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by David Thackray

Going to Bluesfest in Byron? The team at iKegger loves music festivals, between us we have been to more than 100 across 15 countries. Below we have complied our top tips to make your next festival the best event of your life. 

life at a festival

1. Do eskies the right way!

Get 2 (or more depending on how many people in your group) eskies. In one esky put about 3-5 kg of dry ice (frozen co2, can be bought on this link from Mr Iceman) and your frozen meals (see cryovac section) use the other one for drinks and fresh fruit etc. Here’s the amazing part of this setup… YOU CAN MAKE NORMAL ICE IN THE DRY ICE ESKY ALL WEEKEND. Forget the warm cider everyone else is stuck with after the first day... you can be chillin by the fire with a Scotch on the rocks on Sunday evening. Just bring ice trays and use them as usual, water will freeze quickly in your homemade portable freezer!

esky with dry ice

2. Beer, glorious beer!

Forget trying to keep all your beer cold for the whole weekend… Wait let me explain! I’m not suggesting drinking warm beer. You just need 1 thing, a large well insulated bottle like a iKegger Beer Growler  and cans of warm beer. Now every time you want a cold 6 pack, spin a can in your homemade freezer for about a minute and then pour it into the thermos, repeat till full. In about 6 min you can have a full unbreakable container of beer that attaches to your belt and will stay cold all day. Need a top up, just come back and repeat. If hand spinning a beer sounds like too much works check out these little devices… The SpinChill does the work for you.

ikegger at festivals


3. Cryovac / Vacuum Seal Food

Pre make your meals, seal them in bags and freeze. You can use a cheap cryovac machine from places like Anaconda or just use zip-lock bags and squeeze as much air out as you can before sealing. They take up very little space and can be used to keep you drinks cold in the esky till you are ready to eat them. Then just stick them in a pot of hot water to defrost and heat. This is perfect for dishes like stews/curries with rice/mash potato and you don’t even need a plate, just eat out of the bag if humaning is too difficult. No matter what state you are in you can usually manage to boil water!

cryovac your food

4. Pack Clothes Right!

Unless you are going to Burning Man (or Burning Seed in Australia) and have some giant costume with lights and peacock feathers you’re probably not going to care too much what you wear (if anything) for your festival experience so make life easy on your scattered and disoriented morning self. Follow this easy little diagram to fit a complete outfit consisting of a T-shirt, underwear and pair of socks in easy to store bundles! Then all you need is a pair of thongs, a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts and a bundle per day to be ready for anything.

how to fold your clothes for a festival

 

5. Be Weather Prepared!

While gumboots may be standard attire at Glastonbury I have never needed or wanted them anywhere else. Bring a plastic rain poncho though. They are tiny, cheap and lightweight and while sometimes dancing in the rain singing to the sky is the best feeling in the world, sitting round cold and wet waiting for the 1st band to start the next day while trying to rearrange the scattered fragments of your mind isn’t so much. Make sure you bring some suncream too, because trying to hide your blistered body from the sun in a gritty, scratchy dirt filled tent on a scorching hot day is only one step removed from hell.

bad sunburn at a festival


6. Bring Some First Aid Basics

A few packets of electrolytes for dehydration, table salt to get rid of leeches, bandaids for blisters, scissors, cigarette lighter, a compression bandage in case of a snake or spider bite while peeing in the woods, tweezers for ticks or splinters. Some medical gloves are also a good idea in case you have to deal with bodily fluids at some point… In terms of drugs, well that’s in your court but I usually take a bunch of panadol and berocca for the mornings and some immodium in case you just want to avoid that port-a-loo altogether after a dodgy kebab. These couple of items can mean the difference between kicking on all weekend or wanting to sit in your tent and feel sorry for yourself (or potentially die of a massive stroke from a taipan bite). Your choice…..

basic first aid kit

 

7. Hygiene For Camping

You are almost definitely going to smell like a water buffalo and look like a swamp monster by the time you are heading home but there are three golden things not to forget that will make festival life a little easier to deal with: toilet paper, toilet paper and, yep you guessed it, toilet paper.

I’d also suggest some hand sanitiser and fresh wipes (borrow a few from a KFC on the drive to the festival, they are individually wrapped for the convenience of festival goers). A couple of other things if you want to be the swamp monster that gets the girl/boy: deodorant, toothbrush & toothpaste.

swamp monster 

8. Don’t Make A Mess

Great camping festivals are getting scarcer in Australia, especially BYO ones. A big reason for this is the huge cleanup operation that needs to be done after each one. This costs a fortune, turns the local residents or landowners against holding them and wrecks our environment. Don’t bring glass at all. Do bring a roll of garbage bags, not only can you keep your site clean but they are useful for so many other things from emergency ponchos to keeping your backpack dry. For beer either bring cans or mini kegs. They chill much faster than glass, are better for the environment, unbreakable and cans can be crushed and recycled easily without leaving foot destroying broken glass everywhere. Mini kegs like these are again available from companies like iKegger . Pick up after yourself and hopefully you will be able to come again next year!

 

     ikegger at festivals


9. Make A Totem Pole

Festivals are about letting go of your modern day commodities, whether you want to or not… More than likely you will have no mobile reception and  nobody wants to spend the day with someone who is spending the whole time staring at their phone trying to find missing friends anyway... so head back to your caveman days and find your tribe by locating their giant one of a kind totem pole. Put something on top that represents you and your crew. Whether that’s a dream catcher, Simpsons character or Rick James bitch! A couple of lightbulbs and a battery means you can use it at night and if you stick a gopro to the top you can capture that moment of relief and joy when your friends see it over the crowd! Totem pole etiquette hint: make the handle long and thin so you don’t block other people’s view with it.

festival totem poles

10. Set Up As Soon As You Arrive

This may seem obvious, but check all your camping gear before you arrive. Do a trial run at home in the backyard just to be sure. Once you do arrive set up camp before you do anything else… Trust me, just do it. Or end up like the guys in this video

how not to set up a tent

11. Love Thy Neighbour

With BYO in the campsite, sharing a cold beer with your neighbours as you warm up for a day of festivities is a great start to the day/evening. People come to festivals from all walks of life and some best friends are made in tent city while curing hangovers, having a meal or warming up for an evening of music. Remember that people camping within metres of you do come from all different backgrounds though, they may be religious, have children or different opinions to you and your friends. Respect your neighbours. 

get to know your neighbors at a festival

12. Know your Drinking Games

Playing drinking games at a festival can be a load of fun. Get your Jenga sets ready with rules written on each block, bring your deck of cards for some horse racing and ready that beer pong arm. Remember, there’s no better way to meet your new comrades and festival neighbours than alcohol and Cards Against Humanity. Again though, remember the people around you and drink responsibly ;-)

  cards against humanity


13.  Pace Yourself

BYO festivals can be a minefield of passed-out people who didn't pace themselves and peaked too soon. Nobody wants to be the one who has to take you back to the tent while you constantly tell everyone within a 20 meter radius how much they mean to them. Plus you never know what you will miss!


dave grohl trolling passed out punter

 

14. Coffee, Bring It.

Enough said...

coffe keeps me busy

15. Dose Up

Your Mum always said you need your vitamins, this is never more true than while trying to survive 3 days of dancing, sweating, minimal food or sleep and dehydration. Take a bunch of vitamins and minerals with you to help with the fatigue and reduced immune system you will have otherwise.

multi vitamins and vegetables

16. Create Your Own Cult

If going with a bunch of friends, spend time before the festival organising it. It is loads of fun, increases your anticipation of the event and builds a team that will be there for each other when you are surrounded by a hoard of shuffling zombies trying to get home on the final day. Using a simple google doc spreadsheet to divide equipment needs also helps to ensure you don’t end up with 5 tarpaulins and no beer. It’s also a great idea to all cook a meal for the whole group and pack/freeze it beforehand. Preparing one meal for ten people is a whole lot easier and requires a lot less space than ten meals for one. It’s also a lot more fun to set up one awesome central area to share than each person only having their tent or swag to sit in and if each person only brings one component ie lamp / bbq / tarpaulin / chairs etc it is easy to make something incredible. Plus it's a lot easier to ask people "have you seen a crew of lego men" if you lose your friends. 

lego man costumes

17.      You Be You

Explore, enjoy, don’t care about what other people think of you. The great thing about festivals is that you will either never see these people again or they will become your best friends. Be as weird as you want because no matter how hard you try there will be someone weirder than you there, trust me. Meet new people, see new bands and really explore the area, often organisers will make a secret little place just so that a small group of people that find it have a magical experience… Take a camera even if you never intend on showing anyone the pictures of you running half naked through the desert as a unicorn, one day you will want to look at them again and remember how free you were that day!

unicorn cowboy burning man festival
David Thackray
David Thackray


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