Life

Thursday 18 September 2014

The A-Z of festival survival

A handy guide on how to survive festival season and come out the other side in relatively decent shape.

Tanya Sweeney

Published 19/06/2014 | 02:30

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Electric Picnic photo by Gregory Nolan
Forbidden Fruit
Forbidden Fruit
Body & Soul Festival

Now that the first hurrah of the summer that is Forbidden Fruit has come and gone, festival season is officially in full swing.

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Whether you're a music snob obsessed with the new, the next and the now, or you prefer the 'ambience' of the camping car park, here's our handy guide on how to enjoy festival season, and come out the other side in relatively decent shape ...

A is for ... Art

Festivals aren't just about brushing up on your Mount Kimbies and your John Grants ... there's much to like for art fans, too. At Body & Soul, a number of artists, from Paul Rogan to Julie O'Hea, will turn Ballinlough Castle into a feast for the eyes.

B is for ... Body & Soul

If you go down to the woods er, tomorrow you're sure of ... well, a hot tub, fireworks, candlelit opera and lakeside poster beds. Combining family-friendly comfort and a vibe pitched somewhere between the Proms and the Burning Man festival, Body & Soul is a definite high point in the summer festival calendar.

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C is for ... Comedy

Over at the Electric Picnic's Stradbally site, the Comedy and Spoken Word tent provides plenty of comic relief for revellers. Expect the best of homegrown talent, with a few visiting dignitaries thrown in for good measure.

D is for ... Dirt

You're in a field. There's no getting away from it. Leave the statement-making, dry clean-only outfits at home and think washing machine-friendly.

E is for ... Electricity Ireland

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The Electric Picnic's official energy partner. Last year, the company powered the action, thanks in part to revellers: on a purpose-built stage, those who danced along to aerobics classes hosted by Mr Motivator generated electricity for the weekend. Though the Spandex-clad one has yet to officially confirm a return, the smart money says that he may be Stradbally-bound again this year.

F is for ... Fashion

Ladies; the rose crown, sunshimmer and fairy wings are as done as a burnt burger. Ditto the shorts/fake tan/flowery wellies combo. If in doubt about your sartorial choices, google 'What Dita Von Teese wears to Coachella'. You're welcome.

G is for ... Grub

Put it this way, you won't go hungry. The days of paying a fiver for a glass of Club Orange and a packet of crisps in someone's front garden are mercifully gone. Veggie, ethnic, adventurous, posh, stodgy ... at any festival worth its salt, the gang's all here, so relax with the homemade hang sangiches.

H is for ... Hangover cures

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No-one wants to see you throw up in a campsite bush on Sunday morning (trust us, we've done the extensive field research on this one). We have it on good authority that chugging pineapple juice before bedding down will minimise the damage (something to do with enzymes). We yet can't account for the veracity of this information ... maybe this is the summer to find out.

I is for ... Indie snob

Yes, that's him throwing you some serious shade for talking during Slowdive. Notable markings: pointy shoes, an ironic Glenn Medeiros t-shirt, and a general air of haughtiness. Avoid like the bubonic plague.

J is for ... The Jacks

It's the festival necessity that daren't speak its name. Spending a half-hour scoping out the quietest portable toilets on site (the Minefield area of the Electric Picnic, for instance) is a half-hour well spent.

K is for ... Kids

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Pint-sized revellers will find much to like at Body & Soul's Soul Kids' area, where adventures, trails, yoga, crafting and a whole host of other delights await. Handy.

L is for ... Leviathan

It's not all waving your hands in the air like you don't care – you can feed your brain while you're at the Electric Picnic if you feel so inclined. With David McWilliams, Miriam O'Callaghan and Ryan Tubridy providing the food for thought in previous years, the smart money says that this year's line-up will be just as ... eh, smart.

M is for ... Masquerade Ball

Body & Soul's famous Masquerade Ball takes place at twilight on Saturday, amid the walled gardens of the castle. This year, the theme is 'Wild Card', so start thinking about those costumes.

N is for ... Newbies

Keeping an eye out for festival virgins is often good fun for grizzled veterans. Freshly emancipated from school exams and with a shiny fake ID in his pocket, the Newbie has been waiting to make his festival debut for years. Well, three years. Expect Longitude to be teeming with them.

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O is for ... OMG, I forgot the wet wipes

You know the drill by now. Do this at your peril.

P is for ... Packing

Scarred by years of lugging backpacks across fields, the seasoned festie fan has packing down to a fine art. Two dresses (or two jeans-shirt combos), four pairs of underwear, a pair of boots, sunscreen, dry shampoo, one hat and a hoodie, and you're good to go. Extras? On your head be it.

Q is for ... Queues

Another festival essential we'd gladly do without. Food, toilets, bars ... you can't address the most basic of human needs without a queue. Sorry.

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R is for ... Rathmullan House

All food vendors are created equal ... though some are more, eh, equal than others. Many wax rhapsodical about Pieminister (some people might actually just GO to festivals for the pies), but Rathmullan House is both posh and perfect with pints.

S is for ... Sunscreen

Chances are you won't have much need for SPF on an Irish summer weekend, but you never know ...

T is for ... Trenchtown

Over at the Picnic, celebrate in true yard style with oodles of live dub/reggae music, dance, art and performance. It'll be just like being in Jamaica. Without the sun, of course.

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U is for ... Ultimate Pampering

For some, the Electric Picnic is a feat of physical endurance, and happily, organisers have thought of everything when it comes to counteracting all that walking. Think tea, buns and seaweed foot-baths. Far from Feile it was reared.

V is for ... The Village

The Body & Soul Village is an integral part of the Picnic experience; in fact many people rarely leave its confines all weekend. Soak up its famously laid-back vibes into the wee hours.

W is for ... Wellies

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No need to go too try-hard with patterns, either. For all our sakes, don't be that guy/girl.

X is for ... Axel Boman

Just one of the many acts headed to Marlay Park for the Longitude weekender. He's part of a brilliantly mixed bag, so expect lashings of great indie along with this helping of Swedish house.

Y is for ... Yurt

Everyone knows that your common-or-garden Argos tent is perfectly serviceable, but yurts are a cut above.

They're so glam, you'll almost be expecting a turndown service and chocolates on your pillow. I said, almost.

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Z is for ... catching some ZZZZZZZs

If sleeping is a priority for you ... well, you really are in the wrong place. Try some ear plugs, and a miracle.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent
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