Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Shingdig Festival and tips to survive the festival season

Our caravan for the weekend.

This weekend I went to Shindig Festival near Glastonbury. Smaller than the gargantuan and famous big sister nearby- Glastonbury Festival -Shindig has  only around 4 to 5 thousand people. You can 'do' the whole thing in about half an hour. Shindig is the first festival of the alt-season -not so much debutantes but slumming it in fields outside of cities.  

I've come to the conclusion that you feel good at a festival because you are outside and part of a community. I have felt lonely at festivals (especially going alone as a single parent) but generally you feel connected to others, part of humanity. Festivals are the modern equivalent to great Viking encampment in which you party, sit around outside, eat, drink, talk to strangers and generally let go.
The people were beautiful, there was good food, music and for the most part, we had nice weather.

I asked the denizens of Shindig, most of whom were grizzled hardened festie goers, what their top tips were for a brilliant festival season.

Top Festival Tips: how to survive the season

What to bring:

Wet Wipes

Not very eco but essential for washing, for removing your festival glitter, your temporary tattoos, for an armpit going over. Similar: talc: You can end up walking miles at festivals. Bring talc and cream for sore feet, sore bums and nappy rash. 


It's England. It's gonna rain at some point. You can buy strong expensive wellies like Hunter or cheap ones that will just last a summer.


To protect against the sun, for warmth, for rain. So that you are easily identifiable from an distance. And to look cool.


Glitter, facepaint, scarves, sequins, feather boas, stockings. Mix it up: bordello with Dr Martens. If you haven't got a vehicle make sure they are light and easily packed. Don't worry too much however. There are always stalls to buy clothes, get your makeup done, have feathers glued to your hair (yes that was me). Rosa Bloom is a great site to buy festival clothes.

Toilet paper 

Usually festival toilets start out optimistically: toilet rolls, antibacterial gel, a reasonable drop in the pit below. As the days roll on, the drugs and the hippy diet (roughage) take their toll, it all gets very messy, the pit starts to 'crest' (do NOT look down). Toilets that don't have lights tend to be the worst. Other tips: if the toilet is too gross, stand on it and squat.
This is a situation where a onesie is appropriate. In fact you can wear anything at a festival. That dodgy ethnic outfit you bought on your travels? Bring it. Ponchos? Fantastic. 1980s sequinned butterfly top. Excellent, you'll blend right in. 

Your own cup

To carry around a cup or a collapsible cup (a Stojo is great, folds flat and is leak-proof) is rather useful. Many cafes and bars charge a deposit for a cup, nice to have your own. Sometimes you are offered a drink by ready.

Flip Flops 

For hot days, for nipping outside the tent in the night, for going in the shower, you want light-weight, flat-packing, water-proof shoes. 
If you arrive at night, or get lost you'll need one of those useful miner's style head torches. Good for putting up your tent at night, for finding your tent, for finding your stuff in your backpack at night. 


This item is very useful for putting on the car in the car park. The amount of times I've rushed with excitement from my car down to the festival to emerge several days later with absolutely no idea where I've parked. Also essential for identifying your own tent. Similar: LED fairy lights and bunting to decorate and demarcate your area. Fold down chairs are always a good idea if you are a bit older. You can buy a cheap one from a supermarket for a fiver or spend a bit more on these comfy KingCamp Moon Leisure chairs

You'll see all the slim-hipped festie girlies wearing leather fringed belts with pockets; for their money, lip salve, sun block and pills. It's like a cool bum bag.


The other people at the festival that are the most important thing. In fact a festival is all about the camp, hanging with your homies. Camp together, make a central area, share food and a camp fire if allowed. Then you can go out for little forays.

Food at Shindig

Festival food is improving all the time. I tried a few of the food stalls. 

I loved the salt sweet combo of halloumi, blueberry and maple syrup waffles and their hand made marquee.
Excellent freshly fried mackerel burger with hot sauces plus an intense crab and mackerel laksa soup.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, even if it is in the afternoon, which it often is, at festivals. All day Indian breakfast, featuring 2 fried eggs, dhal, pickles, paratha and sweet potato, really hit the spot and the limca limeade was fantastic. 
Vegan eats too!


Drum n Bass with LTJ Bukem

80s hip hop revival with The Sugarhill Gang. Great fun. The whole audience sang White Lines.

This festival was mostly DJs rather than live music. I enjoyed DJ Mark Sinclair of The House of Honey.


I attended a workshop run by Lara FairyLove, using a doll and a 'clit cushion' to explain the workings of the female anatomy. 
There was also an informative talk on fracking by Louise Somerville

So what are your festival top tips? How do you survive the alternative 'season'?

Tickets £99
Bruton, near Glastonbury
End of May


  1. Great photos! Really captured the essence of whole event. I do love 3 day festivals but they are just 2 days too long for me!


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