Taking a camper van to a festival means you’ll be able to keep dry, have a comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep and your own kitchen and fridge for your food and cold drinks. We’re sure you’ll agree that this sounds much better than coping in a tent, doesn’t it?
No matter whether it’s the Leeds, Latitude or Glastonbury music festival, a VW campervan festival, or a literary or running festival, here are some top tips to make your campervan festival trip a success.
- Make the festival part of a camper van road trip
Festivals take place all over the UK, and quite often in scenic locations, so they’re the perfect excuse for a camper van road trip.
According to the popular VW campervan slogan, ‘home is where you park it’. This is particularly true at a festival. As soon as you stop, your campervan instantly turns into your home from home; meanwhile, people camping in a tent usually have to leave their cars in a separate parking area and carry all their gear to the Festival’s campsite.
- Book early (to avoid disappointment)
Music festivals are extremely popular. Tickets for the bigger events, and the camping areas, usually sell out very quickly. They all issue warnings about not buying tickets from unofficial sources, so you will need to plan well ahead – possibly up to a year – to get official tickets.
Some of the most popular campervan-friendly music festivals include:
- Over 55,000 people go to The Isle of Wight Festival every September. It has a separate area for campervans in the on-site campsite, plus spaces at another location nearby.
- The legendary Glastonbury festival welcomes campervans, but, unfortunately, is not taking place in 2021. It also warns that some unofficial off-site campsites are not always what they seem: https://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/information/accommodation/
- You need a separate campervan pass to camp at Leeds Festival at Bramham Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Smaller music festival suggestions for a campervan road trip:
- The Latitude Festival in scenic Suffolk every July welcomes camper vans
- Camp Bestival takes place in Dorset at the end of July – perfect for a trip to the beach prior to the event, or after
- Need an excuse to head to the picturesque Lake District? Then try to get tickets to Kendal Calling on the last weekend in July.
Don’t worry if you’re not a music fan as there are festivals for just about everything ranging from comedy to classic cars and Volkswagen camper vans. Here are a few suggestions:
- Car lovers will enjoy dressing up for the Goodwood Revival. It even produces its own guide for camping at the Revival. The same venue also hosts the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
- Other car (and music) related festivals are the Carfest North and Carfest South. They are very much aimed at families, so campervans are very welcome!
- Love VW campervans? Of course you do! Then you’ll be interested in Camper Jam at Weston Park in Shropshire and the VW Festival at Harewood House in Leeds.
- The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe offers lots of variety. Unlike most other festivals, this one is based at various venues in the city centre. The Edinburgh Festival Camping claims to be the only designated campsite for visitors.
- The Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales celebrates the world’s greatest writers and thinkers. There is an official Hay Festival Campsite just a two minute walk from Hay town centre.
- The Something Wild Festival is a family friendly trail running festival with some live music thrown in. There is a limited space for campervans (no hook-ups).
- Be prepared – what to pack
The beauty of taking a campervan to a festival is that you be prepared for anything as you have space to pack everything you think you’ll need.
Every festival will have rules and conditions of entry you’ll have to comply to, so be sure to read them before buying our tickets. These are to protect everyone’s wellbeing, safety and consideration for others. Read the festival’s terms and conditions as it will tell you anything you are not allowed to take.
But on a more practical note, here are some suggestions of what pack in the camper van to take with you:
You’ll probably be off-grid (without any mains power) for a few days, so take portable or solar powered chargers for your gadgets.
If you’re not sure what the shower situation is going to be, take some dry shampoo – the stuff you can use without water. It’s ideal for camping.
An awning (if permitted) could be a useful shelter if it’s hot, or if it’s not, somewhere to leave muddy boots.
Ear plugs! They could be useful for the concert and in case you’re pitched too near the music or noisy campers.
Clothes for all weathers – sun, wind and rain. Temperatures can drop quickly in the evening, so pack a warm fleece.
A portable toilet could be handy, especially during the night.
Microfibre towels dry quicker than cotton ones, yet still feel nice and soft.
Will you need to buy any food, drink or merchandise while you are at the festival? If so, don’t assume you will be able to pay by card at every stall or bar. Take some cash.
Take your own toilet rolls! And how are you going to wash? Are there showers available? If not, pack some of those wipes for washing yourself.
You’ll be encouraged to take your own rubbish home with you, so take plenty of bin bags.
Food and drink: There are usually plenty of stalls selling all types of foods at events like this, but you may prefer to have some meals in your campervan.
A torch could be handy instead of using up your phone’s battery as a torch.
- Arrive early
Just like arriving at any campsite, it’s always best to arrive as soon as you can so you can get set up – and relax or start exploring. There’s nothing worse than arriving late or after dark when you’re tired and can’t see what you’re doing.
Sometimes there are long queues to get into the festival parking or campsite area. The organisers might check what festival goers are taking on-site, so be prepared to wait.
- Remember where your camper van is parked
How are you going to remember where your campervan is on the festival campsite?
There could be several fields of tents and camper vans. Make a note or take a photo of where you’re pitched and any nearby landmarks. Lots of people buy flag poles (and flags!) so they can spot their campervan from far away. The flags and banners also add to the festival vibe.
- Arrive ready to rock and roll
If you can, to minimise the time it takes you to get set up, fill your fresh water tank and any spare water containers before you leave home. If there are water taps at the campsite, take a portable water container so you can easily refill your tank.
Make sure you’ve got some levelling chocks as well in case the campsite is not flat. There is unlikely to be a mains hook-up, so make sure the camper van’s battery is charged to last (or consider adding a solar panel to charge it).
If you don’t want to start cooking when you get there, prepare something at home that you can take out of the fridge and heat-up in a pan on the cooker.
There’s no doubt that campervans and festivals make the perfect combination! There are lots of great memories ready to be created.