Preparing for Overseas Festivals

Overseas music festivals are becoming increasingly popular, creating blending a relaxing holiday with the great vibe of outdoor music events.

Whatever your musical preferences, there’s an event to suit your taste. 2011 sees DJs from all over the world appearing at Sensation in Amsterdam, stunning orchestral delights at the Rossini Opera Festival in Italy and the likes of Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys headlining at Benicàssim in Spain.

So once you’ve booked your festival tickets, it’s time to start preparing.  Packing the right stuff can be particularly difficult for overseas festivals, so to ensure you’re fully prepared, here’s a handy checklist of the items you don’t want to be caught without.

Day Tripping

Day festivals are a great way to enjoy the music and fun of international events, but without the backpacks, bent tent pegs and baking hot tents. You still need to be prepared though, so make sure to bring:

·         Tissues and toilet roll – Don’t be caught out– even at day festivals the portaloos can run out of paper within hours

·         Sun block – Hopefully you’ll need plenty of this!

·         Camera – Great for capturing those festival memories, but try not to lose it! Make sure it has a strap and a sturdy case for protection

·         Warm clothing – When the sun goes down the temperatures can drop, so wrap up warm with plenty of layers

·         Cash – Most festivals have cashpoints, but these often gather hefty queues. Plan ahead and only bring as much money as you need. Consider stashing some cash in your sock and leave a note of the card numbers at home to make cancellation easier should your wallet be lost or stolen

·         Raincoat – This will be your best friend if a shower strikes and comes in handy for sitting on too

·         Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser – Because portaloos aren’t the nicest places!

Camping essentials

Some of the biggest and best festivals run for days and camping is a great way to soak up the atmosphere. Research the weather of the area you’re visiting before you leave so that you can prepare yourself accordingly. You’ll appreciate a lighter load when it comes to lugging your belongings on the plane, so make sure to only pack what you can carry. At no point should you leave home without:

·         Tent and sleeping bag – Even the most hardcore festival-goers needs to rest sometimes. Your tent will be your home for the duration of the festival, so make sure it’s sturdy enough to stand possible rain showers and the odd trampling from inebriated neighbours

·         Torch – Keep one with you at all times. It will come in handy when making the obstacle-littered journey back to your tent in the dark

·         Solid footwear – Flip flops are great when it’s sunny, but can leave you with sore feet in the middle of a crowd. Invest in some comfy and protective footwear so you don’t get trampled  toes

·         Gaffer tape – This will mend everything from broken tent poles to leaky wellies – a vital piece of festival kit

·         Wet wipes – If there’s no shower in sight, these will help to keep you festival fresh and (relatively) odour-free. They’re also perfect for refreshing yourself throughout the day

·         Mallet – Most people forget this but it’s an essential piece of kit for setting your tent up on hard or rocky ground

·         First-aid kit – Keep it stocked with plasters, antiseptic cream and painkillers. It helps to have some rehydration sachets and multi-vitamins handy too

The bonus bits

These little luxuries aren’t essential, but will help to make your festival experience even better:

·         Airbed or sleeping mat – Sleep is precious at a festival, so it helps to do all you can to make it as comfy as possible – these will cushion your back from lumpy ground and keep you warmer on chilly nights

·         Easy food – A few handy packets of crisps or cereal bars will be just enough to tide you over until you can stagger to the nearest food stall

·         Blanket or rug – Saves you from a muddy seat and perfect as an extra layer if the temperatures drop. The PVC-backed variety are ideal – you may be grateful for the water-resistant layer

·         Dry shampoo – A perfect quick-fix to keep you looking at your festival best. A spritz of this powdered magic can give even the most beer-stinking, greasy locks a new lease of life

What not to pack

Don’t be tempted to take anything that you’d hate to lose or have soaked in beer. Most festivals have lock-ups where you can stash car keys or precious items that you need to keep safe. Leave your expensive smart phone at home and grab a cheap mobile to take with you – not only will it save you a fortune if it gets dropped or lost, but the battery life will last longer too.