It’s part of the experience: My first Reading Festival

Written by Rachel Avery

Ah the joy of festivals, you go there full of anticipation and excitement in your new sequin bum bag and leave with a cold and a ton of bruises. But it’s all part of the experience!

I went to my first festival with my best friend last week and what an experience it was. Despite all the articles and posts you read online you can never be fully prepared of what to expect. Here’s what I learnt after going.


We decided to go for just one day and then retire to the warm comfort of a hotel in the evening, which proved a good idea when it started raining at 6pm, but I will enlighten you more on this later. If you are planning to stay in a hotel make sure to book early, as they get full very quickly.

So, we departed our homes at the crack of dawn to beat the traffic and proceeded to awkwardly nap in the car when we arrived after a cheap McDonald’s breakfast. Our hotel allowed us to check in early, which was perfect, as we could leave all our stuff in our room rather than leaving it in the car. After a 25-minute walk we arrived at the outskirts of the festival grounds. People tried stealing tickets, so make sure to hide yours until you get to the ticket exchange.

Pricey cocktails

There were a few checks before entering the main arena, where we headed to the nearest tent for a drink. After spending £20 on two pricey gin cocktails, we toured around the arena. Now I know everyone complains about how overpriced everything is, which it is, but I think you just have to go for it. Spend that money you don’t have and worry about your bank balance later. Me and my friend kept reassuring ourselves that it was ‘part of the experience’. If you are looking for alternatives, you can bring food into the arena and there was a Co-op on site but the queue was always massive. If you’re staying the weekend, I would highly recommend going to the Tesco, which is just down the road or into town.

We made our way back to the main stage after listening to some of the acts in the other tents, ready for Post Malone. Now, if you fancy getting crushed and trampled on, then head right to the front of a Post Malone concert for an hour and you’ll come away feeling like you’ve been in a fight. That was a mistake that we made being festival newbies, but it is definitely an experience to put on the bucket list. Another tip, don’t go wearing anything that you want to wear again, your clothes will get destroyed. Our shoes were completely covered in dirt and my white top was brown. Even our teeth got dirt on them.

Drenched and freezing

The Kooks finished their set at 6pm and it started chucking it down with rain. I would highly recommend bringing a waterproof with you. It took us 30 minutes to queue to buy a rain poncho, by which time we were drenched and freezing and we still had to wait until 10pm for Fall Out Boy. We again convinced ourselves it was part of the experience and resisted going home to our warm hotel. We waited it out in one of the indoor music tents to try and warm up and actually had a good time dancing off the rain.

The fireworks exploded across the sky, signalling the end of the night and we drunkenly made our way out. After asking about four policemen how to get to our hotel we eventually stumbled back after being up for 20 hours and collapsed on our bed.

If you’ve never been to a festival, you should definitely go, even if you go for one day. You’ll make some amazing memories that are impossible to experience anywhere else.