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Tuesday July 2, 2024

Can I Take My Campervan to a Festival?

7 minutes well spent

Written by John Broderick
People with Campervan at Glastonbury Festival

Going to music festivals has become one of the most popular summer pastimes in the UK – but can you ditch the tent and go to one in a campervan? Can you pump up the volume and party all day and then plump up the pillows? Can you check out Dua Lipa and then slide into your comfortable double bed conversion? Can you tap along to Coldplay and then cook up a hot tea? In this edition of our blog, we’ll look at the phenomenon of motor vehicle festival going…

People with Campervan at Festival

What’s so Good About Music Festivals?

Every summer there’s an explosion of music and fun across the UK, with many festivals taking place that provide unforgettable experiences and incredible entertainment for hundreds of thousands of people. From the monster (Glastonbury) to the mainstream (Reading, Isle Of Wight), and from mid-size stalwarts (Latitude) and smaller gatherings to boutique micro-festivals catering for niche crowds, and even independent local put-ons, our country loves getting together to take in some tunes, soak up some vibes and blow off some steam.

For many music enthusiasts, the thrill of going to a festival is unmatched. A festival weekend (or long weekend) is the whole gig-going experience on steroids. It’s more than ‘just’ a couple of hours out in the evening to see a band at a local venue, hall or arena, and then going back home to feed the cat, have a hot chocolate and go to bed. It’s more than ‘just’ a mid-afternoon shuffle into a football stadium in a nearby city for a slightly longer bill and then a couple of hours in the car to go back home, feed the cat, have a hot chocolate and go to bed…

A festival offers more of absolutely everything. More music, more visuals, more excitement, more fun, more community, more sensory stimulation at every single level – and, perhaps, in the end, more memories. A festival can certainly be the most exciting weekend of your life, if you’re open to that experience.

There are several methods of accommodation at festivals these days. Other than the traditional basic DIY tent camping, some festivals are geared to absolute convenience and comfort, offering pre-erected tents – or even a glamping experience (complete with showers, hairdryers and comfy places to kip)!

However, if you’ve only enjoyed the traditional experience up to now, you could be in for a treat.

Guitar on Grass at Festival

Campervans at Festivals

Leaving your tent in the cupboard under the stairs or stored at the back of the shed, and opting to attend in your campervan will provide you with an immediate increase in the quality of the festival experience. These days many of the major UK music festivals have designated leisure vehicle accommodation areas, a little bit further from the main action than the tent site(s) are. You’ll be close enough to the action to experience it all vividly, but far away enough to get a really good night’s sleep when you need it. Bliss! Imagine immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and, when you’ve had enough and need to rest, being able to retreat to your very own comfortable space to quietly recharge. The campervan will also serve a dual purpose for the weekend. It’s not just the place you’re staying in, it’s your transport, getting you safely to site and safely out again.

Key Reasons to Take a Campervan to a Festival

  • Toilets: Avoid the usual Tardis-looking (though not Tardis-like) cramped and unpleasant public toilets available at festivals by using your campervan’s private facilities. That slice of clean and tidy normality and total privacy is a big win during a festival weekend.
  • Sleeping: When you’ve spent the day watching ten bands and dancing your bum off, you’ve drunk a little bit too much and you’re feeling tired and emotional, it’s probably time to get some rest ready for the next day of it! Your campervan offers a familiar, cosy, comfortable environment for a night of relatively undisturbed sleep on your own pillow, well away from the crowds and the noise.
  • Showering: Not every festival has shower facilities, but those that do are often utilitarian and somewhat lacking. A campervan allows you to clean up and change out of well-worn muddy or sweaty clothes, keeping you fresh when you need it, throughout the event.
  • Cooking: There are likely to be plenty of stalls around at your festival, offering an array of decent food. There’s no getting round the fact it can be quite costly if you eat this way for days, so bring your own food in in your campervan (if the festival allows it – check the T&Cs on your festival’s website) and you’ll save money.
  • Security: Being able to store and lock up your valuables in your campervan will provide you with an added level of security and peace of mind compared to a tent.

Major Festivals Which Allow Campervans

  • Glastonbury: The UK’s most famous music festival has been running since 1970 (for time-wow context, the first one took place the day after the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix died). Although it has now been and gone for 2024, it’s worth noting that ‘Glasto’ welcomes campervans, even providing dedicated areas for them with water, waste-water containers, toilets, and a food trader open 24 hours a day. These campervan fields are surrounded by fencing and patrolled by security staff.
  • Isle Of Wight: This island off the south coast has been hosting pop festivals since 1968! There is a separate area for campervans, and you can take an additional tent or awning as long as everything fits into a 7m x 7m plot. Campervan passes are an add-on to a regular festival ticket and, additionally, each person in your vehicle must have their own festival ticket.
  • Leeds Festival: ‘Twinned’ with the famous Reading Festival, this Yorkshire event has been running since 1999. Campervans are welcome but they do operate to a very strict set of guidelines which details exactly what they consider a campervan to be.

A Mid-Range Festival Which Allows Campervans

  • Green Man: This delightful mid-August science, arts and music festival held in the Brecon Beacons in south Wales has been running since 2003. There is a dedicated campsite specially for campervans, though you’ll need a ‘live-in vehicle ticket’ for your van in addition to an actual festival ticket. The maximum pitch size for campervans is 6m x 5m (though motorhome and caravan owners can pay for slightly larger pitches).

A Small Festival in a Great City You Can go to in Your Campervan

  • At The Edge Of The Sea: A boutique festival in Brighton run annually since 2009 by David Gedge, frontman of indie legends The Wedding Present. It’s a very friendly two-day event, where you are guaranteed to hear something, you’ve not heard before, or encounter interesting and unique acts. As it’s a boutique festival in a specific gig venue in the city of Brighton, there are no camping or campervan facilities as such. Attendees stay in hotel, air bnbs etc – and those who’ve travelled in campervans should use one of the local campsites and adhere to all local rules and regulations regarding vehicles.

Glastonbury Festival

Important Things to Consider about Festivals in Campervans

Standard admission tickets to festivals usually include entry to the festival itself plus tent accommodation. In almost every single case, festival tickets for campervan travellers are different from standard admission tickets. This type of ticket (or pass) will certainly cost more and may need to be purchased as an add-on to a standard admission ticket. Always check the official festival website to secure the correct tickets. It would be problematic to turn up in your campervan only to find that you do not have the right ticket and that it can’t be sorted out or that there are no spaces left in which you could park anyway.

Peopl Dancing at Festival

Additional Tips for Festival Goers in Campervans

  • Queues: Long lines are an unfortunate festival staple – and standing in a queue for an extended period of time is absolutely no-one’s idea of fun. Being in a campervan at least gives you the comfort of your own warm and dry environment whilst you’re in the vehicle queue. Ensure your campervan has enough fuel and breakdown cover to avoid delays.
  • Off-site: If your festival appeals but it’s not just about staying on-site and checking out the bands, look for nearby campsites. Staying slightly away from the festival site itself will afford you the chance to easily explore the local area – and, when it’s time to go, you may find that it is so much easier to get away from the area rather than having to wait for ages in vehicles queues on the festival site.
  • Insurance: Ensure your campervan and contents are protected with comprehensive insurance. Although it is unlikely, there is still a level of theft risk attached to taking a campervan to a festival – not so much the vehicle itself but contents. You also need to be insured against accidents of any kind.
  • Size: Know in advance the space requirements for your vehicle to avoid parking issues. The festival website should offer a guide to the dimensions of each campervan pitch, so you can be aware in advance of whether you’ll have the room to put up an awning, etc.
  • Vehicle checks: Inspect your motorhome’s systems and roadworthiness before setting off to the festival. Equip your motorhome for all weather conditions.

The most important thing about going to festivals – whether you’re staying in a tent, glamping or staying in your campervan, is that you respect all other festival goers. In general, this means treating people with kindness and consideration – and, for campervan-goers, there’s another level to this. Don’t leave ‘household’ rubbish lying around when you leave and, during the event itself, be mindful of noise and general behaviour to ensure a pleasant experience for all.

Here at Don Amott we’ve got some top quality new and used campervans which will enhance any festival experience. Check them out and get in touch when you see something you like. We’ll offer plenty of campervan expertise – and maybe some music tips too!