We’re in the throes of festival season, so now seems as good a time as any to give you some tips from the two times I’ve been to Leeds Festival (2010 and 2014).
Both years I had some friends who had earlybird tickets, so they offered to set up tents for those of us without. In 2010 we were in the White Camp, which was actually really good- it was close to the main area and not too far from other bits and pieces like the silent disco and the Relentless tent. In 2014, the map had changed a bit, so we were between Red and Blue camps. This was a good placement again, although we were on a hill.
One of the first things I went and did both times, after getting all set up in my tent was to show my ID in exchange for an over-18 wristband, I’d definitely recommend getting one as you never know where it’ll come in handy and it’s much easier than wrestling your ID out of your pocket/bag any time you might need it.
As you can see in the picture above, a good idea is to get a festival sweater early on. You can take it off if you get too warm or put it on if you’re cold, and they’re fairly lightweight but still keep you warm. Another thing is that they have the line-up on the back, so I found myself making friends who were checking my back to see who was playing that day. On that note, getting a lanyard with the map and the stage times on is another top tip. Don’t forget to bring your waterproofs! That means, as everyone knows, wellies, but also I’d recommend a cheap, fold-up parka that you can whip out of your bag in case of rain. You’ll also want to bring something warm for night time, as it really does get quite cold, and I had leggings, pyjama pants and 3 pairs of socks on most nights and still ended up feeling freezing. I didn’t actually get a jumper for 2014 because I took my onesie to sleep in, in anticipation of the cold. Another piece of advice is not to get your waterproofs from Primark. I loved my little pocket parka, but it wasn’t particularly waterproof, and as soon as it rained, I got really soggy.
Now, in 2010 I was the beacon of all righteousness preaching on about not taking your smartphone with you. I went against my own advice and took it in 2014, along with my portable charger (an absolute must). It was a lot easier to find the maps and information from the app, and actually the signal wasn’t too bad, surprisingly. It’s also easier to get pictures from your phone than from a little disposable camera.
Getting down to the barriers on a day when you know you want to be there for a headliner can seem like a great idea but you’ll either end up dehydrated, or, if you bring water with you, needing the toilet. Also, your feet will ache for ages, but I’d definitely say it was worth it to see the headliners from a great vantage point, especially if it’s one of your favourite bands! (Blink-182 both times for me.)
I ended up separated from my friends in 2010 and that definitely dampened the spirits so I’d recommend agreeing with your friends where you’re going to go beforehand so you don’t end up lonely for an entire day. Having a large group can be better so people who would rather do one thing can go off together whilst the rest of you go do something else.
The signing tent can be pretty good but prepare yourself for the distinct possibility (which happened to me with All Time Low) that it has not been organised so well and that you may stand around for ages but not get to meet the band.
The comedy tent is a good place to hang out when there’s nobody on that you particularly want to see, also at night time they tend to show movies. The sofa from Friends also made an appearance in 2014 and there were henna stands and even carnival rides!
Another tip for you is to make friends with security. They’ll often give you little tips on the stage times and setlists, and if you’ve committed to staying in one place all day they’ll likely be stood right in front of you the whole time, too.
Basically just try and have a great time and use the festival as an opportunity to escape everything for a few days – you can eat, drink and sleep when you get home!
Have you ever been to a festival? Have you been to Leeds? Are you going to one?! Let me know!