If you’re heading to Electric Picnic in Laois this year, you need a Festival Checklist. Irish Festivals are fantastic, they can be truly special. However, the infamous Irish weather can turn the weekend into an ordeal if you’re not prepared for it. The bus’ drop-off point might be considerably further from the site that you were first told.
I’ve been to over 50 festivals as a camper, so I know the ins and outs of it at this stage. I want you to enjoy your festival from start to finish, so I’ve made a handy Festival Checklist of Essentials, Bonus packs and Non-Essential items for your next Festival outing.
The Obvious Festival Essentials
Don’t kid yourself.
You need to bring these.
If this is your first festival, you might not see the need. You’ve not encountered a Sunday afternoon portaloo at a festival. Yet. Take heed, pack at least two loo rolls. (These can become currency at longer festivals)
You already know the suss here. It’ll be chucking down rain at 3pm and splitting the stones at 4. A light rain jacket will save you lugging around a load of bulk unnecessarily.
A Tent & Sleeping Bag
You’re going to need somewhere to sleep. Top tip, avoid the bargain-bin pop up tents, lest you want this to be the Summer of your Discount Tent. (All joking aside, don’t get a cheap tent. It’s 100% not worth it)
Other Festival Essentials
Spare Tent Pegs
They have a mind of their own and will go walkabouts. Other less cheery campers might nick them too. It’s always handy to have a few more in the bag to stop you blowing into the next field over during the night.
Have you ever slept on uneven ground? No. Nobody has. Sleep is uncommon at festivals, but you don’t need to make what little you’re going to have a miserable time. Make sure a camping Mat is on your own Festival Checklist.
You know who’s never had trench foot? This guy. I always pack two pairs of socks, per festival day. I regularly don’t need them, but I also don’t need to worry about walking about in cold, squelchy socks if things take a turn for the worse. Also, they double-up as bonus gloves should you need them.
See above. Also, don’t ruin your good runners.
A cheap towel can dry you after bad rainfall, clean up spilt drinks in the tent and hide your blushes while you’re getting changed.
You’re not expected to enjoy the band playing jazz-country-nu-metal-fusion at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. Not without a few cans inside you anyway. Remember, cans are fine, but any glass will most likely be confiscated off you on arrival. Like the saying goes:
“A slab of cans is yer only man”.
Irish people burn like toast at a narcolepsy breakfast. If you do nothing else, cover up your ears, nose and neck.
It’s everyone’s festival. Lets not make your three-day pong become a talking point.
These are not essential. But many people overlook them when packing.
Portable Battery Charger / Festival Phones
Phones are essential. They’ll help you stay in touch with friends after you split to see different bands. They’re gonna let you hear about the surprise bands appearances as they happen and they’ll let you gloat about how much fun you’re having on Instagram. Essential. So consider a portable battery charger or one of those cheap festival phones that will last the weekend on one charge.
Stylish and functional. Well, functional anyway. Headlamps are great for putting a tent up in the dark or if you’re trying to pour mixer into vodka when you’re sideways in a ditch.
Do you need to hear Graham from Athlone’s rendition of Galway Girl at 4am? Nope. Earplugs are great. They’re also handy if you get upfront at one of the stages and don’t want to run the risk of Tinnitus. You’ll still hear all the music, but you won’t be subject to as much aural damage.
Stick this on your tent, so you can find it regardless of what condition you’re in. Your neighbours will appreciate it too.
Sean’s Top Tips
This could be an essential item if you have an old tent. I’ve held tents together in bad rain with gaffa tape more than once. Also handy if you want to tape your sleeping friend to their camping chair!
Getting them in might be another thing – the likes of Electric Picnic and ATN specifically state you can’t bring them in, but some of the more relaxed, camping festivals will be fine with them. Check ahead of time anyway – but they’re great for keeping warm at night and getting a fry going the next morning. See ours here.
We’re back to considering the rain. Stick your phone and toilet paper in these to keep them bone dry.
Hold the boat.
I can hear you cry out already:
“How am I supposed to carry all this stuff? I’d be more Buckaroo than Buckfast Crew if I was to take all this!”
Well, my happy chum, I’ve got some suggestions for you. Somethings to make the festival experience easier, and a list of things you definitely do not need to bring to the next Electric Picnic.
Happy add ons:
Imagine taking all the weight off your back. Imagine having to just pull a cart full of all your essentials, or push a sack truck with your slabs of beer. You’d be enjoying the festival from the time you step off the bus. Well, maybe actually after you get the tent up. But either way, you won’t be wrecked tired before it even begins. If nothing else, pop one of these on your festival checklist
So other than the fantabulous suggestions above, you should also not bring the following:
It should go without saying that bringing high heels to a mucky field is nothing but an appetite for ruined shoes and a fractured ankle. It’s becoming a growing trend lately, I counted 2 people being carted away with damaged ankles at one festival in 2019.
You might get lucky getting them through security, but you also don’t want to lose your spirits before you even get into the festival. Decant them into plastic bottles ahead of time (and gaffa tape the lids closed to prevent spillage)
It’s going to get messy. And possibly mucky. And probably rowdy. Don’t bring anything you can’t afford to lose to a festival.
Onesies / Bodysuits / Rompers
Okay, Onesies are clearly the height of fashion. AND they’ll keep you warm at night, right? Sure.
But do you really want to get naked in a festival portaloo?
Nope. Nope, you don’t. Take them off any Festival Checklist.
If you can think of any more essentials or non-essentials for an Irish Festival, let us know in the comments below.