Let the festivals begin

Echo digital editor Ian Laws gets ready for this summer's music festivals.
Echo digital editor Ian Laws gets ready for this summer's music festivals.
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AFTER seeing his first Glastonbury last year, Echo digital editor IAN LAWS returns to Somerset this week. Here’s his verdict on how to survive this summer’s music festivals.

WELLIES and shades, shorts and raincoat. It can mean only one thing – festival season is upon us.

Glastonbury beckons for me this week. I dipped into Evolution last month and I’m making plans for Tyneside’s Ignition and Kendal Calling in Cumbria next month.

Why? Because there is a special buzz about these places. It could be the “school’s out” atmosphere of it all - it really does feel like a holiday.

But for me what makes a festival great is the variety - the variety of people and the variety of music.

I loved my Glasto debut. From Rolf Harris to Muse, Frank Turner to our very own Frankie & The Heartstrings, I lapped it up.

We were all spoiled by the beautiful Somerset weather a year ago and this year’s forecast promises a more typical Glastonbury experience. I guess you’ve never been to Glastonbury until you’ve got muddy, so the wellies I bought especially last year will probably come into their own.

And I’ve take the advice of quite a few people I chatted to last year by adding a pop-up tent to my Glasto inventory.

Loads of punters had Quechua pop-up tents last year and I have to say they’re ridiculously easy to pitch.

Staying dry could be this year’s challenge so I’ve got myself a Berghaus jacket and backpack.

If it’s a wet festival, I don’t want to come back remembering that above all else.

But I’m ever the optimist, so a trip to Boots was very much necessary for hayfever remedies and a rehydration kit if, in the unlikely event of a shock heatwave, I’m in need of being revitalised.

Glastonbury is an uplifting but energy-sapping experience. You can spend your week worrying about the things you are missing because there is so much to see and do.

But if I was handing out festival advice, priority number one would be to relax and lap up the fact you’re out of your office or college, or wherever, and away from the speed of life.

There are so many festivals now that there really is something for everyone. They won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – many are put off by the camping element.

But for a sense of community and an experience far removed from city life, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Ian Laws’s must have festival items:

My trusty Wellington boots

My Quechua base 4.2 and two seconds Easy pop-up tents (www.decathlon.co.uk)

A good waterproof jacket (Berghaus RG1 – www.berghaus.com)

Alcohol handwash, rehydration sachets, hayfever relief (all from Boots - www.boots.com)

Loo roll – don’t leave home without it and carry some EVERYWHERE

A little fold-up stool – if it’s muddy, you still want to be able to sit down!

A decent backpack to keep your cash and ticket dry (Berghaus Remote 20 – www.berghaus.com)

Festivals – what’s on where and when:

Glastonbury – Somerset, June 22-26

Latitude Festival – Southwold, July 14-17

Kendal Calling – Lowther Deer Park, Lake District, July 29-31

Ignition – the North East’s only camping, live festival – Newcastle Racecourse, August 6-7

Big Chill – Ledbury, August 3-7

V Festival – Shifnal and Chelmsford, August 19-21

Leeds Festival – Bramham Park, August 26-28

Creamfields – Daresbury, Cheshire, August 27-28