Metronomy’s Joe Mount on how to survive festival season

The camping veteran is here to pick out the essentials, from bumbags to waterproofs

“Festivals are about camping, not about music,” states Metronomy linchpin Joseph Mount as he takes in his surroundings in a north London camping shop. A festival veteran both as a punter and as a performer (this year his band will play a handful of festivals across Europe, including All Points East and End of the Road), Mount is here to pick out essentials for any festival virgin, from bumbags to waterproofs, and he’s taking his task very, very seriously. “I don’t want people to take me at my word and realise they’ve been sold a lie,” he says, while fingering the quality of the linings on an assortment of sleeping bags.

So, without further ado, here’s indie-pop’s resident camping expert on what every good festival-goer needs …

Hat

I’m quite particular about hats. I would encourage people to bring a jester’s hat, to be honest. Something quite fun. But if I was picking one for me I’d go with this classic bobble hat. I remember the first festivals I went to seeing people with jesters’ hats and not really understanding it. Obviously now I do.

Tent

You need a very good tent. I think it’s funny how people think tents are disposable. I’m really good at putting them up. First time I went to Glastonbury was 1998, which was a ridiculously muddy one, and I remember my mum was amazed that I’d managed to bring home a spotless tent. I did it by being sensible with it. I can’t stress enough how much I believe that being sensible is the only thing you should think of doing at a festival.

Sleeping gear

So you need a sensible, breathable, warm sleeping bag – I’d just wear T-shirt and pants to bed – and I think trying to be cheap means it might not last. I’d be looking for one with a little head pillow. I like a camping mat, or what people now seem to call yoga mats. An airbed is a false economy – they’re heavy, they’re quite sweaty, so if it’s hot you don’t want to have a sweaty bed. It’s always going to be hot when you wake up so you have to think about that. The morning is the worst time at a festival so you have to be prepared: you need to be able to access fresh water, potentially orange juice, maybe coffee and also the toilets.

Bumbag

Would I use a bumbag? I would definitely pick a “stealth waist wallet” over a bumbag, because it’s discreet. If you had a flashy bumbag people would look at it and think: “That’s where he’s keeping his drugs.” Here you can keep all your folding money nice and flat, and close to your body.

Wet wipes

It’s not very environmentally friendly is it? This is the Guardian after all. Maybe eat them after you’ve finished with them. I would take a flannel, to be honest. People that have showers at festivals I find very weird. Why would you do that? It depends on your own levels of personal hygiene, but I think you can go two or three days without a shower.

Rucksacks

You don’t need a huge rucksack, just a nice compact one you could take on a train. You can strap a tent on the side and your sleeping mat. To me, festivals are about the great outdoors. It’s not about comfort. It’s playing the camping game, so you need to think about things that will pack easily. Also, the first few times I went to Glastonbury I did climb the fence, so you have to be able to run.

Wellies

I went to the first festivals thinking it would be a good place to meet girls, so I was thinking about how I looked. But with camping and fashion, the two are mutually exclusive. As soon as you put on wellies you lose all sense of style, unless you’re doing the vaguely right-wing man of the country look. But onstage I’d wear my white trainers. That idea of, like, “we’re all out here together in the mud” is just not true. To keep the artifice of performance, you should always be going on stage like you would at any other show.

Jackets

Even if you’re not a drug dealer at a festival you’ll need as many pockets as possible. You need a jacket that makes you feel bulky. With something like this (pictured above) you’ve got the hood and peak cap, which is useful. You also get a free bag to put it in, which you could repurpose for later. I like this one, the colours are good.

Metronomy will be at All Points East, 24 May to 2 June, and End of the Road, 29 August to 1 September; Joe shopped at Cotswold Outdoor, N1

Contributor

Michael Cragg

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The UK’s 10 best music festivals
Whether you go full on feral at Glastonbury or chomp on churros at a one-day dad-fest, there’s a festival for you

Leonie Cooper

04, May, 2019 @5:59 AM

Article image
Metronomy’s Anna Prior on going solo: ‘It’s always felt like there’s been something missing’
Created in lockdown, and released via her own label, the drummer’s debut solo single marks the start of her own journey

Kate Solomon

27, Aug, 2021 @12:00 PM

Article image
The UK’s eight best music festivals
From the Mighty Hoopla’s queer, pop-focused celebration to Download’s annual joyous metal onslaught, there’s an event this summer for everyone

Leonie Cooper

12, May, 2018 @8:15 AM

Article image
Forget Glastonbury: the festivals that Britain really deserves
From wellness islands to digital detoxes, read our predictions for the bleak future of boutique festivals that cater for every bizarre niche

Joel Golby

21, Jun, 2016 @8:00 AM

Article image
10 of the best summer anthems, picked by Metronomy
Chris Rea to Len, Stereolab to Finley Quaye – to celebrate a decade of their classic summer album The English Riviera, Metronomy founder Joe Mount shares a sun-soaked playlist

Leonie Cooper

07, May, 2021 @8:00 AM

Article image
Dani Filth: ‘Marilyn Manson is a likable fellow, so I’d give him my wet wipes’
The Cradle of Filth frontman shares his festival stories - from tent peg nightmares to his dream boyband lineup

Michael Cragg

13, May, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
From Strawberries & Creem to Standon Calling: 2021's best summer festivals
Glastonbury’s off, but there are a whole host of festivals on the horizon –
featuring nu-jazz, the queen of drill, Liam Gallagher and a Cheese Hub

Leonie Cooper

27, Mar, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
From Glastonbury to Bluedot: 10 of the best festivals for summer 2021
Though live music is cancelled for the coming months, next year is shaping up to be a bumper season

Ammar Kalia

03, Jul, 2020 @8:00 AM

Article image
Girls to the front: why gender is still a headline issue at festivals
How hard can it be to have equal gender representation on festival bills? As Primavera proves, not hard at all

Leonie Cooper

03, May, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
Festival wellbeing: what does your yogi pose say about you?
Whether you’re an indie-loving Nodding Dog or a back-spasming dance tent Culture Warrior, there’s an appropriate yogic stance for you

Gavin Haynes

12, May, 2018 @10:00 AM