British Festival Packing List


As I quickly write this blog post before packing up and heading to Shambala for the weekend, I cannot resist the urge to multitask – and so I present you with this, the ultimate tried and testing festival packing list for all the things you need for a music festival in the UK!

What to bring:

A raincoat

Cag in a bag. Mac in a pack. Waterproof. Mackintosh. Whatever you want to call it, an effective raincoat is not optional. It doesn’t matter how sunny it might be when you leave or what the weather forecast says before you go: you never know when the heavens might open.


Also known as rubber boots or rain boots. Trust me, you’ll need them. The downside of being a ‘green and pleasant land’ is that it can sure get muddy quickly.

Warm clothes

Think layers – long socks, hoodies, cardigans. The nights and evenings especially can get surprisingly cold.

A decent day bag

From backpacks to bumbags, the choice is yours. Just make sure it’s large enough to fit in all your essentials (water bottles, money, camera, program, raincoat etc) and not too easy for a pickpocket lurking on the dance floor to open.

Your ‘festival phone’

That is, a bulky old brick with a battery that lasts for days that you can pick up for £10 at the local phone shop. Not only will it never die, but you don’t have to worry about losing it, either to theft or down the toilet.

Dry shampoo

Hello, my old friend.


Hey, a girl can dream.

Reusable water bottle

Don’t waste time and money buying bottles of water that will just end up in the landfill – bring your own and refill it periodically.

Cooking stove and food

Festival food is delicious, but expensive. Break it up (and save yourself the trouble of having to roll out of the tent and into your willies with a hangover) by bringing at least some food with you.


If you thought the food was expensive, wait until you see the drinks prices. Does anyone ever actually buy drinks at the bars in festivals?

Rubbish bags

Bring a carrier bag or two to keep the rubbish in your tent to a minimum – don’t just litter.


Useful for drunken 5am stumbles to the toilets, fumbling for drinks inside the tent, and much more.

Ear plugs

If not to shut out the thumping bass, at least to lessen the cries of the guy walking around the camping area at 6am shouting “SHAAAAKE THAT ASSSSS AND SHAAAAAKE THOSE TITTTTIIIIIEEEEES!” at the top of his lungs and repeatedly (ah, Creamfields 2009…)

Tampons and pads

It’s god’s law that you’ll get your period, however unexpectedly, right at the start of a festival.


Even if they’re not for you, you never know if one of your friends might end up needing one.


Whether it’s hay fever tablets, painkillers, cranberry pills or simply some vitamin supplements to make you feel better about yourself, make like a scout and be prepared.

What not to bring:

Illegal drugs

Sorry guys, it might not seem like it all the time, but we actually have some pretty firm drug laws in the UK  – not to mention police officers, security guards and sniffer dogs employed especially to weed out any lawbreakers at the gates. At best you could get thrown out the festival (or the country); at worst, you’re looking at up to 7 years jail-time for possession.

Baby wipes

I know. Sacrilege! Everyone loves baby wipes but they’re no replacement for good old fashioned, biodegradable toilet paper – especially if you want to use the compostable toilets (which are always a far nicer alternative than the portaloos).


Glass is banned from most festival sites because it’s dangerous when broken, so decant everything into plastic bottles beforehand.

Anything you’d hate to lose

Festivals attract thieves. Don’t bring anything you’d hate to see disappear from your tent (cameras, jewelry etc), and be prepared to cart anything of value that you do bring around with you for the entire time.

The kitchen sink

Remember you’ve got to carry all of this across fields before finally setting up camp!


Have we forgotten anything? Remind us below.


About Author

Leah Eades is a compulsive traveller and freelance writer, whose adventures so far include working in an Italian nightclub, contracting a mystery illness in the Amazon, studying at a Chinese university, and cycling 700km along the Danube River. She blames cheap Ryanair flights for her addiction. Having recently graduated with an English degree, she is currently based in Florence, Italy.

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