Dos and don’ts for surviving a British festival

Whether you’re going to Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury or Wireless, this is HUNGER’s guide to surviving a British festival.

British festivals have become something of a cultural touchstone. Sitting in stark contrast to the sanitised likes of Coachella, a British festival conjures up images of people arsing about in muddy puddles, Kate Moss in tiny shorts, someone playfully hitting someone else over the head with whatever festival apparatus they can find, toilets more fitting for farm animals… and various narcotics. While most Brits have been fine-tuning how they handle a festival since attending Reading and Leeds back in their teenage years, for those less-inclined towards a sweaty tent, this summer might feature their very first one. More realistically? You do attend a festival most years, but because of absolutely caning it on each occasion, you never learn how to do it any better next time. No matter what the circumstances are, HUNGER has compiled a list of dos and don’ts for attending a festival and making it out without having lost too many brain cells. 

Do bring wellies

Trawl through mud in those limited edition trainers and you’ll spend the next day desperately searching whether they’d survive a go in the washing machine — a surefire way to make that comedown even worse.

Don’t push over a portaloo

Would you like to get covered in shit and piss? Probably not, so don’t do it to someone else unless you want to spend the Monday after Reading and Leeds heading to your local catholic church to confess your sins. 

Do be careful what your festival wristband is trailing around in

We’d argue there’s a flaw in the design of festival wristbands — they probably shouldn’t have that long, dangly bit that’s just rife for picking up the remnants of your disgusting shenanigans. We don’t know what the solution to that is exactly, but we’d say it is imperative that you’re not carrying around the same germ profile as a toilet seat on your wrist. Trim them? Tuck them up? Use your imagination. 

Image credit: SWNS

Don’t paint your body with references to ketamine

Oh, you do drugs? Sick! That’s so sick, man. If you’re that kind of person, the chances are you’ll spend enough time talking about ketamine as it is — you don’t need to advertise it on your body, too. Also, the fact you’ve had to pop on Amazon and order some paints specifically for that purpose… That’s just sad, isn’t it?

Don’t paint your tent with references to ketamine

Ditto. Imagine the sigh your Dad will do when he gets that tent down from the loft a few months later. Well done, you’re a disappointment to the family again. 

Don’t sleep with one of the guys working in a food van

Yes, they’re charming. Yes, they’re selling you cheesy chips for the low, low price of £15. No, they probably don’t mean it when they say they’d like to see you at Boomtown. 

Do bother with the guy ropes

Apparently they do serve quite a key role in maintaining the structural integrity of your tent. Also, people tripping over your guy ropes? Never ceases to be funny. 

Do model your festival look after one of those pictures of Kate Moss

Teeny tiny shorts, something metallic, a boho bag, and Hunter wellies — it’s a festival look for the ages. 

Don’t model your festival look after one of those pictures of Kate Moss

You don’t look like Kate Moss. 

Do remember where your tent is.

The only acceptable reason to adorn your tent in references to drugs. “What twat’s tent is that,” you ask? It’s mine! And I shan’t be forgetting that any time soon. 

Image credit: Annie Spratt

Don’t post a video of your mate in a K-hole onto your Instagram stories

They’ll already have anxiety thanks to how long they rambled on about that tree, or how “mental” the lights looked. Don’t make it even worse. 

Don’t do a second by second play-by-play of the festival on your Instagram stories

Good rule of thumb: if someone’s not paid for a ticket to a festival, the chances are they’re not that interested in seeing your shaky videos of that DJ set, or flash photos of your mates with suspiciously big eyes.

Do make your tent a no-shoes zone

Thanks for inviting me back to your tent. I’m going to leave, because it smells like human shit, and the floor is brown. 

Do bring a portable charger 

This might come as a surprise to the Gen Alphas attending their very first Reading and Leeds, but fields don’t tend to have many plug sockets. The solution to that lies in none other than a portable charger — perfect for the many pictures of your mates that you’ll be asked to delete the day (or mere hours) after. Goodhood did a rather nice one in collaboration with gomi that’s made of recycled plastics, which is a great one to show off to the white and dreadlocked crowd. 

Don’t think it’s funny to sneak alcohol (or drugs) in tailor-made alcohol-smuggling (or drug-smuggling) devices

It’s not that legendary to have gone on Pretty Little Thing and bought a hair scrunchie with a tiny zip compartment on it. 

Do shower

Sometimes a wet wipe just doesn’t cut it. When people in the crowd for Coldplay all backed away from you, it wasn’t because they were creating a kind of dance circle — it was because you stink.

Image credit: Shuttershock

Don’t fuck about with someone else’s tent

You pissed in it? You set fire to it? Not cool, and not clever. When you’re lying on your deathbed and someone asks if you have any regrets, it will be messing with that hapless person’s tent circa 2k24. 

Don’t assume a “child-friendly” festival will be that “child-friendly”

Sure, you can plonk them in a tent to do arts and crafts, but it’s likely they’ll bear witness to someone having a shroom-induced transcendental experience on the way. 

Don’t arse around in a muddy puddle

You may feature in a semi-viral LADbible video, but you no longer have your dignity. 

Don’t get roped into the new-age stuff

Given the amount of narcotics you’re ingesting, it’s fairly like an existential crisis is already on the cards. Don’t complicate that by sitting through a crash-course in spiritualism. 

Do get roped into the new-age stuff

For about three minutes last night, you thought you were Jesus resurrected. Arguably, it can’t get much worse. 

Do bring earplugs

You can’t bang on about how “insane” the Horse Meat Disco set was if you have tinnitus. We like these ones from Loop, which are in collaboration with Tomorrowland Festival. 

Image credit: Loop Earplugs

Do take your wellies home

Yes, you pissed in one of them when you were really mashed up the previous night, but you’ve kind of got to deal with the consequences of that — you’ve got to listen to numerous people ask why there’s such a strong stench of wee on the train home. 

Don’t go back to someone else’s tent

… They haven’t washed their sleeping bag since Latitude ‘08. 

Do break your short bout of veganism for a £25.00 burger

Just don’t do it right next to the Extinction Rebellion meet and greet tent.

Do bring suncream

Shedding a tear because you’re sitting in the medical tent, missing the Fred Again set thanks to a bout of sunstroke — it’s not that cool. It’s certainly not getting you any closer to shagging that girl in the matching polyester set. 

Do make friends with a bunch of randoms, hang out for six hours, tell them you love them, swap details, then never speak to them again

What’s to lose? 

Don’t go to see your favourite band wearing a t-shirt for said band

You look like a wanker.

Do take your comedown-addled self to see the band that you have been banging on about for six months

Cry later. 

WriterAmber Rawlings
Banner Image CreditThe Festival / Film4 Productions