If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or you’re indeed a friend or family member, you’ll probably know that about a fortnight ago my best friend and I were standing in a field about to watch the Killers sing to quite a number of chilly, like-minded souls. You may also know the saga of our last attempt at a festival and so how amazing it was to actually get to the festival and even more amazing to stay the whole weekend! If you don’t, it has taken a lot of work!
I am not a natural camper, I hate tents, I’m not keen on insects or grass in large quantities, I think I may actually be allergic to portaloos, I don’t like having the sore back, bottom and hips that come with 4 days spent sleeping in what Caitlin Moran accurately described as a ‘giant carrier bag’ or a campsite. BUT I had an amazing time and I have come away with THE list of what I need to survive a festival:
- wellies and flip flops, a raincoat, sunglasses and a hat – sometimes it rains, in our case not for very long and not disastrously but it did get a bit damp and we were so grateful for our wellies. At other times, the sun beat down and I burned my forehead, so sunglasses, flip flops and a hat were invaluable. Then on the night of the Killers, the wind blew and blew and it was so chilly and so I was so grateful for my barbour! These are all things that I would remove other things to make space for!
- a £30 loo pass from the amazing people at When Nature Calls – this is a thing of beauty if you’ve ever been to a festival portaloo. I’ll spare you the details but there is an alternative! The BEST alternative is hot running water, air freshener, flushing loos, handwash and a small van selling Earl Grey tea and that’s what you get for 4 days and my god, it’s so utterly worth it. The queue was never prohibitively friendly and the staff who ran in and out of each cubicle after every use cleaning them were so friendly and did such an amazing job. The best wristband I’ve ever had!
- a ridiculously girly floral Cath Kidston tent – it may look like you could get hayfever from it but my trusty old Cath Kidston tent is pushing its 9th year and still in perfect working order. Bigger bully tents sway, snap and fall over in the wind but my tent has never even wobbled very far. In the rain and wind, it’s a comforting little haven and I can’t bear the thought of having to part with her one day.
- baby wipes and dry shampoo – I’ve seen those queues for the showers and whilst the thought of not showering for a couple of days is pretty horrid, everyone’s in the same boat. Befriend large quantities of baby wipes and dry shampoo and you won’t be sorry. The amazing people from V05 came round one morning handing out dry shampoo and I don’t think I’ve ever flown out of a tent so fast to grab some. Lovely smelling and without the horrible white residue.
- saving money on booze and spending it on food – now this is a biggie. Some people want to go to festivals and pickle their livers something rotten, and I’m not judging, I wish I could! But I can’t drink a lot and I certainly can’t face a hangover in a tent, luckily my best friend is similarly minded and so we chose to save our money by forgoing the special pop, drinking vast quantities of Diet Coke and making the most of the amazing selection of food stalls available throughout the site. Festival food has become a big deal, once upon a time people had a burger van and a felafal stand to choose from but nowadays the choice is endless and we could have stayed a week and still had something amazing and different every day.
So I thought it would make a bit of a change to tell you about some food I ate in a field. There was the obligatory pulled pork and jerk chicken, some amazing hot doughnuts consumed during Bon Jovi but some other treats that should you be going to a festival this summer, I think you should check out.
So good, I ate from there twice. Grilled chicken, marinated in something delicious, amazing homemade salads, a red cabbage and carrot coleslaw, homemade houmous, homemade tzatiki, sweet chilli sauce. Oh My! Ant had the lamb kofta kebab, twice! It was so delicious. Hard to eat but wrapped in a huge turkish flatbread and so completely delicious. I think it was about £6.50, so utterly reasonable.
The incredibly famous Bristol-based pie company, Pieminister are often at open air gatherings and there’s a Pieminister shop in Oxford, you can buy them in supermarkets and quite a few pubs in Liverpool serve their amazing pies. I had a Peahock pie, ham hock, peas and mustard. I had this with mash (which was so smooth and delicious), minty peas, gravy and crispy shallots. We ate our pies on the coldest night and they went down a treat!
I have always resisted the lure of the Hummingbird Bakery cupcake. I rather took against them when I made a string of disasters from their recipe book and recently, I’ve been a bit ‘over’ the cupcake thing but I saw the stand and then I saw the cupcakes and I knew I would have to try one. They were selling the vanilla, the chocolate, the red velvet and the carrot cakes and I tried both the chocolate and the carrot ones over the course of the weekend. O M G – they were light, fluffy, full of flavour, everything a cupcake always promised it would be before they became overdone and dull. I am now a convert.
Special mention should also go to a noodle/rice place that did the best Cambodian pork dish that Ant has eaten since he was in Cambodia and a pad thai that made me weep tears of joy. I can’t remember the name though but Ant may be able to fill in this blank. Also wanted to get to the Jamie Oliver vans, which I know will make some people groan, but it would have been nice to have ticked that box! I really, really wanted a hot roast pork roll with apple sauce but we ran out of time and I had my eyes turned by the ‘Crab on Chips’ van, they had lobster on chips!! Next year, that will be my first stop!
I have also included for you a picture of me looking like a total prat in a hat. Because I’m generous like that…