Electric Picnic 2016 was, hands down, one of the funnest experiences of my life. I remember walking through Stradbally in the crowds of people that were excited to pitch their tent and start the weekend, the noise of suitcase wheels the only thing louder than the chatter. It was exciting to get a taste of independence for a weekend as well as a fun few days with my friends. However, looking back, there are a few things I missed. As a novice festival-goer, as well as observing the people around me, I've noticed in hindsight that there are some specific things that people don't think about when it comes to festivals because their minds are occupied with making sure that they've packed properly and that they don't lose their wristbands for the bus home. They aren't travesties, but to save you from thinking 'Oh, that's kind of annoying' at any point, whether at the festival or looking back, here is a list of things to avoid in order to have a perfect weekend - writes campus.ie.
1. Forgetting that you'll also be carrying alcohol.
This is more of a 'first day' issue. If you plan on bringing spirits, then this probably doesn't apply to you (remember to bring them in plastic bottles!), but if you are planning to carry a tent, fold-up chairs, a suitcase full of 'spare outfits' and then another bag full of toiletries, remember that your big bag of cans will most likely be very heavy, too. The novelty of 'the hero carrying a 24 pack on his shoulders' wears off after about 5 minutes of walking. To save yourself from desperately needing to crack one open after spending the morning/afternoon getting there and trying to find a spot, split with a friend or use a backpack.
2. Going 'all out' on the first day.
I made this mistake at Electric Picnic last year. I wore a full face of makeup, cheeks full of glitter, my hair braided in random places and my best harem pants. By Monday, I was on the bus wearing trackies with shorts under them and two hoodies. It is very easy to put a lot of effort into your look the day you get there, because you have all your amenities - a hair straightener, your full makeup bag, and a YouTube tutorial if you get stuck. At the festival, you'll be worse for wear in the mornings with tent lighting, little-to-no room and your friends pressuring you to hurry up because they want to get to the comedy tent before they end up having to watch the Rubberbandits on the TV screen. Sure, you can always head back to the tent and finish your look, but when you're at the main stage with a pint in your hand singing loudly while on a stranger's shoulders, does it really matter that much? Just bring a pot of glitter in your pocket - for emergencies.
3. Being rude to the workers.
Imagine trying to explain to an incredibly inebriated young person that you didn't make the curry chips €5 a tray, or that you can't just tell an act to come onstage when they're running late, or that you can't bring any of your own liquid into the main area, even if it's just water. Now imagine telling that to 50,000 incredibly inebriated young people. I'm not saying that they don't want to be there - they are volunteers - but they're on duty from very early in the morning to very late at night and would like as little hassle as possible. A 'thank you' goes a long way.
4. Not budgeting properly.
Speaking of a tray of curry chips for €5, you will have a wonderfully wide selection of food and drink at a festival. There are burger stands, vegan stands, Prosecco tents and more as far as the eye can see. But stuff costs money, unfortunately. If you don't want to spend money on food, you have to go back to your tent because your own items can't be brought into the main area. If you eat your own food and drink your own cans at your tent, you're missing out on all the acts, so what did even you buy the ticket for? There's room to budget wisely without completely restricting yourself - yes, you will want a burger when you're drunk, but the whiff as you walk by giving you a craving will pass after a minute or two. Hold out until you really want something.
5. Trying to get sleep in the noisiest part of the campsite.
You're going to sleep at one point. The first night can be a great buzz of everyone wanting to stay up, play music and drink more, but when you're mending your head in the morning, the last thing you want is the terrible techno from last night STILL playing on one end of your tent, with a girl getting sick at the other end. I was slightly disappointed when myself and my friends didn't get a spot in Jimi Hendrix at EP, but that went away when I was walking through in the early hours of the morning and saw a group of girls still awake from the night before singing along really loudly to no music. The campsite is where most of the memories happen, so if you're really dead-set on getting your Z's, then I suggest pitching tent somewhere a little quieter.
6. Wanting to go to everything.
It is impossible to be bored at a festival. Everywhere you look, there is something to do. The important thing to remember, though, is not to plan too much. I remember downloading the Electric Picnic app and favouriting every single act I had vaguely heard of. When it came to the actual festival, I only went to the main stage about three times, the theatre tent once, and the comedy tent twice. It's important to prioritise because planning too much will ironically result in doing very little.
Of course, there's a whole host of other unspoken things to remember when going to a festival - wear suncream if it's sunny, wrap up warm if it's raining, use protection, mind your belongings etc. But, hey, they're unspoken for a reason, right? These are just a few 'The weekend was good, but would have been better if..' tips so you make the most out of the experience. Remember, it's only a few days, so get your glitter on and go and make the best memories you can. Enjoy!
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