Sometimes it’s fun to hang out in a herd!

We’ve just had a long Bank Holiday in the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Two days off work seemed like an ideal opportunity to go camping… but a different sort of camping this time. Rather than a jam-packed car load, I managed to pack light:

Normally I only camp in small campsites, but this weekend I stayed in a massive temporary campsite with 36,000 others at the Big Church Festival .

It was great fun – I can’t think the last time I went to a big concert! The weather was very mixed, but Rend Collective and Melissa & Jonathan Helser still sounded great even in the rain!

I haven’t camped at a festival like this before, but as a beginner hear are my tips:

  • how will you transport your kit? If your car is parked 3 fields away how will you get your stuff to where you are pitching? My big backpack was good for this, but a trolley would have been even better.
  • where are the toilets? You don’t want to pitch too near the toilets as they might smell and you’ll hear people banging the doors all night. On the other hand you don’t want to have to walk miles to the toilet or to the water tap.
  • pack emergency loo roll. I didn’t think of this, but fortunately my buddy did. It’s unfortunate if the portaloo runs out of toilet paper just when you need it.
  • remember a water container. You’ll need something to carry water from the tap back to your tent.
  • take bin bags. Always handy to have a black bag with you for your rubbish or to double as a waterproof rug when the ground is damp… or your chair has been rained on. Little disposal bags are also handy for a little in-tent dustbin and because portaloos often don’t have bins in them.
  • remember your waterproofs. I got good use out of my waterproof jacket and also it was handy to be able to wear my waterproof trousers to sit on the damp grass in the morning when cooking and washing up. We also found a big umbrella useful for sitting under at a concert in the rain!!
  • do you want to be able to sit in comfort? We took our folding chairs and enjoyed being able to sit in comfort at the concert… but maybe you’re more of a raver than me and will be dancing at the front!
  • always pack emergency food. The first night the food vans let us down – there only seemed to be one open and naturally it had a mile long queue!! Fortunately we’d packed emergency pasta, stir-in sauce, tinned sweetcorn and tinned rice pudding. So we got out the trusty trangia and cooked up some dinner.
  • collapsible gadgets come into their own in this sort of situation. In the picture above you can see our collapsible washing up bowl doubling as a mini table! It was also very useful for washing up in, along with a tiny bottle of washing up liquid and a sponge scourer that I’d cut in half (to make it smaller & to make me feel less bad about throwing it away afterwards)
  • a battery pack to enable you to recharge your phone is very handy. Also remember to put your phone on aeroplane mode overnight – I forgot and the poor phone spent all night looking for signal and drained the battery!
  • to avoid getting lost take a flag & flag pole, so you can pick your tent out of the vast expanse of tents stretching in all directions!

Happy camping!

L