10 Essential Tips & Items to take to a Summer Festival

10 Essential Tips & Items to take to a Summer Festival, by Samantha Barnes, ipaintdogs.com

This weekend, I’m working at Latitude Festival here in Suffolk.  My workshops are called ‘Draw Your Dog’ and I’ll be targeting anyone that needs a sit-down and some time out!  This is my fifth year of working the festival, and below you will find my share of top-tips learned over the years.

I am absolutely not a festival girl.  Carl, my husband is, he revels in them from start to finish - but for me, the idea of gazillions of people in a muddy field was a complete no-no until I was asked to show my work at Latitude in 2015.

Up until that point, my experience of festivals consisted pretty much of village event, day ones at that.  Home for a hot bath after an early morning start was my kind of do. Yet, after that first weekend festival event, I’m hooked.

I’m still not and never will be a Glastonbury girl (way too big for me) but I am now super-comfortable at these events.  We take our children each year, and a couple of guests too. Writing to our pals that are coming to join us this week, I wrote out the following items to bring with, and thought I’d share them with you.

  1. Mozzie repellent.  As good as you can get.

  2. After bite cream.  Lanacane is good

  3. Sun cream.  Essential, even on cloudy days.

  4. Refillable water bottle.  There are water stands everywhere as most festivals now don’t sell single-use plastic.  Take one per person.

  5. Picnic Blanket - perfect for drop and watch anytime.

  6. Good shoes - trainers are great, sandles if they are sturdy.  Flip-flops make for tough walking, which you will be doing much of.

  7. If you are taking young children, a good idea is to either use a marker pen or sharpie to write your mobile number on their arms!    Carl and I used to write both our numbers, one on each arm.

  8. A hat of some sort.

  9. A rain poncho.  Layer up with thin layers so you can remove them and they aren’t too bulky to carry in your day bag.  The rain poncho will slip over the lot. I bought a few from Home Bargains for £1.70 each. I didn’t opt for the thin clear ones as the slightly better ones can be used again and again.

  10.  Money.    Festivals can be expensive so a bit of prior planning works really well and stops you from overspending.  A meal out is at least £10 a plate. Do a big ole shop before you go, (a few suggested items below) but the name of the game is to keep tummies full with nibbles and protein throughout the day, especially with children.  Now our kids are teenagers, they have independence at these events. We supply them with £30 each, in fivers for their own spends for the full weekend - and we give ourselves about £50 per day for drinks and essentials if we need it.  (not £50 each).

Couple of additional things:

You are at a festival, daunting yes the first time, but once you have had a scout around and gotten your bearings, you will love it.

Food shop:

The below items are for a family of 4  which include two very hungry teenagers.

Morning:    Bacon wraps, perhaps with an omlette in too.  Try to eat as many as you can of these.  Wraps work brilliantly and are easy to construct!  No butter needed either. Stuff yourselves!

Snacks to keep in day bags:  Nuts (if no allergies of course) Oatcakes, the ones with cheese in are lovely and always readily received.   I’d leave the crisps at the tent, they don’t fill up and take up too much space.

Lunch:  We tend not to have lunch as still stuffed from breakfast wraps

About 4-6pm:  If back at the tent, some baked beans or packets of rice work well here, the easy-camp risotto packets are great, some crisps.  If not at the tent, then I would be tempted to purchase a meal here if you have the budget. Curry is fab and will keep them full.  Opt for protein based meals, beans, pulses or meat if you eat it. The idea is for stomachs to be full, full, full.

Later in the evening:  If in the arena and the kids ask, A plate or two of chips is great and not too expensive.  Don’t forget if you add a burger you’ll be looking at another £10 - stuff them with chips! You are at a festival, proper eating can be resumed the week after!

Keep drinking water.

Lastly, Loos!

Ok, so festival loos are never glamorous but you get used to them fast.  They do have hand-sanitiser and most are kept topped up with loo-roll which is why I’ve not put it as one of my top-takes to the festival.  They are rarely utterly disgusting these days but you’ll want to be in and out as fast as you can. DO NOT KEEP YOUR MOBILE PHONE IN YOUR POCKET!!   

My last point is that you are at a festival, don’t restrict your fluids so you won’t have to pee.  You’ll get used to them, I promise!

I think that’s the lot, I hope you enjoy your time. 

Don’t forget your smile and enjoy!

Sam x 

Draw your dog workshop with Samantha Barnes, ipaintdogs.com

If you are at Latitude Festival this year, come and say hello.  I’m just outside of the kids area, by the lake. Come & learn to Draw Your Dog!  For those not at the festival, I’m running a FREE online 30 min workshop via my ipaintdogs Facebook page on Saturday 3rd August at 11am.  It’s going to be great fun. You can join up here or below, those that have qualify for a gift after our session.

With love, Sam x

Thanks to Annie Spratt for the Latitude photograph.