Education, Uncategorized

My first festival

Festivals are exciting! For some it’s an experience to look forward to and for others it’s a step outside of the comfort zone, for me it was somewhere in between. I was nervous due to the lack of communication from the organisers, I didn’t know what to expect other than a field, which was in a very windy part of the country, with people whom I did not know. What I do know, is that it was an amazing experience and one I’m keen to repeat… Next time will be different… Next time I will be prepared and here is how…

My first festival was a serious learning curve, for the most part I was huddled up trying to preserve heat, with large bulky layers leaving little room for manoeuvre and despite many comments from bemused festival goers I was far from warm… As this was a working weekend we knew that our equipment would be put to the ultimate test. End result one dead gazebo, frost bite *** (perhaps a slight exaggeration on my part), an abundance of truly wonderful people, willing to help the newbies out, hey it wasn’t that long ago that they were in our position and I now know what to take to help others like us, taking those first tentative steps into unmarked territory.

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It wasn’t all bad, for starters we got the tables right, we got the table cloths so right that they were complimented by veteran festival goers, our set up was eye catching, with different heights to give potential customers and browsers different area’s to focus on, we had small change, we had business cards and most importantly we had a smile, despite the cold, it was difficult not to smile. Here we were at a Beltane fire festival, going back to basics with like minded people, starting our days with mindfulness exercises, surrounded by bright hippie clothing, ukulele and guitar playing, singer songwriters all to keen to share their talent, which was amazing around the fire each night.

Our clothing needed some serious reconsideration, base layers and thermals are an absolute must, especially when your festival is in the UK and in April, we are off to Iceland next year and plan to build all of our kit around arctic conditions, the UK can’t beat us, next time we will be snug as a bug, so crack out the snoods, insulated boots, long johns, pixie hats and cloak (yes, serious cloak envy at this event, they have sooo many uses, amazing idea, pretty and warm, and let’s face it, who hasn’t on some level wished for a good excuse to own a cape, without having to keep it a secret for fear of being considered a weirdo).

Our gazebo is a story in it’s own right, it was clear we had made a rooky mistake as soon as we put it up, fortunately a more seasoned stallholder could see our mistake and kindly loaned us a couple of ratchet straps and dog tie out stakes to secure (a must have for all stalls) without these I am convinced that we would have lost said gazebo well before the final day. I’m sure that this delightful structure would be perfect in a back garden and a great choice for an afternoon tea party, however for coastal areas, prone to high winds, this is not the way to go. We decided to try and glean as much information and advice from the seasoned pros as possible and here is our top list of must have accessories.

Batteries… For when you’re all prepared with torches, only to find that the batteries are dead… Yes personal experience taught us this.

Head light… For going to the toilet at night, it’s difficult enough for us women to hover in such a small space, add in the bulky layers and feeling like the abominable snowman, whilst trying to hold a phone with a torch app in your mouth sounds entertaining but in reality a head torch would have made life that huge bit easier.

A workspace… I do not recommend a gazebo, options are vast and are dependent on finances. A day tent would certainly work for soft surfaces, as would a tunnel tent, which would give you the option of having your sleeping quarters in the same structure as your shop, meaning you don’t need to pack up each day. Gala tents are one of the more expensive options, however they are solid and with extra ratchets to secure it down, you can rest easily knowing nothing is going to get blown away., or collapse.

Here is a list of little odds and sods, that can really make the difference, sadly I didn’t have all of these, but I’ll be sure to take them next time.

  • Cable ties

  • Duct tape

  • Tarpaulin to throw over stock should the conditions change, or just a little added extra protection overnight.

  • Blankets

  • Capes… Capes are cool, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, they double up for extra bedding too, win win.

  • Loo roll

  • Lip balm

  • SPF for summer festivals

  • Thermal clothing / Thin layers

  • A woolly hat in case you didn’t go for a cape

  • Gloves

  • Snood / Scarf

  • Lighter / Matches

  • Folding chairs

  • Tin opener

  • Dining equipment for the luxury festival experience; pans, gas, cutlery, paper plates are awesome.

  • Water carrier

  • Bedding

  • Tent

  • Cash

  • Bin bags

  • Wet wipes

  • Ear plugs if you’re looking for some sleep, maybe push the boat out and grab an eye mask.

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There you have it, a list that may not be fully completed yet, but I sure wish I’d had some of these items, especially the cape, a nice lined one, with a hood to hide under whilst watching the flames of the fire dancing in the night sky.

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