be found all over the place, pick these up and claim the refund.
4) Be extra organised, always carry toilet paper, toothpaste with you then if someone is caught short, ask for a donation.
5) Use cash - take more than you will need, or set a limit and stick to it but don't take money out on a card machine as the charges are usually high.
6) Check, double and triple check you have everything you'll need so you don't have to buy anything when you get there.
7) Befriend the neighbours- again, sharing can help save a lot of money.
8) Keep your money safe - when drunk, dirty and tired, it is so easy to lose notes - (I kept a very small bag, big enough for phone, camera and money under my jumper and didn't take it off all weekend)
9) Wait until the end, all the merchandise looks so tempting on the first day, but don't rush in. Wait until the last morning when they are trying to shift stock so will have either reduced prices or are willing to knock off a couple of pounds.
10) Check the internet for a timetable or running order before you go - you will need to know when and where your favourite bands are playing, but will end up paying £8 for a programme when you arrive if not.
The key things to remember are share, plan ahead and keep money safe.
Hope this helps and have a fantastic, festival-filled summer!
The biggest and best festival in Europe. Dirt cheap and everyone friendy. I went travelling with a few mates after GCSE's and ended up at Sziget because I read about it in the travel section. The times we have had at Sziget and in the city of Budapest were the best ever. I returned to Sziget this year and it was just as good. The line-up on the main stage was brilliant but there are about 30 other big stages, with every type of music and a laid-back atmosphere which make it so much better than British festivals. And it's a week long! I cannot go this year as I'm saving up for my gap year.
A music festival that is totally eclectic and surprisingly kiddy friendly! One minute you can be dressing up in a dressing-up tent and doing a fashion show, then having a ride on a ferris wheel, then grooving to some funky beats on the main stage, then making wooden spoon puppets with your kids, then watching a wicker statue burn while drumming and chanting round it - and that's all in just one field!
If you have kids, I would recommend this festival. It's fun, vibrant, colourful and pure entertainment. My top tip is to get some of those mini hi-vis vests - in a dayglo neon colour like pink or orange, and write your mobile number on it. This is for your children to wear, so if they wonder off slightly, as they tend to, you can a) spot them and drag them back and b) if you don't see them, someone else will and they can call you to collect! Have Fun!
Eastnor Castle, Ledbury
Leave a cool box of food and drink treats in the boot of your car.
Suggested contents: bottle of rose wine/beer/cider, a selection of west country cheeses & biscuits, quince paste,
cherries, avocado, pittas, fresh fruit juice, chocolate digestives, other more toxic treats.
Why: On Sunday afternoon you can return some of your camping load to the car so you'll have one light and easy trip on leaving on the Monday. The treats are an incentive and a quick decadent foray out of a festival near the end makes you want to return and party harder than ever before.
Buy a cheap polyester shower curtain to sit on, it's waterproof, seats at least 3 people, rolls up small into a little poly sandwich bag and doubles as a makeshift poncho or kit cover when the rains come. Certainly made a lot of people jealous.
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