Some people are just born to go to festivals. Care free, flowing hair, flower crowns, no electricity just suits them. I however, am not. The thought of sleeping in a tent, having to cope without the day to day comforts that I’m fully aware I take for granted literally makes me want to heave. Needless to say I was setting myself up to make all the festival mistakes I could possibly make. All the fun of a festival though is something I definitely wanted to try, so last year we went to Parklike.
Parklike was the perfect solution for me, I liked the line up, more importantly Kieran liked the line up so was happy to come with me and deal with all my high maintenance. And even more crucial than that, we could stay in a hotel – thank the bloody lord because it pissed it down from start to finish.
Despite that, I actually had the most amazing weekend. I went with the mentality to just make the most of it, enjoy myself as much as possible and who cares what I looked like. This worked out well for me because I looked a complete state, and the mentality was about the only thing I was prepared for. I’m not sure why really, because I’m usually all over the planning and researching for stuff to make sure I’ve got all bases covered. It did make for a hilarious few days though.
So if you’re at all like me, and haven’t a clue what you’re doing, the thought of no personal hygiene for a few days makes you feel violently ill, and the closest you get to flower crowns are the snapchat filter, then here’s all the festival mistakes I made and how I’d do it differently next time.
Do NOT wear a body suit. I thought this was a great idea, onesie body suit thing so it tucked into my shorts and would be comfortable. Absolutely not, I had a wedgie for the entire first day, from stepping off the bus until I threw myself in the shower that night. Trying to navigate going to the loo in a tiny portaloo full of mud and having to take the whole bastard thing off was the real low point, comical in fact. Day 2 I wore a dress and will for any future festival goings on.
Do NOT wear wellies without proper wellie socks. I never understood why people wore full on knee length socks with wellies, but I suppose I’d never worn them with bare legs before. Well I sharp found out that they’re a vital component of wellie wearing, when the top of them left big scratches the whole way around my legs. Luckily I had plasters with me so could make a makeshift barrier from the grating, but it was not ideal. So full on knee length school girl socks for me in future. Lesson learned.
Writing this now I’m actually laughing at myself for this one. I got my nails done before I went to Parklife, just like I would for any other occasion or event. How ridiculous. It turns out that beautiful, long, coffin shaped acrylics are not appropriate for festival going, and will snap off. Any acrylic nail wearing babe will know, that this pain is an absolute bitch and lasts about a week. Should have saved myself the £30.
While I’m on about personal presentation I might as well continue. Day 1 morning I washed my hair and had it all nice and straight, and within five minutes of the torrential downpour walking from the bus transfer to the gate I was DROWNED. Kieran was laughing at the nest on my head and risking his life by doing so, so I knew it must be bad.
I was in a foul mood, suddenly realising why every other chick there had some french braid twisty thing going on, and I’m not usually a personal fan of the french pastry look on top of my head but I can now see its uses. Remembering my pledge to make the absolute most of the experience, I dived into a portaloo, and scraped it all up into a ponytail. I came out of that portaloo a new woman. Could have saved myself an hour getting ready. The relief in Kierans face was obvious too. Poor sod.
Check your coat is waterproof. My stupidity is baffling really, I went and got myself a nice new green parker type coat, it was light and could roll up and fit into my bag. I thought I was a genius buying it for how small I could fold it up. Until I was wearing it and still soaked to the skin. Always invest in quality and who cares if you have to carry it. Better than being drenched. I think this might be the most obvious of all the festival mistakes I could have made.
Don’t break your lads back trying to join in. I may only be a measly 5 ft 2 but let me assure you I’m not as dainty or petite as that sounds. For one particular performance later in the day, (and by now I was fully in the swing of enjoying myself), Kieran told me to get on his shoulders so I could see properly and because, you know, people seem to do that at festivals. I hopped light as a floaty feather, lol jokes, clambered like a fat baby rhino onto his shoulders and started bopping away. It was amazing and I loved it. He put me down after a few songs and I honestly thought he might pass out. He had a bad neck and shoulder the rest of the weekend. Oopsie. Know your weight before you get drunk would be my advice.
DO NOT forget any important medication. I didn’t take antihistamines or my epi pen with me, as I was worried they would confiscate them at entry. It seemed pointless to risk having them taken off me, so I didn’t. Sure enough on the second afternoon, which was a bit more chilled than the first, I sat myself down and started tucking in to a milkshake. It must have been cheap chocolate, because I started having a full on allergic reaction.
The VIP info point had no first aid kit (!) and I had to tramp the entire length of the festival to the medical tent. I walked in looking normal and came out looking like Will Smith in Hitch. Luckily I don’t get such a bad reaction that I can’t breathe, if I did there’s no way I got seen to quick enough. So on a serious note, take your medication, and if you feel like you can’t, check in advance or make sure you know exactly where the medical tent is and go straight there. Definitely the most life threatening of all the festival mistakes to make.
DO go VIP. Best decision I ever made. The toilets were not the nicest, and it meant we had to walk further to the entry gate than the drop off point is, and their info point was useless (see above), but it was amazing to have somewhere to actually sit down when we needed to. The drinks queues were a lot smaller, and there was actual grass, not just mud everywhere. The rain made it a lot more difficult of course, but I don’t think I’d ever not go VIP at any festival ever.
So, needless to say I was totally unprepared, and I’m sure that festival veterans will think I’m a pure joke for all of the above, but that’s fine. I had an absolute blast at Parklife and nearly every point above brought so many laughs and stories that I really wouldn’t change any of it, even the rain. I truly have absolutely no idea how people survive Glastonbury. I really enjoyed trotting back to my hotel each night thanks all the same.
Seeing all the photos from Parklike this past weekend really made me wish I’d gone back. I don’t have any others planned, but if you’re heading to your first festival this year I hope all my festival mistakes help you out! For a much better guide, that I wish I’d read myself a year ago, take a look at this one by asthesparrowflies.