Best way to approach working 7 festivals in a row??
March 11, 2009 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Festival Filter:I am working all summer at 7+ festivals around the UK.(details inside) What tent? What sleeping bag? Do's and Donts? General advice?

I am working with a cafe.
The festivals I will be working at are...
Tolpuddle martyrs.
The Big Green Gathering.
Camp Bestival

aand with Oxfam (anyone stewarded for oxfam before?)

Bestival and Summer Sundae.

Some of these (glasto, shambala, I am on site for over 8 days.)

Basically, should I travel light, or go with a sack truck/trolley setup.
Anything to avoid? Recommended experiences at said festivals?

Budget for the equipment is approx 200 pounds. Im not a big person, and have the ability to stow my things in "the van".

Ive got a couple of months spare, but any help would be great.
posted by johnwayne to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Awesome gig, man.

I did this post last year before going to my first festival, and following the advice there made it (and subsequent festivals) a total blast.

Additionally, I'm going to go ahead and recommend a folding chair of some sort.
posted by baphomet at 11:29 AM on March 11, 2009

For tips on specific festivals I'd recommend the forums at efesitvals. The larger festivals have their own forums, but there's also a general forum for the smaller ones.
posted by Jakey at 11:50 AM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: The other threads have some good info, but I can add:

Microfiber type underwear. Not cotton. If you get hot and sweaty and that part gets damp and you're walking around a bunch, it can be miserable.

Toilet paper, buy the camping packs and carry them around with you. Giving a stranger TP when the port-a-pots run out is a little awkward, but it's nice to do.

Earplugs and sleeping pills (Tylenol PM). People stay up all night shouting.

I use a aluminum frame cot. I think they're better than air matresses, although bulkier, since they never go flat, and you can store stuff underneath them.

A camping chair and a battery powered boom box or ipod dock makes sitting around a lot more fun. Don't annoy the neighbors by blasting music, but having something to listen to helps.
posted by andrewzipp at 11:58 AM on March 11, 2009

Response by poster: cheers for the linkages.

Any reccomendations for sleeping? I.e Because I have the ability to transport it, Is it worth carrying a metal foldout bed type jobby? Or should one sink money into a nice self-inflating matress?

Anyone used this? Vango 350 beta
posted by johnwayne at 12:00 PM on March 11, 2009

Response by poster: cots ey??
posted by johnwayne at 12:02 PM on March 11, 2009

Take a duvet (and a pillow), not a sleeping bag, really. I used to work festivals as a paid job, doing one every weekend over the season and a duvet really made a difference. I'd take it over an air bed for instance. Not that air beds aren't good, they are, but I did ok with a thermorest.

The tent looks pretty good. A tent with a porch is the way to go. English summers being what they are, having somewhere to remove wet gear before you you enter the bit you sleep in is a good idea, especially if it gives you a space to generally hang out in.

Ear plugs are a necessity. Traders, workers often have access to secure camping areas but at smaller festivals especially these can be close into generators. I guess you are probably volunteering so not working the (some times insane) hours we did, but if you have to work relatively early in the day sleep makes a difference.

Don't forget the smaller things like a head torch and a decent safe light you can use in a tent. Also things like something to use as an ashtray in your tent if you smoke. An insulated travel mug is a good idea as well.
posted by tallus at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Henrys beard actually.(money, free tea and food)

Good idea on the duvet front.
posted by johnwayne at 2:28 PM on March 11, 2009

Definitely the ear plugs then. Odds are you will sleeping behind the stall 6ft from a generator if my experience is to go by.
posted by tallus at 2:50 PM on March 11, 2009

Response by poster: any ideas when it comes to the organization of my assembled items?

One of my ideas was to stack on a sack-truck;

particularly circular duffel bag

duvet/sleeping material

thermarest mat


Too idealistic?

The public is split on this one no, some say that the mud is too thick for the wheels etc.

Anyone tried taking a trolley to a festie? A folding one?
posted by johnwayne at 3:01 PM on March 11, 2009

Anyone tried taking a trolley to a festie? A folding one?

If you mean a folding dolly or hand truck, yes I have but didn't use it/need it.

Also, nthing the earplugs and suggest a good tarp for underneath as well as inside your tent.

Have fun - sounds like an awesome way to spend the summer!
posted by ourroute at 5:42 PM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: Vangos are good cheap tents. By the looks of it, that one is good because you put the outer up first before the inner, so your bedroom doesn't get wet if it's raining when you're pitching the tent.

My mum bought me an inflatable matress when I was doing arcaheological digs all summer long, it saved my back and my sanity. Camp beds are alright, but they can get a cold draft underneath, if you do take one, take a blanket to lie on the bed underneath your sleeping bag.

In fact take a blanket full stop, nights can get cold in the UK even in August. Also take a wooly hat to wear to sleep in.

If you're working shifts, you might want to take an eye mask, trying to sleep in a tent in daylight can be hard. You might also find yourself camping underneath one of the floodlights. Some people use beer to help with this as well.

Take a pillow.

Let me repeat that, take a pillow.

You can make do with a pile of jumpers or something, but really, a pillow is so much better.

A few groundsheets (tarps) will be really useful for lots of things (including keeping your stuff dry when it's pissing it down and you haven't got the tent up yet)

Take gaffer tape, can be used for emergency tent repair.

Buy some seam sealent and waterproofing spray when you buy the tent. Use it on the new tent. Take some with you for ongoing repairs.

Take a chair.

We took a trolley to Glastonbury last year, they've got roads between most of the main campsites, so you'd only really stuggle in the very muddy bits (but you'd struggle regardless then anyway)

Bake some cakes beforehand and take them with you. So yummy.

Have good shoes, there will be a lot of walking, even if you are camping near where you're working.

Plan your late night trip to the toilet routine. Have shoes/torch/coat in easy to find locations.

Get a 3 season sleeping bag, you might be ok with a 2 season, but if the temperature does drop it won't be enough. Better to be too hot than too cold, you can always just open up the sleeping bag and sleep on top if you're too hot.

Keep a spare set of clothes as your dry and clean emergency set (if you've got a van you can leave them there) so no matter what happens, you have dry, clean clothes to change into (it also makes stopping at the service station on the way home a less crusty experience).
posted by Helga-woo at 7:06 AM on March 12, 2009

I've worked at a few festivals with Oxfam - haven't been to Camp Bestival but I did Summer Sundae a few years ago and have also worked Glastonbury three times and Reading twice (in addition to going as a punter to many others). It's a pretty good laugh - mostly customer-facing, dealing with ticket checking, making sure people don't wander into bits they shouldn't do, and generally answering questions and being (ahem) "the friendly face of the festival". You're generally posted with security and there's a clear chain of command so you don't have to deal with anybody problematic (which is rare - most people are fine). However, there are three eight hour shifts, which can be long (and boring if you get put somewhere miles from the arena - Summer Sundae's pretty compact though) and mean you miss stuff. When on duty, you have to be sober - two people got removed from Glastonbury last year for turning up on shift drunk. They take that VERY seriously - apart from that as long as you're prepared to pitch in and have a positive attitude you'll get along fine. Go to the Oxfam Stewards forum - you need to register to see all the forums, but they'll be able to give you sound advice once you have.

You're getting good advice re gear so I won't add too much there. I will say that for Glastonbury in particular you need to be prepared for anything - it can get VERY muddy and that site is absolutely huge (I mean, really, really massive). If you've got a van it's less of a problem - you may well be able to park next to your camp, so you can store things.

Working at Glastonbury in particular is great as you can get onto the site early - it's really nice being able to wander around and get your bearings while nobody is there.

And yeah, an airbed, definitely. It improved my festival experience 100% compared to those crappy foam mats. After a long day a decent bed is sorely needed.
posted by curiousorange at 1:56 PM on March 12, 2009

Wellies, of course, are essential.
posted by yoHighness at 9:24 PM on March 13, 2009

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