For enquiries and bookings, call 01442 400786 or 07960 828861

10 tips for festival packing

After many years painting at festivals, I’ve got my packing down to a fine art!  Here’s my top ten tips.




1. Take a trolley: it seems there is always a mile to walk every day and you might not know how far it is back to camp – often a 45-minute walk across fields of grass or mud or dusty roads, up hills, tripping over guy ropes… just exhausting after a long day of painting. Then try to rest a bit, eat, get changed and out again to enjoy some music and then the return walk in the late evening!  A trolley is essential for transporting everything you’ll need.


2. Be prepared for all weather!

It gets cold … always take a really warm coat (I always take my down puffa) for the evening round the camp, hat, scarf, and bed socks for the nights. And one super warm jumper (cashmere is my luxury).  Remember plenty of insulation from the ground, plus warm sleeping bags or duvets and blankets – take more than you think you’ll need. 

It can (usually does) rain … always take a raincoat – even a cheap thin plastic type works, and doesn’t take up much space.  Take wellies or walking boots  (my favoured alternative – I hate wellies).

It can get very hot … remember sunscreen, thin clothes, hat and flipflops/sandals.

It can get very windy … make sure you have proper guy ropes for your tent – don’t skimp on hammering plenty in.  Always bring extra tent pegs (someone will forget).


3. Food: I highly recommend you share food and kitchen with another person.  Agree to cook a few meals each, then freeze them.

Arrival day you carry unfrozen.  Wrap the meals in newspaper for extra insulation and pack in the cool box with frozen milk, juice and ice packs, then your whole cool box is full of frozen stuff which lasts a bit longer.

Freeze fresh pasta and bring packets of pre-cooked rice or similar.  Then just heat up on the evening (you’ll be too exhausted to want to cook from scratch). Remember fruit and snacks.



4. Tent: I invested in a bell rent – such bliss to be able to stand up! You can pretty easily put it up on your own.  It’s heavy to carry, so make sure you have your trolley.  I like a cheap simple old-fashioned camp bed, which packs small, but keeps you off the ground.   A couple of roll-up mats on there and my double duvet wrapped under and over! Blanket on top – snuggly warm!  You may like earplugs and eye mask if you’re a light sleeper.


5. Gazebo: This doubles as camp kitchen and camp gathering place in wet times. It’s best to bring two to put together if there are a few of you in camp. Always secure firmly with good tent pegs and extra guy ropes.  String a rope across the inside for drying things.

I bring two camping chairs – someone always forgets and sits in yours! (make sure you put them away at night…)

I usually bring an extra table or two if I have space – great for the kitchen for the little camping stoves.

Try to keep the camp organised and tidy.  Plastic boxes can keep things separate and easily found.



6. Water: Bring a reusable bottle and refill at water points.  Bring a coffee/tea cup. Avoid using anything disposable.  Bring a plastic cup from home and thread a ribbon through a hole so you can carry it.

Bring a big water carrier and wheels to take it to the water source. Bribe someone to fill it regularly!  It’s easier if it is resting on a high surface with a tap.  Keep a bucket under the tap to save water.


7. Washing up: Bring a good kit – one or two washing up bowls, scrubby sponge, washing-up liquid, wiping and drying cloths. Always scrape the plates as clean as possible with grass or scrap paper before you wash up.   Use hot cooking water for rinsing first.


8. Firepit: Check if you are allowed to bring one. Someone in our group usually brings a metal firepit and many others bring wood to burn – it really can transform the camp atmosphere and keeps you warm in the evening – toasted marshmallows too.



9. Toilets and showers: These are hit and miss… but improving at most festivals nowadays. The least smelly are the compost toilets.  You never know how far the toilet block is…  you may like to consider bringing a potty for night time!  (I do!)

You may or may not be provided with a shower.  Try to use it in the middle of the day when no-one else will be queueing. Take a plastic bag to put your clothes and towel in – it’s always very wet and flooded and rarely a proper shelf or many pegs.  Flip- flops are good too.

Try to avoid baby wipes for washing… just boil some water and use a flannel.

Bring a first aid kit and insect bite cream and repellent.


10. Extras:

  • Torch … I highly recommend a wind-up one so you don’t need batteries. Avoid using your phone as a torch – you’ll need the phone for more important things.
  • Phone … try, try, try not to use it – make the most of seeing the real thing with your own eyes!  Turn off at night completely. Bring two battery packs if you have, and charging cables (someone always needs one).  There are often phone charging tents.  Wi-Fi is often appalling.
  • Rubbish and recycling bags
  • Spare tarpaulin in case of rain during packing down
  • Backpack …bring a small day pack to carry stuff
  • Securitykeep your valuables with you – use a bum bag for money