Newest Review: ... up, we decided to go to the arena to have a look around and get our bearings. V Festival has got pretty massive over the years, so the... more
A cracking festival
Member Name: kissandmakeup
Advantages: Music, beer, smiling faces.....what more could you want???
Disadvantages: Smelly toilets, queues
V Festival takes place in both Chelmsford & Staffordshire, as I've only attended the Staffs one it is this which I will be reviewing...
I have to firstly say that I have sadly not yet visited Glastonbury (not through want of trying!) and the only other festival I have been to is Leeds, just for the day, so I'm reviewing this festival just as I see it, not really comapring it to others.
I have been to V twice and have loved it both times. Despite the fact that I am a camping-phobic (having only been a couple of times as a child and hating it even then) and am the world's biggest wuss when it comes to spiders, getting muddy and not being able to wash my hair, I loved being at V within minutes of arriving and I soon forgot about my lovely comfy bed and nice shower at home! Each time I have been I camped there for 3 nights.
Upon arrival the first battle is getting all of your stuff (food, beer, tents, sleeping bags, clothes etc) to the campsite from the carpark, whcih is unfortunately quite a trek. The earlier you arrive, the better, as this means you can park as close as possible to the site and camp as near as possible to the arena. Arrive late at your peril (you will endure an even longer walk and a rubbish camping spot!). Either way, like I say, it is a bit of a trek and I would advise you to take some sort of trolley / wheelbarrow / whatever you can lay your hands on to help you (not sure quite how far it is but I reckon it is a couple of miles if you are parked in a bad spot and that is not fun whilst carrying two crates of beer, a 5 man tent and a CD player!). There are a couple of different colour coded & numbered campsites, whcih do help you remember where your tent is to some extent, but a flag on top of your tent will be a great help in the middle of the night too.
Once you have camped & got settled you can take your tickets to be exchanged for wristbands which allow you into the main arena. You can also purchase a booklet with a small map of the site and a list of which bands are playing, on which stage and when.
Between the campsites and the arena is an area with stalls selling food (hot sandwiches, burgers, jacket potatoes, chips etc) as well as camping supplies (such as extra blankets and sleeping bags.
Within the arena, in between the various stages, there are more food stalls selling everything you can think of as well as beer stalls. The food stalls are pretty expensive (imagine your usual fairground type prices for a burger and around £1.50-£2 for a small bottle of coke). The beer stalls work by you redeeming tickets, you cannot pay for your drinks with cash. Annoyingly this means queueing up seperately to buy beer tickets (whilst trying to work out how many you will actually need for the entire weekend so you don't have to queue for them again!) and then again as and when you want a drink. However, the ticket system probably cuts doen on the queues at the beer stalls as there is no-one fumbling about with their money there (not that you'd notice, the queues are still pretty bad!). They generally sell Carling, Strongbow, a couple of types of wine and Bacardi Breezers - choices are pretty limited. Tip; don't buy more beer tokens than you think you will need as they are non-refundable and therefore useless at the end of the festival. There are also loads of stalls selling clothes, funny t-shirts, wellies, hats, jewellry, sunglasses etc. There are some nice things for sale and it's worth a look. You can also buy official V memorabilia such as t-shirts and hoodys.
In order to save money on food I would strongly recommend taking some of your own for your tent and trying to avoid buying it in the arena as much as possible. Obviously this adds to the weight of the stuff you will have to carry to the campsite but is still worth doing. Camp fires are not allowed but we took a small camping stove, which was allowed, along with little camping pans and kettles so we could make bacon butties and cups of tea in the mornings (presuming we weren't already starting on the beer!). Other food we've found good to take is a tub of cooked pasta & sauce, sausage rolls, crisps, apples and basically anything that won't give you food poisoning if you don't refridgerate it! You are allowed your own alcohol in the campsite but not in the arena - they do search your bags - so you can have a few beers in your tent.
Children are allowed, although I personally would not want to take mine. If you are taking children they you may want to camp further away from the arena on one of the quieter bits of the campsite, which will mean a longer walk but will also mean you are less likely to be kept awake by drunken people falling into tents and will most likely be able to enjoy a slightly cleaner section of the campsite.
Portaloo toilets are provided in the campsites and they do get very unpleasant after a couple of days. As a girl, I would recommend you take a small bucket to wee into in your tent & then tipping this out because as horrid as that sounds no-one will think you're strange and it is much nicer that the sight of someone elses excrement overflowing out of the portaloo at 6am! Obviously it's a bit easier for men! If you do use the portaloos then make sure you have some tissues with you as well as some antibacterial hand gel as you will need it!
There are showers on the site though in order to have one you need to get there very early in the morning, you may have to queue and they may not be warm, so most people just go without. There are water points all over the campsites for you to fill up your own water bottles at your leisure so you can then use this to wash your hands, brush your teeth, boil the kettle etc.
All that remains for me to tell you about is the amazing atmosphere at V. Despite the smelly portaloos, the fact that no-one has had a shower for 3 days, the fact that you have only had 5 hours sleep all weekend, the fact that you were woken up at 5am due to a party in the tent next door and the fact that you are often up to your knees in mud the atosphere is just buzzing with positive vibes, happy people and all that awesome music. In all honesty, if it weren't for the mud, the stinky toilets and the fact your hair is knotted and full of mud and stale ale it just wouldn't be the same! Everyone is in a good mood, people are friendly, everyone is relaxed, no-one has any worries and there is no better feeling than being within a huge crowd of people who are just loving the moment, ignoring the rain and cheering for their favourite band, and if the sun does come out then the general happiness of the crowd increases ten fold. I have never had a bad moment, a sad moment or felt anything other than thoroughly happy whilst at V Festival, you can forget about work, forget about the housework, forget about the mundane things that don't really matter and just get lost in the moment.
Summary: The most fun you can have in a field in the rain!
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