With this year’s Download Festival fast approaching, our very own festival veteran Thomas McLean takes you through the best ways to make sure you enjoy this year’s festival and make it out alive on the Monday morning.
Bring your own food: You might not completely agree with this, but at a festival like Download where you aren’t going to find a cheeseburger for less than a fiver, bringing and cooking your own food is a the simplest way to make sure you have enough of your hard earned pennies for more beer and merch.
Bring money: If the afore mentioned isn’t for you, then you will need to make sure that you bring enough money for food. A burger and chips will set you back around £7 a go and the prices everywhere are matching no matter what delicacy you decide to go for on the day. Also make sure that you have enough incase you run out of beer because on the festival grounds you will be looking at around £30 a crate for replacements.
Bring a first aid kit: Yes, I know that this is going to be the first thing on your mind when you are packing for the festival, but when you are away all day moshing cuts and bruises happen so something as simple as putting a plaster onto that wee cut you have keeps you out of the medical tent with a nasty infection. Also pack paracetamol because as is always at a festival you are going to wake up the next day with that killer hangover wondering exactly what you did last night and why you have an inflatable sheep in the tent beside you. Taking two of these wonder pills will mean the difference between seeing that band you came all the way to see or lying in your tent will that thumping head.
Bring suitable shoes: Those Doc Martins, or that pair of Converse that you have might look great but are they really the most suitable thing to be waiting to a festival. I mean at the beginning and end of every day you will have the 20 or so minute walk to and from the festival grounds. So are they really the best thing for you to be wearing not only are they going to be uncomfortable for walking in but they will also get destroyed especially if the good old British summer comes true and it pours, so ask yourself before you go do you really want those nice and expensive pair of shoes/boots getting destroyed at a weekend away in England? The best thing to do is to get a pair of cheep walking boots or even trainers, though with trainers more often than not you will end up with wet feet, that cost around £15 to £20 that you don’t really care about and can throw away at the end of the weekend. Also have a different pair of shoes and clothes to travel in, and keep them separate from the rest of your clothing over the weekend, so you feel comfortable on what can turn out to be a long trip.
Bring your own booze: Alcohol is a must for over the weekend, just make sure that when you are buying and packing you do it right. Do not buy bottles of beer, and any spirits you buy in a glass bottle, make sure that you transfer the contents over to a plastic one, like a coke bottle, unless you want to wave goodbye to your precious vodka at the gates to the campsite. Make sure when travelling that you pack appropriately, if you are travelling on something like a happy bus then I wouldn’t suggest that you take much beer with you. It is a short walk into Castle Donington where there is a Co-Op which always seem to have some form of deal on for the festival weekend. If you are travelling down by car then taking your own beer is very much an option here, if you have the space. If you don’t take your own beer and don’t fancy the walk into the town there is a shuttle bus that runs into the town, I think it’s around about £1 each way so it’s hardly breaking the bank and you will save a fortune rather than buying onsite.
Make sure you pack enough clothes: If you have bought the 5 day camping ticket and intend to go for the 5 days, that means you will need at least 5 changes of shirts, boxers and socks. I would take at least that but more in the reason of 8 or 9 of each, just incase, because you never know when the heavens are going to open, or if that sea of mud looks good to go for a slide in.
Take a water bottle: In the arena and campsite there is water points scattered about where you can fill up water bottles. I’m not saying take a big 30 litre container with you, but just something that you can hold water in, especially if you have brought your own food and that is pasta or noodles. Having water around is also quite handy when it comes to a hangover, seeing as a hangover is mainly being dehydrated, or you could just grab the conventional warm beer and get straight back on it.
Pack a bag for the arena: Take a bag with you into the arena; you can keep a jacket in it, as you never know when the rain is going to come, if it’s like the past two years all the rain will be saved for the Sunday. You can also have other essentials in it, like an empty water bottle and sun cream, yes real men do put sun cream on.
Bring a camping chair: This means that you have somewhere to sit that isn’t the cold wet ground, these are light weight and don’t take up much room in your tent. Just stash them away in your tent when you aren’t around it and keep away chair thieves. You can pick up a chair for about £5 in Tesco just now.
Baby wipes: You are at a festival a shower will be a distant memory by the time you get to Monday, keep yourself fresh and spelling slightly better than the other sweaty metal head beside you by having a wash with some baby wipes. You will feel a lot better in the morning if you have a quick wipe down before you leave your tent.
Take toilet paper: More often than not when you go to the toilets they will be out of paper, and buying your own roll in the village will cost about £1 bringing a few of your own might save your life more than you know.
Bring your common sense: Download is a great festival, and the atmosphere is great, but if it is just your intention to go and get completely wasted then you just aren’t going to enjoy it. You will find that you are making more enemies than friends, especially when you wake up in a strangers tent, and it’s owner isn’t always happy to see you either. As I have said Download is a great festival as long as you have a bit of sense about you, you will love it and make it home safe and in one piece, and not escorted home by the local police.
Hopefully this little guide helps you as you prepare for this year’s festival, and what could possibly be the best weekend of your life. If you are a Download virgin, just remember that it’s all about the fun. The RockFusion team hope that everyone attending this year’s festival has a great but safe time!