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Festivals are where you go to relegate your wardrobe to the annuls of ‘muddy write-off’.  They are dens of crack addicts, blearing beats and drenching drizzle.  For all this luxury, it seems, there is a unfathomably high price tag, not just to get there in the first place, but also to generally operate as a human being once inside the festival compound.

These are the reasons why, until last week, I had never been festivalling.  However, there many opportunities in life when ‘reasons’ thankfully fall by the wayside in favour of blind optimism, and the opportunity of Beach Break Live seemed like one of them. 

Beach Break Live, aside from being relentlessly brilliant and unbelievably sunny, taught me that my  reservations about festivals were actually largely well-founded.  Luckily, I discovered that such issues could be sidestepped without too much fuss.

So here, in my own little way, are my tips for festivalling without the fuss! 

  1. Everything stinks, so keep a lil’ bottle of antibac hand gel in your pocket at all times and evaporate away those portaloo smears. 
  2. Socks, take lots of them.  Nothing worse than having to start the day by putting on wet socks.
  3. Make friends with bar staff.  They will often be bored for large parts of the day, so take the opportunity to chat with nice people, then reap the benefits when you return later (queue jump, discounts, extra measures…).
  4. Wear something distinctive.  It is a conversation starter, and people will remember you.  I opted for a silver sequinned baseball cap. 
  5. Sneaking in booze becomes not only a skill, but an artform.  There are checkpoints at the gate, at checkpoints, and all around the site itself.  The crotch seems to be a hotspot for storing boozes, since it rarely receives thorough searching.  Most successful, for me, was the humble bag of wine (taken out of its cardboard box enclosure), which can mould to any part of the body.
  6. Following on from tip 5, vodka bottles often fit snugly into Pringles cartons, which can be reclosed with superglue.
  7. Dancing like a lunatic is enjoyable, good exercise, and in no way socially ostracising behaviour.  However, it can cause valuable items to fly from your person unnoticed.  My solution was to put everything in a wee plastic bag, then tie a lanyard to both the bag and my belt, before pocketing it (See Pic).  Like keeping valuables on a leash.  It would be a shame to have to restrain dancing for such a teeny practicality. 
  8. Locate a source of water and frequent it.  Water is good.
  9. Arrive seriously early.  Beat the queues, beat the frustration, spend the first day lounging about rather than waiting around.  If you fancy sneaking anything in, this is a similarly good time, since no staff tend to know what is going on until later in the proceedings.
  10. Work.  Work gets you: money; free ticket; free food; cool ID passes; contacts; friends; access to the site before everything kicks off and before security arrive; nicer campsites; fun parties; CV fodder; more friends.  Top tip, this one.

Armed with these earned pearls of wisdom*, I shall be hitting festivals more often, and I hope that you will too.  Feel free to leave tips of your own; I’ll happily expand this list to include your ideas too!

* Though I say so myself!

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