Art / Eat / Make / nature

30 Ways to Go Wild at a Festival

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Festival season brings with it lots of lovely opportunities to spend time outdoors and escape into fairyland. If you’re skint, you can volunteer and trade your time for a ticket. If the idea of nature scares you, you can pay for a luxury glamping experience that takes the tent-pitching out of the equation. And if you’re worried that nature doesn’t have enough to keep you entertained, there are so many festivals to choose from that you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.

Nature can also come in useful during festival season. Try one of these:

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  1. Make a floral headband. If you want it to last all weekend, use woody herbs such as rosemary and decorate with fabric flowers rather than fresh ones. If you do use real flowers, bear in mind that wildflowers tend to wilt faster than cultivated varieties. However, if you choose the right rose, there’s a chance that your headband could last all weekend, as long as you keep it in a bowl of water when you’re not wearing it.
  2. Make a natural corsage: If a headband’s a little much for you, make floral jewellery for your wrist instead…
  3. Make a daisy chain: …Or for the easiest option, make a daisy chain when you’re at the festival. Wear it, then press it between the pages of a book when it starts to wilt, as a wild festival keepsake.
  4. Choose biodegradable glitter if you want to sparkle. Many people object to microbeads but think nothing of slathering themselves in plastic that’s shiny. If you want to shimmer like a fairy, remember that fairies love nature. Using non-biodegradable glitter isn’t the fairy way.
  5. Make a nature-inspired costume. From your favourite animal to a cloud, nature can inspire costumes of all kinds. Raid charity shops and let your imagination run wild.
  6. Take foraged fizz with you to the festival. Most festivals don’t allow glass nowadays, but you can make lovely elderflower champagne, rose petal fizz and numerous other types of foraged fizz in plastic bottles. Get round festival rules and provide your weekend drinks at a bargain price at the same time.
  7. Take a refillable water bottle with you to avoid buying plastic bottles of water.
  8. Go on a digital detox for the weekend. It’s almost impossible to find friends using a mobile at a large festival anyway. Enjoy escaping the digital world and diving into fairyland.
  9. Decorate your festival tent with nature. A floral garland or leafy twigs can help you identify your tent when it’s one in a sea of thousands. Add cheap solar powered fairy lights to really stand out. If you wrap them around your tent thoroughly, they’re less likely to be stolen as it will be too much effort.
  10. Have a smoothie. It’s a great way to restore your energy after a heavy night of dancing, and will help you stay energised, ready for another day’s partying.
  11. Make nature art on site (safely). If you find yourself in a forest with a clearing, make the word ‘love’ out of leaves, or shape a heart in the landscape. Don’t pick any plants, block any paths or generally cause any trouble. Just make your art and move on. It can be fun seeing how it evolves over the weekend. I’ll often return to a piece of nature art a few times and freshen it up based on the way in which it’s been changed by the passage of time (and people).
  12. Cook outdoors. Don’t just rely on festival catering. I take a frozen stew or chilli for the first night of a festival, stored in a coolbox and wrapped with several layers of tea towels. It slowly defrosts on the journey and can be heated up for a comforting meal when you arrive on site. I tend to use cous cous on the side, as it’s quick and easy. Rice noodles also work well – or simple packet noodles.
  13. Wear sunscreen: You’re part of nature too, so make sure you protect yourself.
  14. Look for nature organisations at the festival. Both the Fairyland Trust and Grow Wild were at last year’s Latitude Festival, along with countless other nature lovers. Don’t just look for music or comedy at a festival – find the wild acts on site too.
  15. Dance in the rain. If it rains while you’re at a festival, it’s the perfect opportunity to tick dancing in the rain off your bucket list.
  16. Get a biodegradable glitter tattoo of your favourite flower.
  17. Make a natural fascinator. Decorate a hair clip with feathers, pine cones and other natural finds. The hot glue gun is your friend…
  18. Pick up litter. Just because you’re at a festival, it doesn’t mean the wildlife ceases to exist: you can still cause it harm. Take recycled glasses as far as you can, and dispose of food wrappings appropriately. Use recycling bins that are provided: festivals generate huge amounts of waste. Don’t add to it (and remember to take bin bags and recycling bags with you for your camp too.)
  19. Cycle to the festival. If you’re a sporty type, save fuel by cycling to a festival. It may take more time but it will he a hell of a ride – particularly if you’re in costume.
  20. Take a green bus to a festival. If cycling is too much for you, opt for an eco bus instead. And if you can’t cope with a bus…
  21. Take a ride share to the festival. Save money and petrol by teaming up- with other festival goers.
  22. Save water. Take a flannel and home made aromatherapy oil based water in a spray bottle to wash with. It will save you queuing for the shower every day, and it’s perfectly possible to wash yourself from top to toe with very little water – at least on the first day or two of a festival. Tie your hair back or wear a wig to avoid having to wash it every day.
  23. Go vegan for the weekend. It’s much easier to store most vegan food than meat and dairy when you’re camping. Pack cans of vegetarian chilli, miso soup, instant rice, vegetable curry and noodles. You don’t need to eat meat to enjoy festival food (and if you miss it too much, there are plenty of places to get a burger.)
  24. Admire the wildflowers. While the festival may be decorated with glitter galore, don’t neglect the natural beauty of a festival site. Look for wildflowers and see how many you can name.
  25. Look out for moths. You’ll probably be outside at night in nature much more than you usually are. Look out for moths and bats as night falls, particularly in the more secluded parts of the festival site.
  26. Sleep in a hammock. If the site allows it, sleeping in a hammock tied between trees, with a tarpaulin over the top, is one of the comfiest ways to sleep at a festival. It will keep you warmer than sleeping on the floor, help minimise back pain (in my experience) and mean you avoid the hellish ‘waking up in a sticky tent’ moment on a hot day.
  27. Collect ‘found’ items. You’ll find feather, glittering stars and a lot more besides if you scour a festival site. Help keep the festival clean and top up your crafting box at the same time.
  28. Take your belongings away with you: Too many people leave their tents behind, along with lots of other items that are easily reusable. I’ve found almost brand new sleeping bags, camping chairs, cushions and costumes dumped in festival bins. If you’re only going to use something once, don’t buy it: hire one of the glamping tents instead, so that other people don’t have to deal with your rubbish. And donate some money to the Wildlife Trusts while you’re at it, as you clearly have money to spare.
  29. Sit around a fire and watch the sun rise. This is one of the ultimate festival experiences for me. There’s something about sitting around a fire that changes the way people talk to each other – in a good way. Revel in living life in a more old fashioned way, and share stories around the fire.
  30. Grow the love. One of the reasons that I love festivals is the sense of collaboration. Whether it’s sharing your ketchup with a campsite neighbour, letting someone else use your mallet to bang in their tent pegs or making a pot of coffee in the morning, sharing is caring. Enjoy the connection.

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