The 2016 Festival Camping Guide

The 2016 Festival Camping Guide!

Unlike other camping occasions, we think festivals are a great time to really let loose and go to town decorating and creating a dreamy ambience with cushions, fabrics, bunting and imaginative outfits.

In fact, getting these elements right can completely transform your festival experience. Unlike a normal holiday or weekend trip, festivals should be about escaping the mundanity of everyday life and being yourself. With that spirit in mind we’ve put together this guide to how to bring some extra fun to your next festival trip!


The Outfit

First things first: what are you going to wear? Festivals are a chance to really let loose and lose the suit (or swap it for a colourful printed version). Kids want to dress up like kangaroos – why not let them? Only feel like your true self when you’re rocking a crazy hat? Now’s the time!

Whether the theme of the festival is fancy dress or not, we think you’ll definitely need to bring some accessories like a headdress or some light-up sunglasses and some face paint – they’ll transform your festival clothes and get you right in the mood.

Even better, why not start a festival dressing-up box with a group of friends? Nominate one friend to keep the physical box at their house and pool all your fancy dress resources from that summer, free for anyone to use. It doesn’t have to be physical either, but could be a list or Googledoc or what everyone has, almost like a library.

And we couldn’t talk about festival clothing without mentioning the wellies. While certain style guides might urge you to pack wedges or sandals, we know from experience that weather at festivals is reliably unreliable – better to stick with the perennially stylish rubber boot that risk having your expensive shoes trapped in the middle of a river of mud.

Glamping: The Basics

If you’re already a Boutique Camping fan, you’ll know we’re completely and utterly obsessed with all things glamping.

The aim with glamping is to create a space that’s halfway between a beautiful room you’d have at home and a fantasy home. There’s a lot of history to get inspired by, such as the rich embellishments of gypsy Vardo caravans, and the North African motifs of nomadic people like the Bedouin. It might sound a little far-fetched but these cultures still influence some of our favourite glamping pieces, like Moroccan style lanterns or bejewelled, Bohemian cushions.

The tent

On a normal camping trip, you might be considering practical things like the weight, height and capacity of your tent before picking it. Not necessarily so when it comes to glamping.

Glamping is also about creating the idea of a space, and depending on the size, our bell tents can house up to seven people – but we think they’re also a wonderfully luxurious option if there’s just two of you.

You’re looking for a tent that can act as your base for the whole festival with enough room to fill with beautiful pieces that’ll make it feel like a home away from home.

inside tent

Styling your space

After the tent, it’s time to start envisioning what else you desire from the space. If you’ve only ever slept in two-person tents with tin can-suppers for company, know that glamping is also about breaking all the rules – think of it more like styling a garden than the usual grim and drizzly campsite cliche.

Outdoor cushions and outdoor rugs can be used inside the tent for a luxurious look or outside to create little ‘zone’, say a clearing in the middle of you and your friend’s tents where you can sit and relax until the wee small hours.

It’s wise not to plan this too much – you never know what natural features the campsite might have, for example. If there are trees, these can be useful for stringing lights or bunting in, while rocks can work well as natural seats.

The extras

And then there are those little extras that really make a festival Glampsite light up. Beginning with those lanterns we mentioned above – or try solar-powered LED lights which you can leave out to charge while you’re enjoying the music (though in our experience, some festival campsites can give people a ‘what’s mine is yours’ approach to property – beware thieves!).

festival firework

Practical Festival Camping

If you want to keep things a little simpler – say, if you’ve got less time, space or money or there are fewer of you – you can still bring a Glamping feel to ‘regular’ camping.

No two festivals are quite alike and not every one is suitable for the full-on Glamping experience. It can be hard to create a lovely ambience when you’re surrounded by light-fingered fellow campers, rivers of stale booze and all-night parties.

Again, it really depends on the festival. A nice tip (aside from going on websites like TripAdvisor and forums to get an idea of what the festival’s like before you visit – useful if you’ve got younger children) is listing what priorities you’d like from your camping experience – comfort and safety perhaps, but then not worrying if your goods get trashed – and using that to create a shopping list.

Fold-up items that you can hide or carry with you – like our fold-up buckets, inflatable sofa and these rechargeable lights that you can place in bottles – are a useful way to bring a little luxury to the everyday camping experience. And this blanket bag is the perfect way to stow them; the spacious inner compartment turns into a roomy blanket for lounging on.

Practical Tips

  • If you’re worried about losing valuables or getting them stolen, there are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest and across the internet for secret containers to stash cash, phones and keys in. Most are spectacularly easy, too – from emptied-out suntan lotion bottles to lip balm cases, we’ve seen them all…
  • Chances are that at least a couple of people at your festival will have the same tent as you or similar (probably one of our Bell tents, of course), so remember to mark yours out. Attach a piece of patterned or coloured fabric to the entrance, throw fabric over it or get the kids involved in making an eye-catching flag that can be seen at a distance.
  • If you’re only visiting for a day, bring your food with you – this picnic basket features a handy cooler section. And don’t forget plenty of wet wipes. For some reason, eating outdoors always seems to be about 100 times messier!

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