1. Prep – Pack well and pack as light as you can as you will have to do a fair bit of walking from the car park to where you camp. It’s worth having some sort of trolley and if it hasn’t been too wet then you MAY get away with a travel case with small wheels. Nothing keeps to well in a tent so emergency snacks are useful, cereal bars, crisps any dry goods that will tide you over until you get to the food wagons. Take your phone charger if you want but the queue is normally really long so just stick it on for an hour a day, if it’s important you’ll have a message waiting. Have a quick check of your gear before you go, wrap up your sleeping bag in a bin bag for some waterproofing goodness. Wet wipes, antibacterial gel, dry shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant are you best bets to stay fresh. Take a fold up chair too, not for watching the bands just for the tent as there will be times you don’t want to lay or stand. Take sun cream and maybe a wind up lamp. The lamp is not essential but if you’re trying to do contacts or other fiddly things at night, you may need it.
2. Travel – However you get there be prepared to wait. The train station will get rammed but they do prepare for this and run shuttles from the train to the campsite. Driving is a bit hit and miss, you may hit a smooth run but it’s likely that you will queue for a bit. In the past I’ve found that parking near the exit is best. It mean a longer walk to the camping areas but it means it’s easier to leave which is all you want to do after four days of partying.
3. Pitch – Do not pitch near the toilets, bear in mind wind direction too. Like I said earlier, this is a bit more subjective. If you want to be in the throws of it then pitch closer to the paths and closer to the stages. They will be louder at night and are more likely to be subject to some water logging if it rains. Higher ground set a bit back from the main paths or by the security fences means a quieter life but trekking to the stages takes more time. If the weather does turn then make sure you have your guy ropes in to prevent water seepage. Then the tent will be your refuge in times of extreme weather.
Some people will take a flag to help identify where they’ve pitched, we’ve never done this as we found that we can navigate by somebody else’s flag.
Part 2 will land on the morrow.