The summer is almost here and never before has there been so many options for Christian festivals! We’ve already had a great time at Spring Harvest, Big Church Day Out and Wildfires, but there’s plenty more to come. Whether you’re glamping or camping, how can you make the most out of your festival experience? Here’s our top tips for the festival season
1) Come prepared
There’s nothing worse than reaching your camping site before realising you’ve left something at home. So before you leave, make a list and triple-check you’ve got everything you need. Remember, English weather has a mind of its own so pack some waterproofs, warm clothes shorts, sun cream and everything in between. Don’t forget your portable phone charger, your sanitary products and a tent big enough to hold whoever’s sleeping in it and all your stuff! But ultimately whatever you bring along, make sure you’re prepared for it to go missing or get damaged. And if you’re not… maybe don’t bring it along.
You also need to bring yourself too! So often we can find ourselves rushing from one festival to the next, unsure of why we’re even there. It’s important that we arrive present in body, mind and spirit. So take some time to pray before you leave. Open your eyes and ears to God and ask Him to speak to you while you’re at the festival. And if you’re finding it difficult to zone out from life’s business, try a mindfulness exercise to refocus yourself on God.
2) Let’s get ethical
When you’re prepping what to take with you, don’t forget to be as ethical as possible. As we know, rubbish is having a devastating impact on people living in poverty. And if you’ve ever hung around till the end of a festival, you’ll know just how much rubbish is left behind. It’s estimated that 23,500 tonnes of waste is produced yearly at festivals alone and only 32% of that is recycled. While it’s a pretty big problem to turn round, you can do your part by bringing reusable bottles, KeepCups, plates and cutlery. Instead of wipes, bring a flannel and a wash bowl. Kindly decline any plastic that you wont need and make use of recycling bins to properly get rid of your waste.
You can also get ethical before you even arrive. If you’re planning to drive, see if you can fill your car with people and make it count. Clothing can also be a big issue. It’s easy to get carried away with buying last minute clothes and accessories in fast-fashion high street stores. But make sure you have a good look at your wardrobe and see what you clothes you already have. The likelihood is you won’t actually need to buy many more clothes, and if you do, why not check out a charity shop?
3 )Plan, but be flexible
Festivals can be tricky to navigate sometimes. Two of your favourite acts might be on at the same time or a seminar you want to go to might be on the other side of the site. It’s unlikely you’ll have a clear plan of everything you want to see or do before you arrive, but planning helps. When you arrive familiarise yourself with where everything else and make a note of anything you definitely want to go to. There’s nothing worse than hearing that one band you never got round to seeing, played an incredible set! So make sure you’re festival bucket list leaves completed.
Having said that, sometimes the best times at festivals are the impromptu chats, the games of frisbee, or even stumbling into a seminar you don’t know the title of! There’s always plenty to do, so don’t get bogged down in a rigid schedule. And importantly, take some time out to rest if you need to. Sometimes a perfectly timed nap can help you enjoy the activities later in the day.
4 ) Grab that notebook
Festivals can often be the injection of inspiration we need in our faith journeys. Whether it’s hearing a biblical truth in a new way or seeing an answer to prayer, faith is often strengthened among other believers. However we so often leave behind a festival and forget about the great things we’ve experienced there. So take along a notebook or use your phone to make note of everything you’re learning. When the festival season is over and your back to normality, you can look back at your notes and let them remind you of the things God is doing in your life.