Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The day-fest guide

For the last five years, festival season has been a vital couple of months in my social calendar. I go mad for a boogie with my pals, a pint of Strongbow (yup, I’m in the one per cent of the population who drinks it by choice) and of course, live music.

If you are new to the festival world, I recommend that you try a day-fest out to see for yourself what bloody great fun it is! It’s the perfect taster into the adventures of a camping festival without having to rough it up on a five-day stint of bad hygiene and warm cans of beer.

To kick-start festival season, here’s my experience from All Points East to give you an insight into what a day-fest is like. I’ve also included ten tips on how to boss your first day-fest this summer…

All Points East | Friday 31 May 2019

I couldn’t believe my luck when I scored two free tickets from Vodafone to see Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) at All Points East. I’ve been digging BMTH since their release of That’s The Spirit in 2015, so it’s safe to say that I have belted my heart out to every song on that album, as well as their latest release, Amo, which I equally gushed over for weeks on end.

My boyf and I jumped on a morning train and dumped our bags at our hotel before heading up to the festival. We got off at Mile End underground station, grabbed a little bottle of wine from the nearby off-licence for the walk to Victoria Park, and strolled down the long stretch of road with the crowd. There were stewards at every road junction, litter bags attached to the railings at the side of the path and plenty of toilet stops for the brave people who had been drinking from the get-go.

Crop top: Boohoo | Culottes, jumper, bum bag, necklace: Pretty Little Thing | Trainers: Vans

Getting into the ground was a breeze and I had a cold pint of Strongbow in my hand within a matter of minutes. We stumbled upon Yonaka at the North stage who weren’t really my bag, before moving over to watch Idles on the East stage (they were jokes by the way - Mark Bowen was in his pants). We spent the next few hours flitting between stages to see Sleeping With Sirens, Nothing But Thieves and Run The Jewels.

We grabbed some cheesy chips to share from a food stall and after chomping them down, jumped on the overpriced fairground ride which swung us round the park during the While She Sleeps performance.

BMTH were last up and let me tell you… they blew my f*****g mind. Mosh pits opened up either side of us as they stormed on stage and played MANTRA amidst a big bang of purple confetti. They played their old, new and in-between tracks with intervals of dance performances and costume changes. At the heart of the show, Oli Sykes gave a touching speech about mental health to the audience and moments later, came into the crowd to sing alongside us fans!!! They ended the gig with Throne and Drown - my two favourite BMTH songs. It was a performance that I’ll never forget.

Ten tips to boss a day-fest

1. Dress comfortably
Sure, the mesh cat suit with the black nipple covers and leather boots will look fierce on Instagram, but is it practical? Probably not. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes (I wear trainers) with an outfit that you can freely move around in. Check the weather forecast on the morning of departure to see if you will need to bring a raincoat and no matter what the weather is, bring a jumper – it gets chilly at night!
2. Eat before you go
If you don’t eat before you go, you risk being drunk and h-angry in the festival queues. I have queued for two hours to get into a day-fest before, so do your stomach a favour and grab a Pret A Manger on the way.
3. Enjoy a pre-drink, but don’t get smashed before you arrive
Again, the queues could be endless and toilets could be limited. Plus, you don’t want to be dozing off during your precious hours at the festival (sounds silly, but we saw people do this on Friday).
4. Book accommodation for the night
Clock-watching all evening won’t be fun and missing your last train home certainly won’t be fun either. We saw a group of girls panicking about missing their train on the way out of All Points East and I had a selfish wave of relief that we had a hotel booked for the night. Save yourself the hassle and book accommodation locally - you won’t regret it.
5. Bring cash
The cash or card dilemma is an interesting debate. All Points East preferred festival-goers to pay using contactless to speed up the waiting times at the bar. However, I find it easier to take cash out in advance so I know exactly how much I’m spending.
6. Bring tissues
I can’t express how important it is to bring a packet of tissues… or ten. Hell, I carry them everywhere with me anyway, but the toilet situation isn’t pretty by the evening and you shouldn’t expect luxuries like toilet roll at a festival.
7. Plan who you’re going to see
You don’t want to miss the act that you paid good money to see because you got carried away playing the game at the Tinder stall. Save yourself the drama by checking what time your favourite acts will be on well in advance and set an alarm on your phone - sorted.
8. Travel light
Keep your baggage to a minimum. For security reasons, most festivals only allow bags of a certain size into the ground. I took a bum bag to All Points East and dropped a small backpack off at the hotel so that I could explore London the next day with little luggage in tow.
9. Share food
Festival food can be expensive and sometimes there’s too much choice (like, do I want halloumi fries or Pad Thai?). Grab a couple of meals with your pals or fella to get more bang for your buck.
10. Go crazy
Let your crazy side flourish and do something you wouldn’t usually do. The great thing about a day-fest is that you have this weird sense of freedom for a short period of time and get to see those acts that you’ve been dying to see forever. What’s that lyric? “I’m here for a good time, not a long time” - let your hair down, girl!

I hope you find this guide useful for your upcoming shenanigans! Which festival are you heading to this summer?