London boasts a huge range of music festivals, from blockbusting, arena-filling events such as Hard Rock Calling to boutique events for those in the know. Whatever your preference, there are some basic points that will help you make the most of your experience.
First of all, there’s your attire. As most festivals are held in grassy parks, you’ll need sensible shoes such as wellington boots (Hunters for the fashion conscious!). Flat shoes are essential, even if you’re in an arena, as you’ll be doing a lot of dancing. As for clothing, festival wear tends toward bohemian chic; think casual shorts, t-shirts, jeans, and floaty summer dresses. If you’re stuck, why not browse some of London’s excellent vintage shops for inspiration?
Equally important are your accessories, as you’ll need to prepare for London’s changeable weather by taking sunglasses, a hat and something waterproof. You can pick up a rain poncho for a few pounds in many London tourist shops – not only will they keep you dry, but they mean you don’t have to worry about carrying an umbrella when you’re dancing to your favourite songs. Sunscreen is also essential, particularly if you are going to be outside in the midday sun.
Before packing your bag, remember to check the festival’s policy on bringing food and alcohol into the venue: some events will let you bring a full blown picnic with drinks, whilst others prefer you to purchase your snacks at the many stalls on site. Some festivals allow you bring bottled water with you and there are places to refill it for free throughout the festival grounds.
Although there’s a temptation to take a huge variety of stuff to cover all contingencies, you should remember that festivals are always crowded, busy places and that it’s best to only take the essentials in case you get separated from your belongings. Things that you should never be without at a London music festival are:
- Cash (festivals often have ATMs on site but there will be queues)
- Tissues/toilet paper (this often runs out in festival toilets, so it’s best to be prepared!)
- Antibacterial hand gel
- An Oyster card so you can get to and from the venue easily
- A pre-arranged meeting point for you and your friends, so you don’t have to worry about finding them in the crowd if you run out of phone charge or signal
- Your ticket
- A jumper, jacket or wrap for when the sun goes down
- A compact camera (or camera phone) so you can capture those amazing memories!
You should also remember that, as most London music festivals are one-day affairs, you won’t need to worry about bringing lots of clothes, sleeping bags, tents and all the other weekend festival paraphanalia. There are plenty of hotels, hostels, and homestays in London, so you can find somewhere to stay nearby.
Have we missed anything? What are your festival essentials?