And in my case the word “love” feels weak, because I absolutely ADORE festivals. Since summer ’95 I’ve packed my back-bag, sleeping-bag, tent and other necessities several times in a summer and headed to the party. So this is my 18th summer of festivals. OMG!
Finnish Ilosaarirock (www.ilosaarirock.fi/) belonged my summer program for 12 years, but during the past few years I’ve expanded my festival territory to events in other European countries and US, too. I’m lucky to have friends who share this same hobby, and of course my boyfriend tours and experiences these events with me.
I guess one of the reasons why festivals divide opinions are the facilities like toilets and showers available at the areas. Where to wash hands? Can I survive 3 days without washing my hair? How to stay fresh? Also the Finnish weather (and not so reliable forecasts) gives some additional challenges what to pack to for the festivals.
Based on my experience I dare to say my “festival-survival-kit” is on advanced level and contains all essentials, which are needed for a successful festival experience.
In any case you need to like camping. During the late hours it’s usually cold and when the sun rises temperature rises suddenly to +25 and makes you sweat in the middle of your deepest sleep. Heavy rain showers can give you surprise baths (been there - done that!) but after a few years this is another happy memory. At nights it’s dark so I recommend keeping your stuff in some sort of order to find the things you may need. Getting dressed in a tent is an excellent abs exercise. If you don’t like the wriggling technique you can also choose changing in front of your neighbors.
A few years ago I upgraded my tent to a professional, two layer model (after some unlucky cleaning efforts, read more www.welovewipes.com/en/view/a-beautiful-relationship/). The tent is equipped with a light and a bamboo mat placed in the front room of the tent, which is an excellent place to sleep during the hours when sun is shining.
There’s always a line to the toilets and especially in the evenings you may experience some surprises… However the toilets are cleaned regularly and these days also toilet paper is available most of the time. You just need to remember to crab it with you from the toilet corridor; there are usually no rolls in the booths. My “festival-survival-bag” contains a roll of toilet paper to avoid no-paper situations. I also carry a hand-sanitizer and disinfecting wet wipes to skip the lines to the washbasins, especially just when my favorite band starts to play!
At the festivals shower is almost a spiritual experience. You can queue or… you don’t shower or… you just find another way to freshen up. Instead of wondering in the dark to the shower at night I prefer to use make-up removal wipes to clean my make-up. Our shower strategy is to set alarm on very early (Yes, this is true!) and march to the shower among the other early birds. This way we avoid the lines, which are inevitable when tens of thousands of people gather to one place.
Last summer I was at Rock Werchter and I just couldn’t stop staring at a couple who organized a shower using a tree. The guy hangs a travel shower to a branch of a tree for his girlfriend, who was heavily pregnant. She wore a bikini and took a shower under a tree enjoying the refreshing water. Shower worked just fine, and so did the scene for all the male neighbors. The imagination is the only limit to the means to stay fresh!
Queues, unclean toilets or possibility of bad weather are not stopping me to go to the festivals. Feelings of freedom, joy and happiness shared with good friends and seeing my favorite bands get me to pack my bags year after year. I find it very relieving that my biggest trouble during these days is that do I get to see the gig from the very beginning or starting from the second song of the set.
Life's a festival and I want to participate!