As part of our look into sleeping tips for British music festivals, we asked Oxfam to come up with their top tips for sleeping at a festival. As Oxfam provide volunteer stewards to most of the major UK festivals, we thought they’d know their stuff. And they did!
Clare Williamson, Marketing Executive for the Oxfam Festivals Team (and long term volunteer steward before that, with 20 years of festival sleeping experience!) chips in with some sleeping advice:
“Sleeping well at a festival can be a challenge, so for those few precious hours of darkness when you really need to, it can be a key factor of your festival experience that you manage it! Oxfam have been providing volunteer stewards to some of the UK’s biggest and best known festivals for over 20 years. One of the many benefits to being crew is that we have separate (and quieter) camping from the festival goers, with nicer facilities, but even so it’s crucial to plan ahead for maximum sleeping comfort.”
Here are some useful tips:
1. Insulation from the ground
If you bring an airbed, don’t sleep directly on top of it as your body will lose heat to the air inside it (and therefore the ground beneath it too) and you’ll be cold in the night. Bring an extra layer of bedding – a duvet works well, and put that between your airbed and your sleeping bag – that way being cold won’t keep you awake. If you don’t want to bring an airbed, a Li-lo makes an excellent lightweight substitute. However, the warmest option of all is an off the ground camping bed, if you are prepared to carry the weight.
2. Shade in the morning
Unless you have noisy neighbours, the first things that will wake you from a deep sleep are the light and the heat in your tent, and they start early even when it’s not that hot. To create a bit of shade and reflect the heat, people often bring foil blankets (like they put around marathon runners) as these are cheap and most camping stores stock them. If you can, put it between the inner and outer skins of your tent, making holes at the tent’s ventilation points to maintain air-flow. Foil sheets on the outside of tents are very noisy, even in the slightest breeze, and unless they are extremely well attached they will rip quickly, flap about and not last the festival.
3. Stay dry
Space is at a premium on festival campsites and you often have quite a walk from your car to your pitch, so lots of people bring small lightweight pop-up tents. It’s really worth investing in one that has a double skin – ie. an inner and an outer tent, rather than a single skin. Single skin tents get condensation inside them and even at a 100% dry and sunny festival you will wake to find that you, your bedding and the rest of your kit gets damp at night, which really isn’t pleasant!
4. No Lumps
If possible, when choosing where to pitch your tent, roll over the area where you’ll sleep before you peg anything to check for lumps, rocks and thistles! Nobody has ever slept well curled around an obstacle! Also, if you’re on a slope, always sleep with your head up hill, or you’ll get a nasty headache.
Read more: How Does An Adventurer Sleep In The Arctic?
5. Bring earplugs to a festival
And plenty of them, as you’ll always lose one in the night…
6. Be seen
Get some luminous guy ropes for your tent. Festival campsites are more cramped than normal campsites, and people wander through the tents on their way back from the stages, either trying to locate their own tent or take a short-cut. If people trip on your guy ropes they can a) damage your tent and b) will make enough noise/movement to wake you. Luminous guy ropes are much easier to spot (and avoid) in the dark!
Click here to learn more about the Oxfam stewards and get involved yourself.