Last week I wrote about pre-festival nerves before heading off to End of the Road festival. I am now back, slightly broken, but better for it. Check out my top tips for festival survival at the end of this post.
End of the Road is a small festival in Wiltshire with about 11,000 people attending every year. In comparison to other popular UK festivals like Latitude (35,000) and Glastonbury (153,000) that’s not very many at all, and we figured a small festival like this would be ideal for a little odd bod like me.
The music line up was awesome, assuming you’re a fan of alternative folk and indie pop music, which I most definitely am. My personal highlights included Future Islands, War on Drugs, Sufjan Stevens and Slow Club. Check them out if you don’t already know and love them.
It will come as no surprise to you that I was also very excited about the food options. The festival is so small that the massive range of food stalls made it feel like a food festival more than a music festival, which I was definitely okay with. I had pies, pizza, curry, noodles, pancakes and many other delicious things. It’s actually amazing (and by ‘amazing’ I mean ‘scary’) how much food I can eat in three days.
The other wonderful thing about End of the Road is the location. Set in fields and woodland at Larmer Tree Gardens, the whole site is one big magical fairy tale and I adore the art installations, giant props and figurines scattered across the woodland. Some may call it pretentious, I prefer to call it twee. And boy do I love twee.
Normally I would camp in a tent with every other festival goer, but this year six of us stepped it up a gear and got ourselves a fancy bell tent in the boutique camp site. Look how magical they are! The boutique camp site provided us with a a pamper tent, a chill out tent and – most importantly – breakfast on our doorstep.
As the sun sets on the summer, I’m pretty convinced I’ll be back at End of the Road next year. It wasn’t perfect and it was hard work but it was certainly manageable and – with a few more adjustments (see below) – I think I could get to be quite the little fibro festival survivor.
My festival survival tips:
#1 – Look into disabled camp site rather than the boutique camp site. Boutique camping is furthest away from the music stages, I assume to minimise the noise disturbance, but this means it’s a pretty long walk from tent to stage each day.
#2 – See everything, but only once. Although the site isn’t huge, it’s scattered and you’re unlikely to be able to explore it more than once. Make a plan or aimlessly wander, your choice, but soak it in because it’s unlikely you’ll go back.
#3 – Get the gear. Camping gear costs a lot and it can seem like a pointless purchase if you only use it once every few years, but if you’re a frequent festival goer or camp on family holidays, it’s well worth making sure you have the right gear to make your trip easier. Get a good bag, get a good air bed, and get as much light-weight stuff as you can.
#4 – Take small hits for a greater win. You won’t enjoy the festival if it completely destroys you, so accept that you won’t see everything you want but you will get overall satisfaction and happiness from your weekend in a field. I set up camp by the main stage and missed a couple of acts, but it meant sitting still all day and saving those dancing legs for later in the day.
#5 – Keep warm, stay chilled. It’s all about layers and if you’re going to avoid long walks to and from your tent, you need to pack effectively and make sure you’re as warm as you can be. Oh – and pray for September sunshine.