Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

August 9-12, Catton Park, Walton on Trent, Derbyshire
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Noodle
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Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby Noodle » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:35 am

So, you're coming to Bloodstock for the first time? Maybe you've been before but not camped. Perhaps you're experienced with camping but not at a festival. Are you completely new to both?

I hope this thread can prove invaluable in your preparations.

The aim here is for experienced Bloodstock campers to help newbies with advice and lists, what you're realistically going to want to take and what isn't worth the hassle, anything you think might be useful.

I'll confess it's actually been a while since I've camped in a tent - I have a trailer tent and camp in the campervans site, so I may not be as useful, but I can give it a good crack to start folks off.

Firstly, if you haven't already, read the Event Info, http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/event-info Travel Info, http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/travel-info Terms and Conditions - Weekend tickets: http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/week ... conditions Day tickets (still relevant despite the 2015 in the link) http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/day-tickets-2015 . Lots of useful and important stuff there so you know where you stand and help avoid any nasty shocks.

Now you've done that, know where your ticket is?
Next: Total newbies - Do you have your tent? Put it up and taken it down? Does it leak in the rain? Check it sooner rather than later if you can to make sure you can fix anything broken before you set off. Take gaffer tape for absolute emergency repairs. Is your sleeping bag warm enough at night? Do you need a pillow or can you make do with clothes in a pillow cover? Have an airbed? Make sure you pack a pump (battery powered is easiest). Expect it to deflate overnight. Don't worry, it probably hasn't got a leak - just top it up with air.

Beer and stronger stuff:
Remember NO GLASS WHATSOEVER. If your beer of choice has been bought in glass bottles, buy a load of fizzy water bottles, drink or pour them away, then decant the beer in. For Jager, Bucky, vodka, etc: hip flask or empty water bottles. Consider how much time you expect to spend in the campsite vs time i the arena. You will not be able to take alcohol past security from the campsite into the arena entrance, even if you bought the beer from the arena. If you think you'll be in the arena and buying from the bar for most of the day, don't take 4 crates for yourself. Do you want to carry that much from the car, and take that much back with you after a knackering weekend?

Money: The arena can quickly drain you of your pennies! Food will be expensive. Plan for between £10-£15ish per meal. Take your time and browse the food stalls. Consider reputation, food hygiene certificates, price, portion size and quality (you might be able to ask around if you spot others munching on arena food). Have a look at the list of traders expected this year: http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/events/boa-2018/traders . Expect around £4.50 per pint at the bar. If real ale and cider is your thing, check the end of the bar at Lemmy's Bar for the barrels. The Serpent's Lair will have an ever-changing supply so try not to become too wedded to a particular pint! Soft drinks (including water) will probably be around £2-£2.50 a bottle. Use the water point in the arena (usually to the right of the New Blood stage next to the bogs) if you have a bottle for refills. Merch stalls may also prove to be a nice money sink. Assume shirts will be about £20-£25 depending on the stall, and you might want to make a beeline directly towards the official merch stall if you want a BOA shirt in your size! Expect to buy a few CDs and perhaps something else may take your fancy. How much to take? In the past, I've rarely gone over £200, but you wouldn't want to rely on getting by on twenty quid. Arrive at the weekend on about £70 if you plan to buy a shirt and eat/drink in the arena. There are ATMs (that DO charge) but there is always the risk of theft. I've seen enough stories (first hand and through the forum) of weekends being ruined by waking up Friday or Saturday and their entire budget has been wiped by thieves ransacking their tents overnight. I wouldn't take the risk myself, and just withdraw cash daily. If you lose your wallet/phone/whatever, do try the Lost Property tent every few hours as there are plenty of decent folks who find and hand stuff in with money still present.

Food: You can only heat with solid fuel, and only at the designated BBQ points. Don't bother taking gas stoves, trangia stoves, anything that uses gas or liquid fuel. Security are usually pretty hot (no, I won't leave the hall) on this one. Hexamine fuel blocks are fairly reliable for boiling water, so if you're taking dried food, tea, coffee, pasta or want to wash up forks/spoons/bowls (don't bother washing up. Just take disposables) they're going to be your best bet. They can take a bit of trying to get properly lit though. Don't take anything that will spoil quickly in warm weather - a cool box might work for that but it's yet another thing to carry. Tins with ringpulls (yes! The ones *WITH* ringpulls. No one ever has a tin opener, and the ones from the camping shop at the festival aren't luxury quality) can be good, but not the lightest thing to lug in your rucksack. Snacks like cereal bars can be alright but crisps might be too airy and take up space in your bag.

Security: Security are nearly always excellent. Historically Showsec have really looked after us and every single one of them who I've spoken to has loved working Bloodstock because of the atmosphere of the festival compared to other festivals they work (I hear V festival is awful for them). If you're chilled with them, they're chilled with you. Have a joke with them, talk to them, listen to them. You're allowed to be disappointed if they confiscate something from you or find a few cans down your Y-fronts in front of one of their supervisors, but they have a job to do and sometimes it's for a worthy reason so take it on the chin and accept the outcome.

What to take and what to leave at home:
This'll be more aimed at total newbies, but it could be worth a read if you've camped before but not at a festival.
-Ticket.
-Tent. Preferably double-skinned - single skinned is prone to condensation and make things damp in rain/cold. Popup tents are bulky to carry and not the easiest to pack away if you're not extremely familiar with the process. I'd go with a fairly cheap-ish 4 man double skin even if you're going alone. Remember you need space to store your things.
-Rubber mallet. Catton Park is built on a former quarry site. There *will* be stones, and your foot *will* bend your tent's supplied pegs. Yes, it's heavy and bulky to transport, and you may be lucky with wind, but you may just earn a free can of beer for lending it out after you've finished with it.
-Bedding. A self inflating rollmat will do for a lot of people. Little protection if there are any puddles, but fairly small to pack. Airbeds will offer the best protection against stones and puddles, but might be a bit colder, and they tend to squeak (especially if you find yourself in the lucky position of needing a condom) when you move. Folding campbeds can be extra bulk to carry and may not fit in your tent, but some are more comfortable and you're raised off the ground.
-Sleeping bag. Get a warm one. The sunny mornings will bake you whatever you choose to sleep in, but the nights can be absolutely bitter meaning you might regret buying a thin one where even 4 hoodie layers is not enough.
-Pillow case. If you can fit a cheap pillow, great. Otherwise, stuff your clothes inside.
-Caribinas. Really useful for hanging bags off your rucksack.
-Binbags. Bags with tie-string are good. It just helps the cleanup crew, and helps keep ticket price down. No, really... It does! Also good for keeping clean clothes dry and dirty clothes separate.
-Bog roll. The loos are usually really good, but never ever bank on them having bog roll! Always keep loads of sheets in your pocket in the arena.
-Water container. Collapsible 5 or 10 litre containers are your best bet, as the water points have sink drains that make it basically impossible to get 20 litre solid bottles filled. Get decent quality thicker plastic ones as the cheaper thin ones are pretty shit.
-Gaffer tape. Good for running repairs. Endlessly useful!
-Sandwich bags (large) or ziplock bags. Good for putting your bog roll in or cutlery.
-Batteries. Make sure you have the right sizes.
-Torches. Torches with hooks are useful for night time runs to the bogs, where not all have overhead floodlights!
-Disposable plates and cutlery. Anything that would usually need to be washed afterwards should be substituted for disposables given how much of a ballache it is to heat anything up. It'll also be slightly less to carry back with you.
-Sunhat. Heatwaves have happened before, and some burns have looked impressively painful.
-Sun cream. Same as above. Try to remember to reapply.
-Waterproofs. We've also had downpours that'll make India in monsoon season wince. It also makes the next item particularly relevant.
-Waterproof footwear. Drainage is actually really good at Catton Park. Rain is easily run off into the nearby river and the quarry site underneath also supposedly helps. However, main footfall areas can and do get muddy very quickly, and places like the Asgard/main entrance to the path to the arena entrance, as well as the Midgard to arena entrance, do become relatively deep mudbaths. Comfy wellies are the safest option. I've got by wearing New Rocks, and in recent years I've got by with steel toe capped work boots. Others will swear by German Army boots. Just don't wear Vans, Converse, etc. If your feet get wet, you might find your shoes will still be foot-cripplingly damp by Monday if the weather does not improve.
-Plasters/blister covers. For the above possibilities.
-Earplugs. "ER-20" plugs are what I and many others use for loud music. For night time peace for light sleepers, get the most effective sound deadening disposables you can find. The campsites will be full of chanting, boomboxes and diesel generators for floodlights.
-Set times. There are a few folks who post links to Clashfinders or their own compiled list. I always download and print several copies of "Slev"s PDF. Once printed you can then mark down which bands you want to see at which times. Print a few copies as it's easy to lose one or someone else might want one. His is now up: Slev's PDF
-Pens. Good for making adjustments to your set times (they can happen on the day and are usually notified via the Rock Soc tent or possibly the Signing tent. Also good for noting down Signing tent times, which are often only confirmed on the day, when the band arrives and agrees to it.
-Hexi stove. Probably not worth it unless you bring dried foods and/or your own coffee. If you do, it'll take up mimimal space and probably easily fit into or against your...
-Pan/kettle. Foldable silicone kettles are a thing, which can help reduce the amount of space needed. Mess tins are also fairly good.
-Immodium. Shit can happen, especially after a poor food van choice (like the campsite breakfast van). Immodium might help.
-Paracetamol/Ibuprofen.
-Cheap burner phone. For the love of all that is precious and sane... *DO NOT TAKE YOUR NEW AND EXPENSIVE ISAMSUNG PIXEL XL 13 1/2*!!! If you lose it and no one hands it in to lost property or it's sacrificed as an offering to the Blue/green Portaloo Gods, you will find absolutely no sympathy whatsoever and you will be very upset! Buy the cheapest basic phone (or with a camera if that's your main reason for taking your phone), put a Tenner of credit on it, give out your temporary number to those who need it, and leave your nice phone at home. The wifi doesn't work and you will never get a data signal at any sensible hour.
-Pack of wet wipes. If you're feeling precious about personal hygiene, there are showers, so take travel/sample size shampoo and small towel, but queues can be mighty and you could miss bands. Make up for it with wet wipes, and some people swear by dry shampoo. Otherwise, remember this is a festival and there will be several thousand others who get by with just deodorant. Very few people will care that you haven't washed for a few days, and you'll probably be too tired to care what others think on your way home.

Camped before but not at a festival?
It'll be a bit different for you. You'll want to take some extra bits but other bits just won't be worth it. Remember it'll be a longer walk to the car, and some luxuries you might be used to won't be available! Consider what you would normally take to a campsite, then consider what you can squeeze into your rucksack or possibly hang off the side of it. Remember that you might have to hoist your rucksack onto your back on your own.

Most importantly, have fun and get into the spirit of things. You will talk to lots of new people, you will walk miles, you will find a unique atmosphere, you will be tired afterwards.
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robin8585
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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby robin8585 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:17 pm

As an addition to the money thing, all of the bars in the arena allowed contactless payments last year, I assume it's going to be the same this year. So if you have a contactless debit/credit card, you don't need to carry as much cash as you think.

I've also found self heating ration packs to be very good. You just need a little water to activate the chemicals in the bag, leave it a few minutes, and you have a piping hot meal without having to worry about a stove or plates/bowls. They're a bit pricey compared to a tin of beans, but overall much less hassle and cheaper than the food stalls http://evaq8.co.uk/Self-Heating-Food.html

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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby CharlesDexterWard » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:02 pm

I would also add in to remember fully pre-charged powerbanks if you want to charge your phone etc over the weekend. A fully charged, decent quality powerbank usually lasts my phone all weekend for recharges.

There are charging options in the arena at approx £5 a time but one year I got someone else's phone returned to me by accident. I got it sorted but it put me off using them.
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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby Hotchilidog » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:25 pm

robin8585 wrote:I've also found self heating ration packs to be very good. You just need a little water to activate the chemicals in the bag, leave it a few minutes, and you have a piping hot meal without having to worry about a stove or plates/bowls. They're a bit pricey compared to a tin of beans, but overall much less hassle and cheaper than the food stalls http://evaq8.co.uk/Self-Heating-Food.html


Those self heating meal packs look great. I may pick up a couple for the festival.

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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby Black Wizard » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:32 pm

CharlesDexterWard wrote:I would also add in to remember fully pre-charged powerbanks if you want to charge your phone etc over the weekend. A fully charged, decent quality powerbank usually lasts my phone all weekend for recharges.

There are charging options in the arena at approx £5 a time but one year I got someone else's phone returned to me by accident. I got it sorted but it put me off using them.

I charged mine with the lockers a couple of times. The package I bought was a small locker plus two full charges included. The service was awful though. Instead of giving everyone a key we had to queue up for a long time to get access to our lockers every time we wanted to get to them. The phones weren't charged in the lockers either - they were kept behind the desk and we had to ask for them back. Dreadful, inefficient system. I meant to open up a thread about it after the festival last year to highlight how poor this company is but never got round to it. Lockerhouse are so much better.

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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby i0th » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:50 pm

Just echoing this:

Cheap burner phone. For the love of all that is precious and sane... *DO NOT TAKE YOUR NEW AND EXPENSIVE ISAMSUNG PIXEL XL 13 1/2*!!!


Years ago I bought the cheapest handset Tesco had (£10 for a Samsung E1200) and it's perfect for festivals. Battery lasts for days, can text/call if needed and if it gets drowned in the rain or smashed in a pit or lost I won't give a fuck. I just stick my SIM in it on the way down and sorted.
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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby Black Wizard » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:55 pm

i0th wrote: I just stick my SIM in it on the way down and sorted.

Sim cards for new phones are tiny though!

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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby i0th » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:02 pm

SIM card adaptors are a quid on eBay.
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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby Jay1993 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:39 pm

i0th wrote:SIM card adaptors are a quid on eBay.


I will have to invest in one of these! I've always taken a cheap phone to Bloodstock, no need to worry about charging/losing it then :D

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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby i0th » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:43 pm

Hell ain't a bad place to be(er)

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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby Noodle » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:18 pm

Other important things I forgot to mention:
Got mates in Campervans? Arrange to meet at the Campervans entrance. They will have their own wristbands, and security will not let you in without a Campervan wristband or pass. There's talk that non-vanners will be able to be escorted in by those with, but you should just be aware that you won't be able to walk freely in to find your mate's pitch.

Got mates in VIP? You won't be able to rock up to their camp for a few beers. Pester them for a pint from the Serpent's Lair bar, but you'll have to wait by the Lair entrance.

Camped in VIP or Campervans? You can go and see your mates in the main campsites with no problems.
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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby ScrumpiesVeteran » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:30 pm

Remember that the 1 mile walk from the main car park (up and down a slope) to the back of the campsites feels even longer when you are carrying twice your weight in camping gear. Pack sensibly and consider a cheap (IKEA is great) sack trolley type thing; especially if you don't want to make several trips.

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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby someone else » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:39 pm

If you're following sat-nav off the A38, watch out for the 'narrow bridge' warnings - my mates people carrier can just about get across - anything wider and you'll struggle (as the van we were stuck behind found out!)
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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby Noodle » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:14 pm

Once you're on the A38, don't turn off until you pick up the BOA signs. In other words, start ignoring the satnav. That bridge is probably the reason the Travel Info (link in OP) tells you to follow the signs
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Re: Unofficial Community Festival Guide for Newbies

Postby florencethemachine » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:58 pm

In regards to food you cannot go wrong with M&S beef jerky (not suitable for vegetarians surprisingly). Great source of energy and great if you are going to the festival to watch bands (Fucking losers AMIRITE??) as your energy levels get zapped pretty quickly if you are adamant on keeping a good crowd spot.
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