back to article Festival tech: Charge your mobe while you queue for a pee

I’m now of an age and hair density where the idea of standing in a muddy field in wellies, queuing to answer a call of nature, getting trench foot and eating the sort of food the troops at Passchendaele had to endure just to hear some live music has long since lost its appeal. But if in some weird parallel universe there’s …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I’m not usually one for flash modern tents. "

    The Igloo 2/3 person tent with sealed groundsheet and inflatable ribs was standard at our local schools' sailing centre at Stanley Pool in 1962. On the other hand the schools' summer camp at Aberdovey used large pre-war canvas bell tents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "On the other hand the schools' summer camp at Aberdovey used large pre-war canvas bell tents."

      For the fat and spotty oiks of today I think you'll have to explain which war.

      1. Danny 14

        Gortex bivi bag then sleep where you like.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] I think you'll have to explain which war."

        There have been many wars since 1945 - so the term "pre-war" does depend on context. In the context of the 1960s it presumed the then recent WW2 - but I wouldn't have been surprised if the tents were actually 1914-18 vintage surplus.

        I remember a white-haired form master talking to the class about being a submariner "in the war". As an 11 year old I innocently asked "which war?" - as he looked much older than my parents and older cousins generation who had been on active service in WW2. His comment was something like "Cheeky imp!".

  2. SVV

    This is all wrong

    Taking all this stuff is unnecessary and totally against the spirit of things.

    The more stuff like this you take, the more likely it is to get nicked (or lost). Personally, beyond tent, sleeping bag, clothes, and army boots (important!) the only other gadgets i ever took were a plastic cup and plenty of boxes of wine. Frankly, if you can't enjoy yourself with these things and the good company and music, then you really shouldn't be going. And if you end up at a Glastonbury mudbath like I once did, you will be very glad if you follow my advice instead.

    Being at a festival should not involve worrying about charging your devices or posting on social media or dressing stylishly, but rather about getting away from all these things for a few days - if this makes me a sad old fart then so be it, but were I to risk enduring a festival again I would still do it the same way.Though I will concede that this wouldn't have made for an interesting article on a technology website.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: This is all wrong

      A festival or any outdoor event should be an escape from daily life. It should be about enjoying one self not tweeting others about how much one is enjoying themselves.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: This is all wrong

        Yep going equipped and ready should just mean you brought weed, skins, some beer money and enough clean pants.

        1. Doctor_Wibble

          Re: This is all wrong

          Clean pants? What sort of nonsensical luxury talk is this???

        2. Sgt_Oddball

          Re: This is all wrong

          You missed something... a full pack of rubbers too (hope springs eternal)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This is all wrong

            Maybe you bring condoms the first time you go, but after you've been once and seen firsthand how nasty everyone (including/especially yourself) looks and smells after the first day, you realize that even the most beautiful woman you've ever seen will look like the swamp thing's ugly sister the second day. Came with my girlfriend the first time, we had no interest in each other after the first night and after the event it took a couple hot showers each before our mutual disgust was washed off!

            1. Duffy Moon

              Re: This is all wrong

              I'm reliably informed that there's a condition known as "Festival Fanny".

              1. Danny 14

                Re: This is all wrong

                The trick is to sign on as setup staff. 2 days of graft but your tixket is free and you get hot showers, better portaloos only for staff and a better field to camp in. Dont do litter pick as is harder.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: This is all wrong

                I'm reliably informed that there's a condition known as "Festival Fanny".

                I think I've met her.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is all wrong

      Agree completely, SVV.

      The kind of festivals I used to go to involved heavy/rock music, heavy drinking, and generally behaving differently than normal humans do.

      The only gadget I'd take with me would be the oldest still operational mobile phone I can find, charged up, switched off (for emergency only).

      As for gear:

      - one set of clothes on my body, army boots

      - one dry set of backup clothes wrapped into sturdy rubbish bags (waterproof, not attracting anybody's attention, ready to be used after it pissed down whole day), towel in the same bag wrap

      - oldest tent that still can be made to stand properly (there's a huge chance that somebody will stumble over it, puke on it, or it gets covered in mud -- you may even find that you are the culprit yourself, according to reports from trusted sources, though you won't remember any of it)

      - sleeping bag (that's probably the only item of actual value)

      - beer

      - more beer

      - one big bottle of water

      - tooth brush (if festival is more than two days)

      - gas cooker and some cans of heat-up-and-dwarf-down food

      - roll of toilet paper (if you have to take a dump somewhere in the bushes, do it in style!)

      So that's the tent over the shoulder, rucksack on your back, and off you go. Being able to relocate quickly can come in handy if you find yourself surrounded by strange neighbours.

      I always felt sorry for those groups of people who had spoilt folks with them, who thought they'd need to bring their whole bathroom, kitchen and bedroom with them.

    3. Grikath

      Re: This is all wrong


      This is just a "stuff you don't want/miss at Events" list.

      Good thing to know what the trend in To-Haves is to add to the List for the Ritual of Ridicule.

    4. Lamont Cranston

      Re: This is all wrong

      Anyone who takes a set of speakers to a campsite, is probably a bit of a bellend. Anyone who takes a set of speakers to a music festival has obviously forgotten why they went there in the first place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is all wrong


        Take a certain festival where the camp sites open today (still gutted I didn't have the money at the time to get my full camping ticket). The music in the arena doesn't really start until Friday which would usually give my and friends a day and a half of solid drinking whilst listening to the music we love.

        There have been numerous times when I've been asked by friends/other campers if they could borrow my 1980's Phillips paint splattered ghetto blaster running on it's 6 D cells (they'd been in the unit 4 years and were still going strong until the unit suffered from ingress of water whilst at home!) and fudged aux in system, as their fancy BT speaker had just run out of juice having only coped with 4 hours of operation!

  3. Elmer Phud

    Knife fail

    No corkscrew, no tweezers.


    1. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: Knife fail

      No corkscrew - since when did Tenants come in a cock stoppered bottle?

      No tweezers - if you can't get it out with the pliers, you're not trying hard enough.

      Now, the lack of a stone removing tool for my unicorns shoes, well, no excuse there.

      1. Alister

        Re: Knife fail

        cock stoppered bottle


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Knife fail

          "cock stoppered bottle"

          Which brings to mind the Oscar-nominated Swedish film "Mitt Liv Som Hund" (My Life as a Dog). Not xxx - just a story of growing up in 1950s Sweden.

    2. Wize

      Re: Knife fail

      Generally, at festivals, you are not allowed glass. So, no need for bottle openers and corkscrews.

      Does anyone know where I can get Prosecco in a can?

      1. Dave 126

        Re: Knife fail

        This is a bloody good knife. The tool for removing stones from unicorn hooves is also a reamer, so can be used to drill holes - so you can attach your Clipper lighter to a piece or paracord, for example, or fashioning a pipe out of a piece of wood if you can't find your Rizla - or used as a crude needle for tarpaulins and the like.

        The tweezers are invaluable.

        Both blades are as sharp as hell, but the little one will stay unblunted by the cruder tasks you might put the big one to.

        It will open tins of beans and bottles of beer.

        It is very handy for stripping cable and re-wiring plugs - of limited use at a festival it's true, unless a lighting technician has given you a backstage pass whilst pissed (not unheard of).

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Knife fail

        Does anyone know where I can get Prosecco in a can?

        Apparenty Paris Hilton drinks it, interpret that as you will...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Knife fail

      More to the point - since you can snap shut the handles with the knife blade still extended which prevents it from immediately folding shut if required - an unfriendly copper may well try to claim it's a lockknife. No exemption from s162 of the Criminal Justice Act and a five-year mandatory jail term if convicted. Don't risk it, a cheap friction-folder with a <3" blade is a much (legally) safer bet.

  4. graeme leggett Silver badge

    Wonderbag (it's a portable haybox oven isn't it)

    In the spirit of invention, make do and so on, surely the done thing would be to improvise using sleeping bags.

  5. Matt Collins

    I'd like to complain about the headline photograph on this article. The horizon is not level.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      measured response

      would you rather I wrote

      "The photographer wasn't taking a picture of the horizon"


      "There's an horizon?"


      1. Matt Collins

        Re: measured response

        No, thank you.

  6. Dana W

    I pack something concealed to prevent muggers. Its called a Glock 36. :)

    Very effective, and nowhere near as warm in the summer.

    1. Richard Taylor 2
      Thumb Down

      Not so excusable in the UK even if your 'muggers' are black

    2. Sgt_Oddball

      Besides, would you really want to have to explain that to the security if they're feeling bored enough for a proper pat down?

      I had enough issues at festivals carrying my bloody pen knife (no stone picker on that either, but then it's one of the serious victorianox penknives that have names like 'hunter', 'ground keeper' and 'mountain rescue' still the best tool I own)

      1. Vic

        Besides, would you really want to have to explain that to the security if they're feeling bored enough for a proper pat down?

        I once had an interesting conversation with a Festival Security guard. She was insistent - nay, vociferous - that glass bottles were absolutely not allowed in, and there's no way I would succeed in getting them in.

        I actually had to point out to her that these were my empties, and I was on the way out...


  7. Patrick R

    Pocket Pint Collapsible Pint Glass

    This is not really new. I had one more than 40 years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pocket Pint Collapsible Pint Glass

      Ideal for festivals where short measures are de-rigour :-(

  8. Chris G

    Pint glass?

    At festival time ( every weekend when I was younger no matter what was going on) all liquid refreshment already comes in a handy container, why would you lug another one around ? Unless it is an already full one to replace the one you are about to finish!

    Most of the tat in the articlebelongs at a Pageant of Motoring or similar event, not in a (muddy) field at a music festival; only carrywhat is vitally important, anything else you can take if the bird is willing to carry it.

    If you really want hot food without queuing buy the military MREs like these you can carry half a dozen easily in a back pack.

    If you don't have a little water to start the exothermic heating reaction, beer works!

  9. Wize

    Didn't think they allowed sharp object, like the multi-tool.

    Not so keen on the inflatable tent. I usually have to blow up the air bed a few times during a festival. Not just because of my weight on it overnight as it will go down a bit between a morning blow up and night time. Would not like the idea of waking up to the tent sagging down and touching my nose.

    My essentials include a freezer bag (one beer out, one beer in). Instead of chill packs, freeze some bottled water (cheep supermarket mini bottles) as you don't have to carry your chill packs home. Instead you can drink them before that drive home.

    And don't forget gaffer tape. Can fix lots of problems. Some idiot slashed your tent with a multi tool? Tape the hole shut to keep the weather out.

    Bin bags inside the rucksack to keep your clothes dry is essential. Even if it isn't raining. those cans of fruit cider in your bag can still pop and leave you swimming in booze, and not in a good way. They can also be used to clear the rubbish out your tent at the end.

    Some festivals let you pre-order booze. Watch the prices though, as you may pay more to collect. Comparing it to the cost on your muscles for dragging it in with everything else in one trip (especially if you travel by bus) or making that second hike to the car.

    I was at one that did an exchange program. Hand over any unopened can of beer and get one of the sponsor's tins, freshly chilled. It explained why someone was carting a case of "value" lager in to the camp site.

    And if there is a squad of you, a large tent, rather than separate tents, might be handy. Gives you larger dry area outside your bed to put boots and coats. And, if its raining, you can sit in your festival chairs in the dry drinking your warm lager.

  10. Grikath

    the "wtf?!" diss.

    1) aside from the fact why the HELL you'd bring such an amount of gear with you to an event.. With the general jostling to get close to *anything* you're looking at a couple of star-endowed screens if you wear Stuff in the designed places. Let alone a decent mosh pit. +500% on the "I'm a twat" front though. (Which in and of itself is an open invitation to said event-enhanced screens if you're even thinking of coming close to anything)

    2) you can get a decentish foldable water-tightish dome for about € 10-15 for 2 + luggage. That should save you enough dosh to actually spend cash at the event, *and* avoid the peeps with fibulas/pins/pocket knives.. And the beauty of it is.. at the price of two burgers ( and a fraction of admittance..) at the festival, you can *afford* to write off the Cheapo at the close..

    3) Might come in handy, if alone because of northwestern european weather nowadays. This is not really festival gear, but could possibly be a worthwile expenditure.... If you start with not taking € 500+ equipment to Mudfest. If you got to call Mum/mates/the BeerGuy, a simple prepaid brick for the occasion will do, and can be had at less than half the price of the cover.( I am , possibly mistakenly, assuming you're there for the actual event..)

    4) It's funny that the article marks the only thing of sensible equipment as "Knobbish". Or is escaping the torture ( of quality and pricing) of Festival Food seen as Not Done nowadays? That being said, at 4 kilo + this simple device already weighs more than my medieval shoulder armour ( I do full-contact medieval combat re-enactment...) and I can point you to several setups that weigh less, have more Late-Night Campfire potential *and* BBQ useability... oh at half the price..

    5) srsly... pewter. mug.. on belt.. on a handforged hook if you want to be posh. Learn the damn ropes already...

    6) By all means, buy this.... It's immense fun to be able to immedeately spot the camps that used Amplified Shyte for their party last night. Especially if they're also in the previously featured inflatable tent...

    7) wait a moment... even the most basic mobile brick has built-in radio nowadays. so that's covered.. The previous part already had bloody speakers for the more advanced models of dumbphone to whatever-flies... If you want tinny mono from a crank radio, a couple of quid gets you the Third World Model ( along with the warm fuzzy feeling of Supporting the Cause..) so why lay out 60 quid? At All?

    8) Really.. if you do want to sport a multitool ( and get the thing cleared past "Security" nowadays...) you pay a bit more than 20 quid. It will also not eat your fingers, fail after first use, and, y'know, work as a tool. Really, by not buying *any* of the above, you will have the means to shell out, even Splurge, on a proper multitool *and* be able to afford the local catering at Carnival Prices at leisure and zero twinges of conscience.

    9) Oldie, goldie.. but the same amount gets you a proper flashlight, a flood for your tent, and enough burn-once fake tealights to survive a fire ban due to drought. It's not that it's *bad* ... It's simply too easy to think of cheaper alternatives that do the same thing, or don't fall into the quadruple backup category.

    10) So your stuff is clean and dry.. Now try taking stuff out and change into them.. You're either camping out in a dustbowl or a swamp, the local amenities are , oh right.. Dixies ( or local variety), if there *is* a shower, it's either Backstage, or the line is longer than the one for the original Ark... The backpack you need anyway to get your gear onsite works just as well, y'know?

    But maybe I *am* becoming a Fossil nowadays..

  11. gotes

    Portable speakers

    People who bring portable amplified speakers to a festival so they can "entertain" everyone in a 10 metre radius of their tent with their music at 4am annoy the hell out of me. Most festivals specify "no personal sound systems". I don't want to hear repetitive psytrance all night thank you very much.

  12. steamrunner

    Taking music to festivals?!

    Er, what kind of a muppet takes music (speakers) to a music festival?!? That's one way to mark yourself out as a grade 'A' tw*t in moments. Leave the BlueTooth speakers — or any other kind — at home, boys and girls.

    You did, however, miss out one entirely essential type of tech (well, tech-ish) — trolleys. A review here would be fabulous. It can be a long, long, long.... long... loooooonnnnggggg... walk from the car parks to wherever you manage to shoe-horn in your tent at Glastonbury. And let's not even get started on the Hill of Death...

    1. AbelSoul

      Re: trolleys

      Upvote for suggesting a trolley review.

      We did last year's Glastonbury with foldable Magna Carts.

      They did the job pretty well but were far from perfect. Would be nice see some models compared.

      1. Wize

        Re: trolleys

        You need largish wheels on whatever you are pushing/pulling. Hit some grass and it gets right in to the wheel bearings at they seize up tight.

        Had a coolbag with wheels and a handle. First grassy patch gummed it up and it might as well have had none after that.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The young lady in the photo

    I imagine her solution to recharging her gadgets is to hand them to one of the slavering young men around the place and ask if he can get them recharged for her.

    Sexist, but realistic.

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