The Festival Survival Guide: the grime, the dirt, the fun!

When it comes to music festivals, you’re either a lover or a hater. Sure, I believe there is probably a middle ground, but that ground belongs to people who have never actually experienced a festival from anywhere other than their television sets. If you’re an attendee, you either love it or you hate it, and if you hate it, there’s a good chance that you won’t be going to one again. For me, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had from attending a festival- and those of you who know me in person may be surprised at that.

That’s because I don’t always rough it that well in the civilised world. I like to shower every morning, mostly because I like to be clean but at least a little bit because a blast of hot water to the head wakes me up quite well. For me, the day doesn’t begin without a shower. At a festival, though, you don’t get that luxury without having to queue for an uncomfortably long time, surrounded by other smelly people who would rather be getting more smelly rather than queuing for hours. Naturally, I sink my festival finances into the cleanliness basics, because at least you can then pretend that you are clean. Festival essentials for cleaning include baby wipes, for getting the dirt and grime for those places you need it the least, and bottles of water both for washing the smelly parts and for chucking over your head most mornings so you can feel partly alert. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of dry shampoo, either- it isn’t ideal, not even slightly, but it serves the purpose and gets you through the weekend. Of course, you also have to accept that no matter how much effort you go to, you’ll still end up looking like Stig of the Dump- and smelling like him, too. Even if you queue for a shower, I would give it approximately one hour until you’re covered in what I can only describe as Festival Detritus. The best bet is to either make rudimentary attempts, as listed above, or simply to accept your fate and invest in a beanie hat to cover up that bird’s nest that used to be your hair. The only saving grace is the reality that everybody else- or the vast majority of them, anyway- will be just as filthy you are.

And so I move on to toilet requirements, because why not? Let’s be fair- you’re not going to want to use festival loos unless you have to. As somebody who suffers from IBS, I normally don’t have much say when my bowels decide its evacuation time, but I think even I’ll be waiting until the eleventh hour to drop anchor. The horror stories you hear surrounding festival toilets are normally exaggerated, but that doesn’t mean that they’re heavenly. They’re not. Guys admittedly have a slight advantage, when it comes to urinating at least, because any hedge, tree, rock, tent or unconscious reveller is the equivalent of a urinal when the call of nature hits. If you’re of the female persuasion, you’re limited in your choice of solutions. There’s the she-wee, which, if you haven’t been doing your research, equips you with a funnel and a tube which equates to being a makeshift rubber penis, but it is quite possibly the most undignified way to urinate in history. I would honestly have more respect for a girl who just squats in the corner and slashes like a powerful horse. Here’s a somewhat patronising picture that assumes all women are idiots and displays exactly how a member of the fairer sex should go about using one- as if it wasn’t obvious already!

So the toilet situation is a case of using it when necessary, and you’re not likely to feel truly clean until you go home, so there’s only one solution- getting drunk and staying drunk. After all, alcohol and music festivals go together like Arnold Schwarzenegger and terrible accents. The one piece of advice I would offer is not to drink too heavily- just enough to stay in a constant state of merriment but not too much that you’ll forget the experiences. Of course, drinking too much also results in two other possible side effects, both negative in a festival environment- a hangover and the dreaded alcohol squits. Imagine rusty water firing out of your bum, and you aren’t far off. So, like all the best things in life, drink in moderation. And if like me you’re the designated driver, then stop drinking on the sunday- no excuses. Everybody that journeys with you still wants to get home in one piece even if their debauchery across the weekend suggested otherwise.

And one final thing:- have fun! Let loose, don’t take yourself too seriously, and embrace the experience, whether its your first festival or your twentieth. Even if you hate being dirty, its one weekend a year out of your life, so why waste the whole time being miserable?

With that said, I repeat what I said before: Roll on Download!


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