I love a Festival! They're not everyone's cup of tea, but many thousands of us all over the world, including us oldies, obviously feel the same way as I do because we now have 900 festivals in the UK alone this year to chose from, despite our crazy climate. For us baby boomers, who grew up dancing in a field, followed by crawling into a cold tent at night, it means getting back to our hippie roots for four hedonistic days & nights of utter freedom, in a kind of temporary bubble of happy, like-minded people being, doing and wearing whatever we like.... and I for one don't want to stop, not till I am dragging my zimmer frame through 3 inches of mud!
I like the whole camping, back to nature vibe as, for me, it just isn't the same going as a day visitor and then sitting in a traffic jam for hours trying to leave. However, at this age, I need more comfort than torture, and unless I am lucky enough to stay in a camper van these are my top tips on how to survive a a Festival without packing the kitchen sink and doing your back in carting all that stuff across miles of fields from the car!
Last year we went back to Latitude Festival, a big favourite of mine as it's a bit more grown up than many others, more oldies ageing disgracefully, and offers so much to do; from big name headliners to swimming in the lake or watching Ballet, there are simply not enough hours in the day! But, most importantly, they have a Glamping field, this year run by Pink Moon. There you can rent a ready erected tent complete with mattress and even a camping chair, pus the field has its own toilets, showers & a cafe. And it doesn't cost much more than one night in a good hotel. Best bit of all is not having to grapple with a pop up tent, which will not pop down whatever you do, after four days of walking miles, dancing and late nights. Worth every penny if you're 50+. Any age, come to think of it!
With accommodation sorted, I can now turn my thoughts to Festival Fashion and the essentials to make life a bit easier.
The one top tip I would pass on is to stick to a colour scheme to keep packing to a minimum and only take clothes you don't mind ruining| This year, I'm going for khaki and orange (apparently orange is the new black, so I will be bang on trend!). Khaki shorts & vest with a green and orange kimono and green wellies should do the trick during the day and whatever outfit I wear at night, I'll wear thermals underneath! I am even taking my Parka, as it will keep me warm and it will work with everything else. Toe nails and finger nails have been painted orange - tick!
Some of the Festival outfits I have worn in the past: Saturday night is dressing up night, but I am never without those thermals and a warm cardi and coat!
Comfort is also the name of the game when it comes to clothes, so I never take onesies or tight jeans. Always loose clothes, not too long, and easy to lift up or pull down in the main toilets, which are never pleasant especially in the dark! Sheepee urinals are gaining popularity at Festivals. I love them 'cause they have far shorter queues, but you do have to pee like a bloke standing up so another reason to not wear tight pants! Practise at home if you've never used one.
For day time, if it's mud free, I wear very comfortable sandals for walking miles, because you do walk miles....and miles.. The Fit Flops above have probably walked round the world several times I have had them so long. I also wear a small back pack which will contain a sarong or old pashmina to lie on or to wear, a pac a mac, sunnies, sun cream, tissues, camera & water.
When it comes to the bigger back pack, or suitcase, these are the other essentials to help make my life almost comfortable:
Packing essentials for me:
A highlighter!: Latitude Festival has an enormous programme, It's good to sit every morning and highlight what we want to see that day or you end up missing the best act in the world because you're the wrong end of the site.
A comfortable small pillow. Along with my sleeping bag, these are not items the Glamping fields provide, unless you're in an expensive five star, fully furnished Yurt. Must try one one day.....maybe when I'm older!
A thermos flask that keeps water hot for 24 hours! I will fill up at the cafe last thing at night so we can have coffee or tea bags first thing! This is a new buy this year and it works amazingly well. Very impressed.
Ear plugs, essential to block out the loud snoring from the next tent, let alone the music!
Minimal beauty routine in miniature sizes. It's really difficult to find things at night even with a..........
Head torch & black out mask. The mornings can be hideous too......the sun comes up, it gets boiling hot and you wake up needing to throw all your thermals off as soon as poss! The mask helps for siestas and snoozes.
And, most important of all, Travel Johns! The best thing ever for anyone who gets up in the night needing a pee. These are hygienic, non-smelly disposable urinals which turn solid once used so you can throw away in the morning! Best thing since sliced bread.
A few other must haves for this year that I'm trying for the first time are; a tankini (see my blog on this great alternative to a swimsuit/bikini) to go swimming in the lovely lake and it doubles up as a top to go with my khaki shorts; wet wipes that remove make up & hopefully clean me....surely if they're good enough for your face they're good enough for other parts of your anatomy - energy bars for those middle of the night munchies, and of course I mustn't forget a hat....and my plethora of head scarves!
If you're also going to a Festival, have a really great time & I hope my tips & the list below will help. All that remains for me is to pack some Vitamin C and a positive attitude! I'll blog after Latitude, so see you then.
MY PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR A FESTIVAL.
Sleeping bag, water bottle, disposable urinal, small towel, thermos flask, coffee & tea bags, mug, minimal skin care & make up, sunscreen, hat, swimmies, comfy shoes, wellies, tissues, loo paper, party but comfy clothes, pacamac, Parka, thermals, portable camping seat, head torch, insect repellant,ear plugs, eye mask, hat, sox, gloves, energy bars, a highlighter, vitamin C, lip balm & plenty of cash.