After an entire summer spent in various parts of the US, I have returned home to a soggy Ireland. I spent my summer working in a camp (an interesting experience) and staying with my aunt and uncle outside Sacramento. I completely ignored this blog (and basically all forms of social media), partly due to a workplace that banned technology, mostly due to the fact that I was living with 11 nine year olds for 7 weeks.
I’m still recovering from the latter experience,and making up for the former with A LOT of internet time. I am planning some new posts about my camp experience (if anyone is interested) and I hope to stick to posting once a week for the next couple of months.
This friday will mark the beginning of my fourth electric picnic. I have been going since I was 16 and it never fails to be an incredible weekend. Over the last two years the atmosphere has changed a lot and a very different catchment of people are beginning to swap it for lack of a large 3 day festival alternative which is a bit disappointing. Adding to the are 50 thousand people going this year which is a lot more than usual, I am missing one of the main elements to festival enjoyment (shout out to a certain Aoife Mableson here), AND there’s a hurricane forecasted. So, I’m being sound and posting some of my hard earned tips for all those brave souls venturing out for the first time, or third incase there is something valuable in them. Please tell me yours too!
- Bring little packets of tissues instead of bringing toilet paper. because nobody want to carry around a full roll,and portaloos are not somewhere you want to depend on for anything. Ever. Portaloo’s or portals as autocorrect keeps trying to change it to, which is accurate as they are portals into a world unburdened with the knowledge that dirt causes disease (or perhaps an alternative universe where pre-industrial revolution hygiene is acceptable) are not that unbearable until the Monday morning. No need to get worked up until then.
- It’s possible to survive soley on nature valley bars and bulmers for three days, its just not pleasant Bring portable food (cheese strings, cereal boxes, pringles) and your overall happiness levels will increase by 80%. Just make sure that its sturdy portable food, and prepare never to want to eat it again, or until you go to another music festival.
- If you’re drinking spirits, divide it out into 3 days worth while distilling it into your non- glass container. prevents spillage (thus saving you precious alcohol), prevents getting too drunk on one night and not drunk enough on another (saving you fun) and generally makes life a breeze. Also, don’t mix vodka and raspberry isotonic drink because what you may earn in electrolytes you will lose in self respect and it tastes vile. And yes, I know that one from personal experience.
- Bin bags can be used for a multitude of things and will never not be useful. Some of these uses include the obvious- for gathering rubbish, to the less obvious (perfect seating on muddy ground, a temporary poncho, and my favourite- shoes)
- If you leave your wellies outside your tent they will be stolen and you’ll have to resort to using bin bags to get you to the oxfam stall as mentioned above.
- Bring a proper camping mat if it’s the only thing you invest in. Otherwise the ground will absorb all you body heat and you will be in for on of the coldest nights of your life and will want to go home. And don’t rely on your air mattress because it will most probably deflate and leave you sleeping on said ground.
- When it gets dark it gets REALLY really cold. Bring a hat. Bring ugly, warm clothes. Bring a torch, and stay up as long as you can. Sleeping in the next morning when it gets warmer is much more enjoyable than being awake when its warmer. I went to bed before 5 twice in my EP career, once the first year when I was so cold I thought I was going to die, and once in my third year when I had hypothermia and the medic tent gave me a heat blanket (so it wasn’t quite the same). The first time, I was so cold and kept up so late anyway by the noise I was considering calling my mother to take me home, and the second I missed out on everything so it was shitcraic either way, and despite an increase in temperature.
- Don’t be a dick. Easier said then done, but try not to be a dick. Everyone just wants to have a good time, and being a dick brings out the worst in everyone around you. If the guys camping beside us one year hadn’t been rapey, rude and aggressive to us and everyone near us, we would’ve helped them put up their tent and they wouldn’t have slept inside it while it was flattened on the ground. When I was in the medics tent the medics were way nicer to people who weren’t being aggressive and rude to them. The guards are nicer to people who treat them with respect, the bouncers are nicer to people who aren’t giving them hassle… it all works out in the end.
- Don’t be an idiot. It is a music festival, and there are a lot of people who take drugs. If you are planning to, be safe. Every year I have seen people who have taken too much and put themseleves in potentially dangerous situations. There are loads of things you can do to make using drugs safer (This website has loads of tips). At best, you could prevent your friends being pissed off at you because you ruined their night, or save yourself from having a bad weekend. At worse, you could prevent yourself from becoming very ill.
- Blister plasters. Because whatever shoes you wear, you will get blisters. Its inevitable, and blister plasters can bring a weekend from a 5 to a 9 real quick. Free plasters from the Order of Malta can only bring a gal so far.