I write this guide every year for festival season, but as my festival schedule changes every year I started to realise how each festival makes me variate what I take.
My intentions are to have as much fun as possible, so this guide provides a detailed plan of how to stay healthy, look your best so you can look back on your festival memories knowing everything went swimmingly.
Packing For Leeds Festival
Photos by Stephi LaReine & Patrick McGuinness
You wanna stay light with your food and make sure everything you’re packing into your bag is nutritious and will keep you energetic. I like to pack as many superfoods as I can possibly stuff into my backpack, I leave the avocados at home but packet or tinned food is the closest I can get. I tend to have one or two meals out in the festival but my third will always be quick and easy. As I want to get back into the action as quickly as I can.
I’ve been loving Hippeas chickpea crisps, they’re super healthy for any UK festival and so so tasty.
The other go-to is Propercorn. They’re just so delicious and filling. If you’re counting calories they should be your first port of call in a food shop. I tend to pack soups as I love my hot food as I get a bit chilly in the mornings and evenings but snacking wise packet food will always help me out when I’m lacking in energy.
Once again, try to pack in as much healthy good drinks as you can. At festivals I love bringing big bottles of coconut water (Vita Coco is my all time favourite!) As I’ve discovered it is the best drink next to normal water to defeat a hangover, and all the fantastic electrolytes get you back up on your toes in no time.
When I’m drinking I always bring as many Funkin Cocktails cartons as I can squeeze into my backpack, as with Leeds festival there is a no glass rule. They double up as a refreshing juice when I’m not mixing alcohol in with them. Who said you can’t have your classy fruity cocktails at festivals anyway?
The key to a successful festival is keeping yourself hydrated whilst being able to have fun, the odd drink never hurt anyone.
I’ve got more experimental with my makeup at festivals over the years. It’s time to break out your usual habits and get creative! Makeup will last all day and all night if you take a good primer, I highly recommend using Benefits Porefessional or a priming water like Smashbox’s Photo Finish. It’s a bit naughty to admit but occasionally when you’re so tired to not take off your makeup I’ve learnt if I used priming water before my makeup, not a single bit comes off and no retouches were needed throughout the night.
For makeup I’ve been loving the Hypnotica range by Illamasqua, it’s creative and fun for any doodlers, whether face or body art is your thing. This range is perfect for inner creatives of all levels.
I tend to not take too much makeup, just a good primer, foundation, all in one powder/contouring kit, eyeliner, a single lipstick if I’m not using my pens to create something funky. The last essential is sunscreen, if it’s a sunny day you’ll thank me that you don’t come home looking like a lobster. Leeds has very mysterious weather throughout the weekend so throwing in an SPF won’t take up much room and keep you safe in the sun.
Even though most UK festivals have availability to hot water, when it’s cold out I don’t wanna completely soak my hair and wash it, so dry shampoo is my saviour. I highly advise washing your hair on the morning that you leave as you’ll be skipping a few days of washing. Same for your face and body, wet wipes and roll on deodorant are always the solution. Keep aerosols to a minimum as quite a few festivals don’t allow large bottles of hairspray, deodorant or anything relatively flammable, you can get travel size cans in most beauty shops. Think of festivals like you’re stepping on a plane and think do I really need 3 eyeshadow palettes? You’re gonna be carrying it so keeping the bag light is important.
This is where you can be sensible or go full out. Despite wanting to jump in many months early and buy clothes I’d be sure to check out the weather, it’s the UK so its inevitable that it will rain so it’s better to be safe than sorry with a coat or jacket with a hood. I’m usually not one for a hood so in my bumbag or handbag I’ll carry an emergency poncho in a bright colour, you can reuse them day after day, or year after year like I have!
Shoes wise, your choices will be wellies or boots. I tend to take both so the muddier days I’ve got something taller. Last year I went for RockFish tall range and their choice in colours is just dazzling.
Boots for this year I’m taking a trusty pair of CAT boots, as they’re incredibly comfy and don’t want shoes that weigh me down when I’m dancing around. They’re perfect for the warmer and drier days and look so darn cute!
You know I’ll probably tell you to take a kimono or tasseled jacket, and all those festival cliches but there’s a reason year after year they’re trustworthy as firstly they always look fantastic, secondly they’re light and don’t take up too much room in your backpack. Leeds Festival is very known to have extremely sunny weather so having a light cover up will save any sun burn.
I’d say a backpack is crucial in your packing, if you’ve never tried to walk your entire camping gear to a tent with your arms you will learn there’s a struggle. Get as much as you can on your back and take tote bags for your shoulders. Leave suitcases at home they will get stuck on a bump or a patch of mud when everyone is heading home and the ground has turned to slop. I’m taking my favourite backpack from Urban Junk as I can cram in so much into all the little pockets, because the one thing I’ve learnt over the years of my multitude of festivals is that you need organisation in your tent. This year alone I’ve been scrambling around trying to find glitter or baby wipes amongst a million things to the point of having to remove my air mattress when I could just put it in a backpack and remain sensible. Organisation is key, especially after a drink.
Let me know some of your festival suggestions, or if you’re going to Reading or Leeds.
It’s one of my favourite go-to festivals year after year and I can’t wait to be back in the fields!