I love festivals. I went to my first one, Leeds Fest, back in 07 when I was 15 and decided that this was the life for me. I worked hard all year to save up enough money to go every summer. Since then, my festival obsession has graduated and taken me across the world, as well as staying local. Going abroad for a festival is amazing, but nothing beats the good old muddy English festival experience.
I get it, festivals aren’t for everyone. Some people can’t understand why anyone would choose to spend a weekend sleeping on the ground, sharing portaloos with strangers, and covering themselves in glitter as a weird shower alternative.
I would be lying if I said some of those things didn’t bother me. Of course, when you’re squatting over a portaloo at 5am praying you don’t lose your balance and dive into five days of stranger’s excrement, there is some part of you that questions why you couldn’t just have a normal hobby like baking. But these gross experiences are long forgotten once you’re home and the hangover has passed.
For me, festivals are among the highlights of my year and I love every single moment of them. Here are some of the reasons I will continue going to festivals every year.
Amazing culture all in one place
Festivals are like an all you can eat buffet of culture. I love the type of festivals where you can experience loads of different music genres at once: walk into one tent and its drum & bass, turn to the next and there’s indie, then take a stroll and find yourself in the middle of a heavy metal death pit, and so on. Many of the festivals I’ve been to also have comedy tents and even art areas. I went to Sonar Festival in Barcelona and they had a whole exhibition you could explore which was filled with simultaneously weird and incredible projects.
Making friends with everyone
This is probably my favourite part of going to festivals, making loads of weird and wonderful new friends. This is mainly down to who you’re camped next to, but you also just end up talking to people when you’re out and about. Most people are super friendly and open, because they are just trying to have a good time like you are too. The friendliest festival I have been to was Lost Village or Hills Have Vibes, it was like a little community.
Unleashing your true style
Looking ridiculous is encouraged at festivals, so embrace your weird side and get creative. I love wearing bright colours, fake animal ears, crazy patterns and using bold makeup and glitter to decorate my face and body. However, hold your horses (or unicorns) – recently I’ve learnt that glitter is very harmful to the environment because it is essentially tiny bits of plastic that can’t be recycled. So, if you do use glitter, please try and use the eco-friendly stuff. They sell it at Lush and you can find more online, I will be doing so in the future.
Obviously, it depends what type of festival you go to, but usually festivals have amazing food vendors that offer street food, cultural delights and lots of carbs and cheese (is there a more winning combo?) I love trying out new independent food vendors at festivals and tracking them down once I’m home.
Embracing your gross side
Ok, this is a bit of a weird one and some people will not agree with me at all, but I quite enjoy embracing my grossness while I’m at a festival. I’m not one of those people that pays extra to have a shower or use boutique camping facilities, I’m a baby wipe girl through and through and I’m lucky if I take my makeup off at night while I’m at a festival. I enjoy the freedom of not worrying about what I look like all day, where my only reflection is in the tiny mirror in the toilets or the cracked hand mirror I brought. I also love a good gross discussion with friends, these usually involve drinking wine from a bag and realising that we are just as gross as each other.
On a completely different note, I love the freedom that you feel at festivals. You are so out of the comfort zone of everyday life that you seem to let go and stop worrying about things. This is massively helped by not being on your phone all day, and being surrounded with positive people that you love.
Hope you enjoyed this post and that I have encouraged you to get into the festival spirit! If you’re going to a festival and are looking for tips to stay healthy, I wrote a post about it last year.