Nick’s Tip #21
Surviving a festival
Throughout the summer we will visit at least three possibly four festivals. For me by far the biggest and longest stay is my annual trip to Glastonbury. I will be boring you all with a regular update from Glasto at the end of June.
Here I will list a few tips that seem important to me. It is important to be prepared then you can relax and soak up the atmosphere.
- Make sure you have full bottles. This may seem obvious but last year I did see several people walking out of festival sites with a Calor gas bottle on their shoulder. At somewhere like Glastonbury there isn’t anywhere in walking distance that you could buy gas from. It is going to cook your dinner and run the fridge as well as warm up the water for the ever welcome shower. Warm cider is not a great thing….
- There will be no hook up. Make sure that your leisure battery is in good condition. If not, invest in a new one. I have heard so many vans running their engines to try and replenish their battery, this causes fumes and noise for other people. The reality is if the battery is good it will last for many days with sensible use. Remember to turn off lights that are not needed and keep electric usage to a minimum. A solar panel is the solution here; it will happily top up your battery all day long for free. See a previous tip for info on these.
- I wouldn’t normally advocate travelling with a full tank of water. This however would be an exception to that rule. At festivals there normally only a few standpipes for hundreds if not thousands of users. It pays to turn up with a full tank to avoid the queues. When you do need fill up, you will not be within a hose pipe length of the tap. You will need to consider how you will get the water back to the van then into the tank. My Bailey van comes with a pump like a caravan. This will lift the water from any vessel that you can carry it in. Before we had this van I either used a plastic watering can with a piece of pipe jubilee clipped to the spout to get the water into the tank or I used a caravan roller water barrel and a homemade 12v pump arrangement. The pump I used was a normal in barrel caravan pump with an extended hose attached. I extended the cable and added a 12v plug to fit the power outlet in the van, with a switch at the pump end this worked a treat.
Another useful item in water carrying armoury is the collapsible bucket. Just the same size as a normal bucket but collapses away to take up less storage space.
- Festivals can be wet. You may well find it difficult to exit what could become a muddy site. Have your own towing strap ready. This could save you time. Many 4×4 drivers are more than happy to demonstrate the ability of their tugging machines.
- You will want to leave the roll out awning extended, to provide shelter for the chairs and other stuff you have out. You will need to remember to take an “awning tie down strap”. The awnings can act like sails and an expensive replacement when they have blown over the van. This has happened to me on a caravan.
- Take enough food for the duration of the event, there will be probably won’t be a shop on site. There will of course be the standard food outlets that every festival has offering pizza, burgers, chips and the now ever so fashionable pulled pork. However this is great at night but most of us like to cook our own breakfast and possibly even lunch.
- Beer, wine and cider. Enough said? Take this in Plastic bottles, boxes or cans. Many festivals have a ban on glass.
- Wind breaks. Sounds strange?? One of the things I find at all festivals is that there is no shortage of people looking to take short cuts through the vans and tents. To steady the flow I put up a couple of wind breaks to hopefully guide people away from my patch. I don’t want to sound miserable here but late at night people are wandering around in vary degrees of sobriety and they will always trip over something that you have out. Better they are redirected..
- Toilet waste. Yes we do have to talk about it. At many of these events the Elsan is no more than a big steal vat with a hole in the corner. There will be no tap next to it to swill out the cassette. My tip here is to empty the cassette and then go back to the van and half fill the cassette from the grey water drain pipe. Then return to the Elsan and repeat as required. This also helps with getting rid of the grey waste.
- Wellies and waterproofs. Be prepared. You will all have seen the pictures of the famous Glastonbury mud. Unless you are a teenager (who enjoys sliding face down to delight the crowd) then you will need to be prepared for all weathers (this includes sun cream) wellies and water proofs are a must to have on board. Drying out muddy jeans in a motorhome or caravan will be a challenge to far. If the forecast says rain, then be prepared. This is another reason that you will want the awning out. It provides a dry space to hang said waterproofs to drip dry.
- A long day. When you go out no doubt it will be light. When you get back no doubt the sun will have gone down it will all look a bit different. At the bigger venues finding the van in the dark with a couple of ales on board can be a challenge. Remember where you have parked. A flag on a large pole is a winner possibly with LED solar lights on it. If you don’t have a flag, then look for the nearest one to your van and remember what it looks like.
- A few final tips. Take friends, make friends, take all your rubbish away, remove all pegs from the ground, pee only in the toilets, and enjoy.