So you’ve got your ticket, you’ve bagged a tent that won’t collapse at the first sign of bad weather and you’ve left Asda’s Carling shelf emptier than a well-used festival Portaloo. Aren’t you forgetting something? Unless you’re planning on eating grass during your festival escapade then you’ll need to return to the supermarket for one last sweep. You’ll thank yourself for it when you wake up hungover and hungry from a heavy night of fun.
Once these mammoth outdoor events have you trapped in their arenas (voluntarily, mind) any food or drink you buy will be on their terms. Because of this – and the fact that people generally hate being hungry – it means that onsite food stalls won’t think twice about hiking up the price of the most basic nosh. Like the price of wellies skyrocketing the moment grey clouds appear – suddenly you’re forking out a fiver for a half-full portion of chips. Naaa, no thanks!
Just because your belly’s empty doesn’t mean your wallet has to be too. Buy the right food before you arrive and you can avoid losing all your festival spends on overpriced food. Obviously, you’ll probably want at least one hot meal a day – and it’s perfectly justifiable to splash out every now and then if your funds allow. However, we can show you what food items to buy beforehand to keep your hunger at bay and your money safe.
These are going to be your bread and butter…well in addition to the actual bread and butter that you should also take. Go for things like Dairylea Dunkers (or the cheaper Laughing Cow alternatives), Babybels, cocktail sausages and sausage rolls. These are perfect for eating on the go and will happily survive a few days locked in a backpack or tent. A multipack of crisps, some quick-and-easy Lunchables and a packet of processed cheese slices would be worth a shout too. These can be quickly put together to provide a quick food fix.
As one of the most important meals of the day it’s important you get this one right. Head to the breakfast aisle of your local supermarket and pick up a few boxes of cereal bars, Nutri-Grain bars (or any of their cheaper siblings) and Pop Tarts. These items are ready to go whenever you feel peckish, simply open them up and chomp away. What’s more, if you remove them from their cumbersome packaging they’ll take up minimal space in your rucksack. If you’re lucky enough to be camped next to someone with a portable stove, bringing pots of just-add-water oats or porridge and even a few tea bags or coffee sachets would be worthwhile too. Guaranteed to sort out even the most deadly hangover.
Our goal is to suggest ways that you can eat cheaply and easily at a festival. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that the good-for-you factor can be the first thing to go. However, there are plenty of healthy options available if you’re looking to stay sensible during mealtimes. Apples, bananas, pears and tangerines are all high in energy and easily transported. Likewise, buying bags of nuts, raisins or dehydrated pineapple, mango or apricot would also be a good idea. Veggie snacks like carrot sticks are also lightweight and great for you too.
Keeping your body full of water is just as important as keeping your stomach full of food. Unfortunately, stocking up on drink can be quite a nuisance when it comes to travelling to your camp spot. The last thing you want is a 5ltr bottle of water weighing you down while you wade through the mud. With this in mind, you’d be much better off bringing one 2ltr bottle of drinking water and a six pack of fruit juice cartons. Most festival campsites have working taps, allowing you to refill your bottle once it’s been emptied. Meanwhile, the snack sized fruit juice cartons are easy to carry and bound to come in handy when you need a quick liquid fix.
Doing hot meals on the cheap at festivals isn’t exactly easy but if you’re the lucky so-and-so with the mate with a camping stove (or if you’re the mate), then there are a few options available. Let’s start with the basics – Pot Noodles only require a bit of hot water, something that can be easily facilitated if there’s a gas cooker knocking about. Just be sure to wrap them in a plastic carrier bag before packing them away, the last thing you need is a backpack that smells of beef and tomato thanks to a burst packet. Also, you’d be surprised how durable bacon is. Pick up a pack along with some sausages just before you set off and they should see you through the first couple of breakfasts. And finally, if you have some plates, bowls or cutlery to hand, taking canned food would be a definite plus when your funds are low and your hunger level is high.
So don’t forget those inevitable hunger pangs and plan ahead – we hope we’ve given you some food for thought!
If you’re not sure what to wear then check out our fashion guide, or if you simply want some more info on packing for some of the best value festivals then click on the links.