Whether you’ve never found yourself embarking on the annual mecca to Reading Fest or that you drunk a bit too much at last year’s so you’ve forgotten what necessities to take, here’s my guide to survival at Reading.
(If you’re anything like my little sister, I must inform you that Reading Festival is in-fact in Reading and no it’s not a book festival. If you think that I’m currently wasting your time.)
1. Remember your tent.. and the poles.
The tent is going to become your home for the weekend so make sure it’s in one piece before you get there. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen people forget poles to their tent, yep, poles. The ONE thing you need for the tent to function properly or ones that have simply thrown their tent in the bag from last year only to realise it still reeks of spew or it has a giant hole in the bottom. It’s the obvious one but it’s also the most important. No-one wants to kip on a cold and wet field for the weekend. Tents are important.
and sleeping bags. You need them too.
(Please make sure your tent is two skin, I still haven’t learnt that one skinned tents tend to leak.)
2. The lavatories.
Well lavatories is a pretty enthusiastic name for them. Don’t fret, however imagine a trough, a hole and a cattle grid and a smell of a dead cat. They are something else. The toilets in the Main Arena are slightly better however they do have urinals for women, which I find odd. Have an eye for new experiences though guys, then again you’ll never see me near one of them.
3. Benjamins, Lizzies, Money basically.
You are going to need money for the pricey booze in the Main Arena or simply to buy the 8 quid Chinese buffet in the village or if you’re anything like me, to buy heaps of clothes that you’ll probably never wear again. There are cash machines about but they rob you of your own money by charging to withdraw so I’ve always taken a lump sum and chucked them safely in my wellies for the weekend. However I must warn you that if you do that your notes may end up smelling a bit like gone off cheese, nonetheless it’s safe in there surrounded by sweaty feet.
I made the stupid mistake at Download this year by not taking wellies. Blessed with the ‘British summer’ weather, downpours and just general god anger, I had to spend 20 quid of my much needed drinking money on wellies. Do make sure you take some comfy socks though, welly blisters are an absolute ball ache.
5. Dry Shampoo and Wet Wipes will become your saviour.
Both are essential in pretending you’ve seen a shower in the last 2 days. Wet Wipe washes are on a totally different level to your nice hot shower. It’s more like wiping yourself with a cold tea bag. Don’t let that scare you however, it’s all a part of the experience. You either love it or loathe it but nonetheless you will come back from the weekend smelling like crap.
The most important bit. If you don’t fancy lugging crates of cider around with you whilst you find a decent place to camp, you can hold off buying alcohol until you arrive. From the Green Campsite you can catch the river taxi to big Tesco for absolutely nothing. This means that if you do end up running out of Fosters (or food), you can easily stock up. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy and you do end up taking your own alcohol in on arrival, make sure everything that’s in a glass bottle is transferred into something plastic. They will take it off you and you will waste the money you’ve spent on it.
When the hangover kicks in and life seems hard, grab that can of bow and power through for Reading has you now.
7. I strongly suggest buying an Early Bird ticket.
A mere £30 more or what have you will not only give you an extra night of fun but you’ll find yourself with a decent camping spot. No-one wants to be the guy camped right opposite the poo-joints or on the edge of the road where you’ll get a drunken girl falling into your tent in the middle of the night. Getting an early bird ticket is less hassle in the long run and you tend not to hit the queues of the Thursday morning rush. Just do it. You might aswell.
8. The dreaded Sunday night.
Unless you haven’t done your homework, you may have heard about the Sunday night riots. Luckily for you, things are much tamer than the days of 2009, however make sure you do keep an eye out for anything untoward. I’m probably going to sound like your mother, but do not get yourself involved in the action. Do you really want to spend the last night of Reading in the back of a riot van or most importantly do you really want something on your criminal record? No. Let’s be grown up about this kids. One action of adrenaline could easily cost you heavily in the future.
With that being said, Sunday night is the best night of the weekend but also the saddest. It’s when the Reading blues kick in. sigh. cry. take. me. back.
9. Do not take your best clothes or go out and buy amazing outfits to show off.
For the first stance, no-one really cares what you look like. By the end of the weekend not only will you be smelling like stale, rotten egg but your hair will be resembling a greasy lions mane with the random dread. If the weather is like anything I’ve experienced, you’ll spend most of your weekend wrapped up in your poncho anyway. Most of the time you end up losing something at a festival anyway, even your clothes. Just take comfys. Nothing worse than feeling like ten thousand eyes are looking at you for the wrong reasons.
Please make sure you remember your ticket, your bus/train ticket, some money, a tent and most importantly the alcohol but if all of those fail, make sure you have an awesome weekend.