For many, Reading & Leeds is like a right of passage. Chances are, if you’re English, it would’ve been one of the first festivals you went to that required you leaving home for a whopping four or five days. Northerners, obviously, headed to Leeds, while their southern counterparts trekked to Reading on that fateful August bank holiday weekend to see some of the biggest and best talent the music industry had to offer at the time. This year there’s a record number of five headliners: Foals and Disclosure co-headlining, Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro following suit, and with Red Hot Chili Peppers being allowed the honour of a slot just to themselves. Regardless, whether it’s your first time at Reading & Leeds or your fiftieth time, it’s always good to reminded of those crucial survival tips so you don’t end up passed out in a puddle of mud with cider cans sellotaped to your hands.
Make a schedule of who you want to see.
The official set times have yet to be announced, but the people at Clashfinder have had a guess to create a schedule and generally their predictions are pretty accurate. Make sure you discuss with the people you’re heading to the festival with as you don’t want to get there and find out all of your #squad want to go see Biffy Clyro while you’re desperate to see The 1975. It’s also a good idea to print out or write down your schedule of bands you want to see, because it’s pretty difficult to find out set times once you’re at the festival unless you shell out for one of their insanely expensive lanyards.
So, it’s not unlikely to be 100 degrees but it’s still good practice to keep a bottle of water with you at all times. If that’s not cool enough for you beer will suffice, but just make sure you keep yourself well watered— even if it is bucketing it down with rain. We’re looking at you, Leeds.
Plan easy meeting points.
If you’re going with a particularly large group of friends, it would be a safe idea to map out an easy meeting point with them all in case of an emergency. It only takes a few too many drinks and a rowdy crowd to separate you, and being on your own at a festival when you’re not exactly sober is not the most pleasant of experiences. ‘Meeting points’ may sound a little pre-school, but they work a dream.
Remember where your tent is!
It can’t be stressed enough that you need to get a good idea of where your tent is. Once you’re pitched up, stand outside of it and look around for nearby landmarks. This will assist because even when drunk, it won’t be as hard to navigate your way back. Nobody likes the dude who passes out in front of their tent and makes it impossible for them to escape. If mapping out your surroundings sounds like too much hardwork, invest in an unusually coloured tent — neon yellow with purple spots would do the trick — that’s easy to spot from miles away or even raise a flag outside that you could spot from a distance.
Don’t break the bank.
It’s a well known fact that festival food and drink is extortionate. Where possible, bring your own snacks and alcohol to drink in your tent, to save on paying £6.50 for a lukewarm beer once you’re in the arena. Reading Festival has a shuttle bus that takes passengers from the festival site to the local Sainsbury’s for just £1, and Leeds offers a similar bus that can take you right in to the city centre where there’s a number of supermarkets and off licenses.
Dress for the event.
It’s all well and good draping yourself in white lace but this isn’t Coachella, you’re not Kendall Jenner and there’s a bloke just begging to dowse you in beer or worse. Emergency ponchos save lives… as do fanny packs. They may not be the most fashionable of accessories, but they keep your valuables safe and keep your hands free to you can wave them along to one of Fall Out Boy’s goldie oldies.
Don’t padlock your tent.
It seems like a good idea to do it, sure, but it’s the equivalent of putting a huge flashing sign atop of your tent that says “I’VE GOT VALUABLES IN HERE, FEEL FREE TO STEAL THEM”. It would put a pretty big downer on your ‘weekend of fun’ if you come back to find your iPad’s been lifted… and all your booze.
Make sure you pack all your essentials.
Toilet paper, sunscreen and hand sanitiser are MUSTS. You’ll only find you’re living a nightmare if you spend your first day at Reading frolicking in the sun to find you spend all day Friday resembling a lobster, or you head to the port-a-loo in Leeds and discover, to your horror, there’s nothing to wipe with. There’s also nothing worse than getting sick, and hand sanitiser can easily eliminate some of that risk. If it makes it easier, write a list of everything you need to pack and strike it off as you go so you don’t forget those all important items such as your portable charger, your loudspeaker and your flower crown.
Other essentials include:
- Baby wipes… because chances are you’ll be covered in mud and will be too hungover to wait in line to shower.
- Earplugs… if you’re looking at having an early night one day, you’ve got no chance without these.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste… you may be at a festival but dental hygiene is still important!
- Pillows, groundsheets, old blankets… anything to make that horrible floor just the slightest bit more comfortable.
The most important tip of course: HAVE FUN! You’ve no doubt paid a lot of money to be able to attend Reading or Leeds and it makes it all the more worth it when you turn it in to a weekend you’ll never forget.