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Festivals: an insider’s guide

Edith Bowman shares her pro tips, from finding your tent to a four-day hair ’do

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“I’ve spent half my life going to festivals – first as a music fan, then through my work as a DJ and as the wife of a musician. As a 19-year-old radio intern, my job was to do things like interview Kylie by the Portaloos! But now, my priority is to make sure the kids enjoy it as much as I do. It’s not just about the music – it’s about a shared experience with friends and family. I have so much love for the Great British Festival, I’ve even written a book!* Here are some of the things I’ve learnt along the way…

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    Break in your wellies before you go – you’ll walk for miles

    And make sure you wear two pairs of knee-high socks underneath, to reduce friction and rubbing. Wellies aren’t your only option, either – I’ve got a pair of hardy biker boots that are my go-to festival footwear. The stories they could tell…

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You can enjoy big acts like Florence and the Machine with the kids
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    You can see the headline act AND do Lego with the kids

    You don’t have to be in the scrum at the front to experience the music. Get a rug, sit at the back of the crowd and crack out the toys. You can watch Florence while the kids build a ship – everyone’s a winner!

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    Get your children to wear fancy dress

    Because a) they’ll love it and b) you won’t lose them. One year, I made my son Spike a cape that had his name in glitter on the back – it was easy to spot him in the crowd! Write your phone number on their arm in marker pen as an extra precaution.

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    Having rain-soaked jeans is like wearing a wetsuit the wrong way round…

    Urgh! Instead, take thin, easy-drying clothes (such as cotton cardies and tights), so you can layer up to get warm, then de-layer to dry off. For the kids, get all-in-one waterproofs. They can even doodle on them in pen, which they’ll love.

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Edith’s hair and make-up mantras

  1. You can get at least four days out of plaits. First, rock a French plait. Then go for plaited pigtails. On day three, cross them over your head for a Heidi look. Finally, undo them to give a crimped, Studio 54 look.
  2. Factor 30, all the way. A good suncream is always in my bag – even if it’s overcast, I can still burn. I get dry lips, too, so I make sure I have an SPF lip balm to hand.
  3. The worst thing you can do is look too made up. Go easy on the dark eyes – if you get caught in the rain, you’ll look like you’ve been in a fight! Go for a splash of colour or a sweep of glitter on your eyelids instead.

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    Can’t find your tent? There’s an app for that!

    Go to Google Maps on your smartphone, and just drop a pin where your tent is – then you’ll easily find it later. You can also make sure your tent stands out from the crowd by buying a brightly coloured design, and putting up a flag. Don’t rush to be the first to pitch your tent, though; you can spot eager beavers, as they’re always too near the main stage and will get seriously squashed. Wait and watch, and you’ll figure out the best place for you…”

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*Edith Bowman’s Great British Music Festivals (Blink Publishing, £16.99) is available now

Interview Charlotte Grant-West Photography Getty Images, Pixeleyes, Press Association Images, Rex Features

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