The new festival camping

Festival camping used to mean a tent you bought from a high street camping store, often crammed into a tiny space between others in an overcrowded field.

There’s no doubt that field’s in crisis, particularly at some bigger music festivals, with the cheap single-skin tents routinely marketed as ‘festival tents’ failing to withstand almost any weather, and an escalating tendency to treat the campsite as one huge rubbish tip.

The increasing popularity of ’boutique camping’, usually in a luxuriously kitted out and decorated tipi, yurt, bell tent or hut, reflects a growing demand for more civilised on-site accommodation. Bigger festivals are now responding with a whole range of thoughtful alternatives. We take a look at a few new options for those happy with an ordinary tent.

Thanks to J P Davison for this p

A Better Spot

If you like small festivals, you probably own a tent. People who work at festivals, or go to several a year, may have invested time and money in carefully choosing one to perfectly meet their needs, and often welcome the continuity as they move between sites. What they want is a chance to pitch their beloved home-from-home somewhere decent.

The Wild Copse at Bestival is the most fab example we’ve seen. Seeking to recreate the pleasantly relaxed camping free-for-all often found at tiny festivals, they offer a space for your own tent within a gated woodland area that’s restricted by numbers. So when you and your friends choose a tree-shaded spot and arrange your tents in a friendly circle, you’re unlikely to wake to find a stranger in the tiniest imaginable dome tent crammed into the middle. The area has its own showers and toilets, and shares a chillout bar and picnic area with the boutique campers.

Other festivals offer the chance to reserve a camping pitch. Camp Bestival even lets you choose one online, theatre-seat-style.

A pre-pitched tent

Thanks to Venturist for this pic

A chance to sleep in a basic but fit-for-purpose tent that you don’t have to lug on the train or struggle to pitch or take down. All some of us want is a place to sleep or change that doesn’t distract us too much from the main business of watching gigs and generally revelling in festival fun.

Tangerine Fields now supplies this service at Glastonbury, Rockness, Bestival, Alt-fest, Green Man, Isle of Wight, Love Supreme and Sonisphere. You can choose from a range of dome tents with the option to add sleeping and other camping equipment to your rental.

Pink Moon offers a similar option at Reading & Leeds, Latitude or Electric Picnic, and Glastonbury’s recently added its own variant, Worthy View, featuring ‘scout’ style ridge tents.

Hiring a tent for one event is also a great way to find out how you feel about camping. You may surprise yourself.






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