Just a yurt, between you and the stars
Published 18/05/2010 | 16:14
Each year the Sunday newspaper supplements groan with festival listings, as every field, stately home and moderately-sized garden gets overtaken by welly-wearers who love live music.
And these days, wherever there's a stage and some grass, there are 'glampers'.
Glamorous camping - or glamping - is a modern phenomenon which has transformed the outdoor festival scene.
Gone are the endless rows of identical canvas triangles, and in their places have come yurts, tipis, podpads and outdoor hotel rooms.
Melvin Benn, director of Latitude and a host of other live festivals, says habits have changed as festival-goers have got older, and camping equipment lighter.
"The demographic has changed at Latitude and at Glastonbury. Quite frankly, you would think people are moving in. Teenagers still turn up with a tent, and possibly a sleeping bag, but older guests make house."
As tents became easier to carry, he explained, people began to bring more creature comforts along, and, at the same time, the average age of visitors became higher.
Prescient entrepreneurs, says Benn, noting his customers' desire to be comfortable, looked into ways to furnish their needs - quite literally.
Now a range of stylish accommodations are available - all, of course, in-keeping with that laid-back, alternative, festival vibe.
"The options are endless," concedes Benn.
His personal high-end favourite is Camp Kerala [www.campkerala.com] at Glastonbury.
"They provide guests not just with a luxurious tent, but also a welly-cleaning service, cocktail waiters and on-hand masseurs."
At £8000 for two people, it's not cheap, he laughs, but "worth every penny".
Then there are the modern tipis and yurts.
"At festivals you'll see tipi fields filled with record company executives and banking executives.
"You've also got podpads, which are new. They're marginally bigger than a dog's kennel, have two lovely beds, a lockable door with a latch, and a doorbell - which is such a treat!"
As Melvin explains, the changes in festival accommodation have made his life easier.
"It's opened up a part of the market that otherwise would have been reluctant to come along," he says.
"If you're heading to Latitude, there's a limited amount of bed and breakfast accommodation nearby - and it fills up quite quickly. Another problem, is that you have to drive off-site to get to and from it."
For those who prefer to crawl back to something a little more gentile than a tent after a day's entertainment, yurts, podpads and tipis that festival-goers can book in advance, are the perfect solution.
"There's probably a couple of thousand people at the bigger festivals who would only come while those facilities are available," he says.
What does make Benn laugh, is the Brits' capacity to embrace the concept of the outdoor festival (there are more than 350 music festivals happening this year) despite this country's dreadful weather record.
"I once went to Australia to look at the idea of putting together a festival there," he says.
"I thought I'd do it in March. But they thought I was mad - as it rains for a couple of days in that month.
"I was like, 'My God, I'm from England, the idea of a bit of rain putting anyone off a festival is inconceivable, it just doesn't happen.'.
"British people love the outdoors, and festivals satisfy that need. But they're also starting to satisfy their second love - doing up homes!"
Find out how you can join the glampers at a music festival near you this year...
:: WICKED CAMPERS
With a built-in kitchen area, a bed wide enough for three, a CD Player and iPod/MP3 connection, and table and camping chairs, Wicked Campers's range of refurbished camper vans means you can literally pack the kitchen sink, when you head off. And with campervan depots in many major cities across Europe, you don't even have to limit your festival-going to the UK.
Prices start from only £510 for seven days. Visit www.wickedcampers.co.uk
:: HOTEL ROOMS
Sadly, due to the recession, Travelodge's wonderful innovation never made it further than the photoshoot. But if these see-through pods ever do make it to market, they'll be available from £19 per room.
Justine and Simon of Yurts and Squrts have pioneered luxury festival accommodation, and their yurts are available to hire at many festivals across the UK.
Basic yurts are priced from £405, and squrts and cloudhouses from £225, depending on the event.
:: GYPSY CARAVANS
Greg Mort makes his own bowtop gypsy caravans and hires them out for festivals. One weekend will cost you £600 plus travelling expenses. Visit www.gregsgypsybowtops.co.uk
Made primarily of wood, the 8ft by 8ft podpad can stand alone, or as part of a terrace. Available with or without without beds, the basic podpad comes pre-decorated with a wooden floor, fitted carpet, interior light, shelving with a mirror, a lock on the front door and tinted windows! Visit www.podpads.com
The most popular luxury camping site around, Tangerine Fields offer festival-goers everything from tipis to caravans. Prices for tipis start from £480. For more information visit www.tangerinefields.co.uk
When it comes to living outdoors there are a few essential that the modern 'glamper' shouldn't be without.
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