June will see some of the world’s best music festivals take place in the UK. From Download to Glastonbury to the Isle of Wight Festival – there’s a vast number to choose from. And for many, the car is most convenient and fun way to arrive – it even gives you a place to shelter should your tent get flooded out.
But if you’ve never driven to a festival before, a little preparation can make for a smooth, pleasant trip.
From getting lost in the wilds of the British countryside, to suffering a flat battery, to finding yourself stuck in a muddy field surrounded by bulls – you could face all manner of challenges this festival season.
Here are some useful tips for a problem-free festival road trip.
Make sure your car is ready to go. Check that the tyres are fully inflated and in good condition, that there is enough oil, that the battery is working well and that the car's radiator is topped up with water. Taking along a first aid kit and water is prudent – as is a spade in case you get stuck in the mud.
A lot of festival-bound ‘friends’ may come out of the woodwork, asking for a lift. Avoid the temptation of letting everyone come along for the ride – since they, along with all their gear, could overload the car. Your vehicle’s handling and braking could be adversely affected as a result.
In particular, work out where you need to park and ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of the festival area – since traffic is likely to be heavy. Download any available parking maps – such as the one provided for Glastonbury.
It’s not nice to breakdown on the way to see your favourite artist. Make sure you have a good breakdown cover policy so you can get back on the road as soon as possible. Check out startrescue.co.uk’s great value breakdown service. We also have an app that lets you request roadside assistance without having to make a call!
Buying festival parking tickets in advance might save you money. They are often available online.
In most cases parking staff will guide you to a parking spot. There is likely to be a process designed to keep traffic moving smoothly, so it’s good to listen to them!
Hey mud-caked muso, where’s my car?
Remember where you left your car. Markers or flags should be nearby to help.
If you can, leave early. In Glastonbury, for example, it's advisable to leave between 1am and 7am if you don’t want to spend many hours waiting to leave. Be extra careful on the return journey, since you may well be tired from all that partying.
Fields + Rain + Boots + Cars = mud. If your car gets stuck in the mud, don’t panic and don’t accelerate – you'll just get more stuck. Ask all the occupants to get out. This will lighten the load and help you get free. Give your tyres extra space for manoeuvre by turning your steering wheel left and right.
Apply gentle pressure to the accelerator and move as slowly as possible, using the car’s weight to gain traction. Use the 2nd or 3rd gear for a manual, or the lowest gear for an automatic.
If this doesn't work, try deflating your tyres a little. This will increase their surface area and provide more traction. In addition, dig out an area around the tyres, then lay something around the wheels to provide additional traction – an old blanket or a car floor mat, for instance.
Once again, apply gentle pressure to the accelerator and move out of the mud.
Check your vehicle for any signs of damage. Brake lines are especially vulnerable to this type of situation.
If the above methods don’t work, you could always try something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUUckU-vAqI