Pitching a tent and making a new home for a few days is an essential part of the festival experience. It's where the magic starts each day and where it ends. Getting your camp set-up right from day one can make the difference between taking home the best memories ever and ones you might prefer to forget. You don't need to be a seasoned pro or ultimate survivalist to make a great camp, far from it, camping at festivals is really easy. It just takes a little bit of preparation and a few camp rules to get it right.


Choose the correct size Squeezing three people into a two-man tent might sound cosy and even like a good laugh, but it won't be. Not after the first twenty-four hours anyway. Check the dimensions of your tent will fit any airbeds you intend to take. Follow the golden rule of ownership and pitch before you go This rule should not be overlooked. The second time pitching is always so much easier than the first. Plus a pre-festival pitch gives you the chance to check you aren't missing any bits. Think Transport If you need to carry your tent on public transport look for a smaller, lightweight option. And if you have a small car, check the tents fit in the boot (preferably before the morning of the festival). Customise Make a flag, a banner, adorn the sides in Day-Glo paint or buy a helium balloon. At two in the morning looking into a field of tents can be like staring into the abyss. You will be very pleased with your makeshift flag efforts when the time comes to it.


Research your pitch At some of the larger festivals, there are fields upon fields to pitch in, each with their own vibe and feel. Have a read through to about the different areas before you get there. Get there early The best spaces get snapped up quickly. If you're going in a group and need a fair amount of space, it's a good idea for one person to get there early to reserve a decent spot. Pitch in a circle Groups are best off pitching their tents in a circle with the doors all facing each other. This way you can chat, and it helps prevent other campers wading through and kicking over the beer (you only just opened). Be Friendly Introduce yourself to your neighbours. It's a festival - everyone's there for a good time. Plus they might be able to lend you something you have forgotten. Two separate bedrooms leading off from the communal space


Make a bonfire without checking Some festivals allow bonfires, most don't. You don't want to get chucked off the site. Check with a steward before you light up. Pitch near the toilets or hedges The toilets will, at some point, smell awful. There's no point worrying about it. It's an unavoidable part of festival life. And the hedges, at some point, will be used as toilets. You're best avoiding camping near either. itch on a hill This is never a good idea. You will be uncomfortable and all the blood will rush to one end of your body.


Sleep Well Take a sleeping bag and pillow, and ideally a roll mat or an inflatable bed. The ground can get cold at night. If you are a light sleeper, you might want to think about ear plugs too. Rain Macs and Bikinis It might be warm and rainy, it might be cool and dry. It might be everything in one day. Pack a waterproof, wellies and swimwear. Plus a thick jumper and socks in case it's nippy at night. Bags and Bags You really can never have enough plastic bags at a festival. They're handy for rubbish, wet clothes, dirty clothes, muddy wellies. Everything. Toiletries Baby wipes are your best friend. And so is toilet roll. Make sure you pack plenty. And girls if you are worried about messy hair, take a hat or headband and hide it away. It's also worth packing bottled water for brushing your teeth. Essentials Torch, lighter or matches, mobile phone with charger, towel, sun cream and cash (the queues for the machines are always so long and you always need cash when your favourite act is about to start).


Great Grandma's Gold: Avoid taking fancy watches or expensive family heirlooms. If they get broken or lost, you will be annoyed with yourself. The same goes for brand new trainers and clothes. You're there to let your hair down - you don't want to waste time worrying about getting mucky.