More and more I hear that people feel at least a little anxious ahead of a big event, even when it is something they are really excited about. This might be a party, a trip to somewhere new or even a music festival.
Well, it is festival season and my first festival of the year is coming up (Glastonbury, yey). This got me thinking about how I was feeling in the run up to the first time I went back in 2015, and some of the questions I had, but didn’t ask for fear of seeming lame.
I thought I’d share these as FAQs so that hopefully, someone going for the first time might read this and have their questions answered, feel less anxious, or at least realise their questions are not uncommon.
I also asked the group I go with for some of their thoughts, which I have included.
I should add that the first year we went together, we were virtual strangers hoping for the best. And it was just that. THE BEST!
You know who you are you fabulous campers!
Ok, lets start.
What if I get separated from the people I am with? The honest answer is that at some point you probably will get separated. Agree with the people you are with what you will do if this happens. Is it every man/woman for themselves, or do you all walk around looking for each other? It maybe that you agree to meet at a specific landmark or at the next band/show you were planning to see. You could go and do your own thing for a little while, you meet new people or discover something you would never have otherwise come across.
What if the people I am with don’t want to do/see the same things as me? Can you compromise on seeing something you want to? If not, arrange to meet your friends later and go alone to see what you want to see.
What if I need help? There are marshalls and stewards who are there to help. They’re super friendly and volunteer their time to be there. There probably isn’t a question they have not been asked. There are also medical and first aid facilities. I have been lucky enough to not have needed to use them, but I know a man who has.
I’ve never slept in a tent before or even camped, how will I survive 5 nights? This was me my first year. What did I learn that year?
• A 2 man tent cannot accommodate two men (not that I tried). I struggled to sleep comfortably and I am just over 5ft tall. Get advice on tents especially regarding size and making sure it is rain proof (just in case). No one likes a soggy bed.
• Sleep in something warm. Even though it is summer, at night it can get very cold so get a sleeping bag that will protect you from minus temperatures.
• Take a small torch, it will be helpful to avoid tripping over tent guy ropes, and for seeing when you get into your tent at night. I should add that main walkways, toilets etc. are very well lit.
How will I find my tent at the end of the night? The best thing is to note key landmarks. It could be the lights from a particular stage, the name of a stall or food van, flags and the tents either side of yours. It’s such a triumph the first time you do this.
I have the bladder of a gnat, are there toilets everywhere? There a blocks of toilets on most walk and stage routes. If you are someone who needs to tinkle as soon as you wake up on a morning, a receptacle of some kind in your tent is a lifesaver.
How can I avoid big crowds? Crowds are unavoidable at Glastonbury, but you can make it a little easier for yourself.
• Stand further back when watching acts, you don’t need to be right at the front. This will also make it easier for you to leave at the end or to go get food or drink. You actually get a better view a bit further back.
• Avoid exiting or entering the main stages at the end of a set, maybe just hang back 10 minutes or so, or leave a little before the end if you can.
• Don’t drink a lot while watching acts at busy stages, or you’ll be trying to get through a crowd with a full bladder…..a lot!
What if there are people under the influence? There may be, but it shouldn’t affect you. You don’t need to do or try anything you don’t want to. If you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation.
What if I forget to bring something I really need? If this happens, you can actually buy most things at the festival, although they will cost a bit more. If you’ve packed the below, you’re winning!
• Glastonbury ticket (without this, you aren’t getting in)
• Medication (if you have been prescribed any)
• Sleeping bag
• Air mattress (unless you are hard-core and can sleep on the floor)
• Change of clothes (the basics)
I could go on forever but I will stop for now.
The last thing I’d like to get across is let the excitement build, and enjoy every moment whilst you are there. You will not regret going!