Summer in London is finally in sight and so too are the city’s finest festivals. That said, it’s time to don your denim shorts (and probably some wellies) and get stuck into the groove. And, after all that fun, why not treat yourself to a restorative stay at The Montcalm London for that all-important post-festival downtime?
Whether its hip-hop and R'n'B at Wireless, funky pop and indie a la Lovebox, or getting down and dirty to dance and drum and bass at SW4, London’s a hive of festival activity over the summer. So, if you’re going to one, it pays to be prepared.
Leave all non-essentials back at your hotel in Shoreditch (undoubtedly one of the coolest neighbourhoods to stay in, by the way…) and prep with our handy list of packing essentials.
If good old-fashioned British weather remains true to form, you could see yourself drenched in a matter of seconds, even if you were enjoying blazing sunshine mere minutes before.
You’ll be kicking yourself if you’re not prepared – traipsing across a field soaking wet and shivering can have you muttering “I’m never doing another festival again” before you know it. That means you should err on the side of caution and be sure to carry a lightweight raincoat with you for any unexpected downpours.
You can easily tie it around your waist or chuck it in your bag and avoid the not-so-chic plastic poncho look if the sun does decide to stay out.
In a similar vein, London weather in the summer can sometimes be unpredictable in the best of ways - glorious sunshine seemingly coming out of nowhere.
So that you aren’t completely dazzled in the process, forcing you to squint to see all your favourite bands, make sure you don’t forget to pack your favourite sunnies. For an effortlessly cool festival look, opt for a pair of classic Raybans, or if you’re not a fan of playing it safe, go for a cat-eye shape or an oversized pair to add funky, retro style to your look.
If you’ve got a prescription pair, it’s an even more crucial packing essential.
Wet wipes and/or anti-bacterial sanitiser
There’s nothing worse than finally getting to the front of the portaloo queue and realising there’s no loo roll or soap – far too common an occurrence.
In fact, you should expect it.
If you’ve been to a festival or two, you’ll know the portaloos aren’t exactly the most pleasant of spots; pair that with 10,000 other people’s germs, greasy burger hands and more and you’re one hug away from a case of a nasty cold or something worse. If you want to put your mind to rest, be sure to pack a mini bottle of hand sanitiser as well as wet wipes or tissues for that painful (but necessary) trip to the toilet.
This one is for the girls!
Sure, you may have had the luxury of getting ready at your lovely boutique hotel in London, but as the day wears on, you may want a handy pocket mirror for any subtle little make-up touch-ups. All that sweaty dancing and running around the field - particularly in the heat or even rain - can take its toll on perfectly applied festival make-up. Alas, to avoid the panda-eye look and any stray sequins, just whip out this little beauty as and when you need it.
Portable phone charger
We’ve all been there…you agreed to meet your mates at ‘X’ tent and your friends are not at the said tent.
After a few tinnies, a few trips to the toilet or the separation of the group from tent-to-tent, you’ll no doubt want to get everyone back on track again. You’ll also want to take endless selfies to remember your fun-filled festival day. Unfortunately, no matter how charged your phone starts out, it’ll always end up dying at the most inconvenient time.
Save yourself a lot of stress and hassle and make packing a fully charged portable phone charger top of your priority list.
You’d be forgiven for presuming we’re more or less a cash-free society now, and with a quick tap of the card you can line up those ciders and away you go. But, don’t be fooled - many bars and small food stands at festivals are cash only.
If you’re likely to want food, a few drinks, or even a spontaneous go on the waltzers, you’ll want to take a supply of cash with you as many of the services at London festivals are cash only. Save yourself a tedious half-hour queue at the on-site cash point and get out a decent amount beforehand.
As per point two, if you’re lucky enough to enjoy a sun-soaked day at your festival you’ll want to try and avoid getting a serious burn.
Bag sizes are often limited at day festivals in London (hence the importance of only packing essentials) so head to Boots and opt for the travel-sized sun creams in factor 30 or more. This way, you can easily top up throughout the day.
You’d be surprised at how much mileage you actually make at festivals, spending up to twelve hours traipsing across fields from tent-to-tent, as well as dancing and running around.
If you’ve decided to wear brand new sandals or trainers, be prepared for a few blisters along the way and slip a few plasters in your bag. Nobody wants to be hobbling around all afternoon. Same goes for paracetamol. You never know when the heat, the drinks and the loud music is going to rear its ugly head in the form of a banging headache.
Such a seemingly basic thing to remember – hopefully in your purse or wallet already – can really make or break the day, but it’s easily forgotten.
Imagine queuing at the bar for 20 minutes only to get to the front, get asked for your ID and find you’re missing yours. A royal pain in the bum that means you’re either relying upon your mates all day or missing out altogether. To avoid any inconvenience, make sure to put this in your bag along with everything else.
You’ll no doubt want to capture all the funniest, silliest and most memorable moments with your friends and family as well as your favourite artists on festival day – and a cool way to do this is with a mini polaroid camera.
Whether you’re grooving away in the dance tent, taking selfies with new pals, or taking a scenic shot for the scrapbook, a retro Polaroid camera is the way to go. Self-printing in a matter of seconds, it’ll ensure your memories of the day last long beyond the final beer. Just be sure to take enough film with you.