Reading & Leeds 2014 - What to Pack!

by - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

With Leeds Festival just one week away, the packing panic has fully set in. Running around my house this morning like a headless chicken trying to locate my pac a mac, it suddenly hit me - why not share my festival essentials with you guys? So without further ado...


Tent and Sleeping Bag
Bit of an obvious one, but you'll be surprised how many friends I have who have completely forgotten to get their tent out till the last minute, only to remember that it's completely knackered. Your tent doesn't have to be mud-free from last summers antics, but get it out early to air, check that their isn't any significant damage and if necessary, buy some waterproof spray from a camping shop to give it the once over.

Again obvious, but easy to leave behind in all the excitement. Make sure it is to hand so you don't have to ferret through two bags of strongbow and twiglets to get to it when you arrive at the gate. If you haven't bought yours yet, stop reading this post NOW and hop over to

Reading & Leeds operates a strong (and sensible) policy on booze, but you can speed up your wait time at the arena bar by remembering ID, and redeeming an 18 wristband from the wristband exchange. 

Travel Arrangements Home
Reading and Leeds offers a great, affordable and reliable bus service from the site into town which I'd heavily recommend, but you need to remember to bring your booking confirmation. More info can be found here.  Which leads nicely onto my next point...

Money (plus extra for emergency's/travel home)
Festivals can be done on the cheap, but realistically, food and drink can be a little on the pricey side. Set yourself a realistic allowance for each day, and then pop in an extra tenner/twenty in case of emergencies. Store this money in different places about your person/luggage in case you lose any, or someone pinches it. 

Phone that can hold it's charge
If you're going with a small group you're reasonably unlikely to need your phone much, but it's still worth having in terms of meeting up, getting home or in case of emergency. Take an old, robost nokia that you can afford to lose and which will hold a charge for the whole weekend, or if you really can't part with your iphone, remember to turn your brightness and cellular data down to conserve the battery.


We all know festivals are akin to catwalks, but playsuits and floral crowns just aren't as practical as they look. If you're trying to pack light, the sensible girls festival wardrobe is as follows:

Wellies and Thick Socks
You might think you won't need them, but come Sunday, the mud will be flowing and you'll be grateful. They're also the easiest things to pull on in the night if you're hitting the portaloos (which at Leeds especially, are actually pretty reasonable)

Converse or hardy trainers
Flip flops and sandals look nice and all, but if you're going to be on your feet all day and getting into crowds, you'll want something comfy that has laces and will actually stay on your feet. Again, follow the normal festival packing rule - don't take or wear anything that you'd be absolutely distraught if it was ruined. 

A big Hoodie /Cardigan 
The most versatile item, these can be rolled up to form a pillow, keep you warm around the tent or simply add an extra layer to sleep in.

Even if it’s not sunny, these are handy by the fire to stop smoke getting in your eyes, or to generally swan around in looking like a celeb.

Waterproof Jacket
Even if you don’t think it’ll rain, they’re useful to sit on and again, proof to be a useful layer

Non-crumple dresses
Pack one for each day and a spare:wearing dresses means you have a whole outfit ready to go, taking up far less space. If you’re not a dress kind of girl, the uniform of band tee and shorts normally works just as well.

Big flannel shirt 
Another easy throw on for warmth that still looks stylish

Denim Shorts
A hardy piece that you can wear under dresses to keep your modesty 

Thick, non-snag tights 
These will keep you warm in the evenings, but they'll also dry out quicker than jeans if the weather does take a turn for the worse

Spare vests, pants and socks
Never underestimate the ability of a fresh change of undies to make you feel less grimy at a festival. 

Hair Ties/Bows/Scarfs
 Accept that your hair will look crap after day one and live with it. Everybody looks just as dishevelled, so this is your perfect excuse to experiment with top knots and updos.


Wet Wipes 
Never take toilet roll; it wastes space and it virtually useless when sodden. Wet Wipes are far more compact, hygienic and have a lot more uses. 

Dry, non perishable food 
Think Cereal Bars, Crisps, Malt Loaf and Sweets - anything you need to keep your energy up between meals that isn't likely to go off. I normally operate on a one bought hot meal a day rule, then eat my snacks around that. Camping Stoves are fine, but chances are you'll only use it once and then regret lugging it with you when it won't light.

For autographs, tagging your tent, writing on your friends face or other festival japery

Gaffa Tape 
For taping up leaks, broken bag straps, fixing broken tent poles... you name it, and Gaffa is your boy.

Empty Bin Bags/Carrier Bags
To round up your rubbish (because nobody likes that guy who leaves a sorry mess behind) and store wet or dirty clothes

A sensible choice of beverage
Whilst cider/beer is the favourite choice, I prefer to take spirits to festivals as they last longer, weigh less and you can buy mixers reasonably cheaply onsite. It's easy to get carried away, so think realistically about how much you are likely to drink and share the load with friends if necessary. 

A sense of wonder and excitement
Festival are a super fun break from ordinary life, so once you have packed, make sure to plot out bands to see, people to meet up with and all the other fun stuff. And make sure to see at least 3 bands you've never heard of - if in doubt, my top ten picks can be read over at Safety In Sound here

You May Also Like