ELLE's Ultimate Festival Survival Guide - Where To Go, What To Pack And How To Party Til The Break Of Dawn

Where to go, who to see and what essentials to bring with you

girl dancing at a music festival

Festival survival guides come in many forms, some will tell you to pack the baby wipes, others will prioritise Glastonbury over every other event, but you'll find no such thing here at ELLE. Here, we know that festivals exist on a spectrum, depending on what you listen to, the degree to which you can withstand the blistering sun or the pouring rain, plus of course, what threads you fancy wearing.

Here is our festival guide, from Croatia, right through to Bristol - we've picked the cream of the music festival crop and dug deep for handy advice about which festival essentials to take along for the ride.


NOS Alive, 6-8 July, Lisbon, Portugal

WHY: Doesn't it feel like everybody is going to Lisbon at the moment? Set in Europe's hottest (in all the senses) cities and a short 15mins from the beach, NOS Alive is giving us another reason to book that flight immediately.

The stella line up features The Weeknd, Foo Fighters, The XX, Alt-J and Glass Animals, and doesn't kick off until 3pm, giving you plenty of prime beach/exploring time. 

Part city break, part beach holiday - NOS Alive has all the elements of each holiday you just haven't got round to booking this year rolled into one. 

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: Your city guide of choice and some comfortable shoes to explore the windy streets of the old town before the festival kicks off late-afternoon. Lisbon is also know for it's street art scene, you can basically track the history of the city through the pieces around the city, so beady eyes are also an essential. 

PRICE: NOS Alive; £52


British Summer Time, 30 June - 9 July, Hyde Park, London

WHY: One of the main London festivals, BST is all about big names and even bigger sounds. Spread over two weekends, this year sees a mammoth (yet eclectic) line-up, including Phil Collins, punk icons Green Day, Kings of Leon, Justin Bieber and The Killers. Massive plus: even if you don't have a ticket, you can visit the sites and enjoy all the food and free events (open air movie nights and comedy) scheduled in between the performances. Also, expect to get freebies...like a lot.

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: Seeing as this festival is no-camping-required, you can focus all your energy on looking pretty in the sunshine. But our best advice? Throw away your flower crown in favour of these cute pastel hair grips and get your hands on the Mai Couture Trio Highlighter- one credit card sized product, three make-up looks.

TICKETS: BST; From £63


Melt! Festival, 15 - 17 July, Ferropolis, Germany

WHY: Croatia, Spain and the UK may be festival hotspots, but Germany is finding a name for itself. Melt! Festival is held by a lake in a former coal mine, surrounded by huge industrial machines, and delivers a musical smorgasbord - from electro to rock – reminiscent of the Berlin clubbing scene. There's even a Sleepless Floor stage where you can dance to the sounds of MØ and Warpaint 24/7. For the first time this year, the organisers have managed to get a swimming permit, meaning that you can cool down in the lake after hours of raving.

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: The new Nike Cortez trainers to make sure you survive the Sleepless Floor stage.

TICKETS: Melt!; £120


Latitude Festival, 13-16 July 2017, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk

WHY:  Sharing a jug of Pimm's or sipping an ice-cold beer with your mates in the British countryside while watching the best stand-up comedy - that's definitely on the agenda at Latitude Festival. With the biggest comedy line-up of all the festivals (from Simon Amstell to Dara Ó Briain), and acts such as The 1975, Mumford & Sons and Placebo, the only thing you need to take care of is food, as Latitude operates a simple (and wallet friendly) 'bring your own food' policy. The rest is guaranteed.

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: Floral print ankle boots from Tabitha Simmons, a croco pink fanny pack from &Other Stories and Ray Ban's New Wayfarer sunglasses.

TICKETS:£198 weekend standard camping, £78 for a day pass


Love Saves The Day, 27-28 May, Bristol    

WHY: Love Saves the Day is the new mecca of UK-based festivals. In the past three years, it has made its way from muddy Glastonbury fields to a two-day festival in Bristol, with a full on roller disco. Taking place over the bank holiday weekend, it features some of the world's best electro sounds. Artists such as Little Dragon, Fat Freddys Drop, Kate Tempest and the Irish electro music duo Bicep are among the long list of headliners this year.

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS:  A multicolored sequin mini dress from Attico and a gold militaryjacket from Zadig & Voltaire - the shinier the better.  

TICKETS: Love Saves the Day; 1 day tickets from £43.45, Weekend Tickets from £82.50  


Camp Wildfire, 16th - 19th June, West Kingsdown, Sevenoaks, Kent

WHY: Camp Wildfire is a festival experience like no other… Leave your inhibitions at home, rediscover your childish curiosities and prepare to get very, very silly. With over 80 activities to choose from, attendees are able to build their own schedule from the likes of extreme hill zorbing, archery paintball battles and zombie runs. It's not all crazy; the more reserved amongst us can enjoy activities including life drawing, bee keeping, astronomy and screen-printing. When darkness falls Wildfire is transformed into a magical party experience with a quality line up of live music and DJs. 

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: Sweaty Betty Power Leggings for all the activities you'll be doing

TICKETS: Weekend tickets £165 at the Camp Wildfire website (group discounts and luxury accommodation also available) 


Wilderness Festival, 3-6 August, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire

WHY: For festival goers who don't like to spend the weekend fueling up on tinned goods: Wilderness Festival is back with another wholesome line-up. This year's three-day festival sees the return of Yotam Ottolenghi alongside other culinary masterminds such as Nuno Mendes and Thomasina Miers. Following the concept of large-scale communal dining, the chef's four- and five-course meals will be held at the Long Table Banquets, which means there's space for everyone, old and new friends included. The festival's musical lineup is as impressive as its culinary offering, with Grace Jones, Two Door Cinema Club and Bonobo headlining.

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: Pac a mac - like this bright violet one from Hunter - as rain is most certainly on the cards.

TICKETS: Wilderness;  £169


Secret Garden Party, 20th-23rd July, Mill Hill Field, Cambridgeshire

WHY: It's not a festival, its a party and it's the last ever one. For years Secret Garden Party has been known as one of the best boutique festivals in the country. With a different theme every time this year takes a wry and funny look at fame and celebrity, with VIP spoofs, SGP's very own talent show and a lido. An eclectic line-up over three days, 2017 is set to be the ultimate Secret Garden Party. 

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: A fancy dress outfit to embrace the theme (and lots and lots of glitter)

TICKETS: Adult weekend tickets £195 at The Ticket Sellers


Shambala Festival, 24-27 August, Secret country estate, Northamptonshire

WHY: 'Shambhala' is a Sanskrit term meaning a place of peace, tranquility and happiness; and the festival certainly lives up to that. Set in a secret location, it's one of the more intimate festivals and also family-friendly (there are family-only camping zones). Every year sees a different carnival theme; this year it's 'Cloud Cuckoo Land,' think pink cotton candy clouds and rainbows. And aside from this year's headliners (65 Days of Static and Abstract Orchestra), you can also expect to see cabaret performances, take part in poetry workshops, yoga classes or see healers and therapists. And even make a wooden spoon in the craft tent to take home with you.

ESSENTIALS: Your best downward dog and lots of layers. Dancing in the wood can get cold.

TICKETS: Shambala; Children £ 39, Teens £ 89, Adults from £140.00


Primavera Sound, 31 May - 4 June, Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona, Spain  

WHY: Primavera Sound returns with yet another mega line-up, including Frank Ocean, Aphex Twin, Bon Iver, Solange and The XX. Food-wise you won't be disappointed either - whether you're looking for the newest Instagram-worthy food trends or want to enjoy a simple plate of Paella - there are plenty of restaurants and bars located in and near the Parc del Fòrum site. Primavera is also well known for showcasing smaller, more underground acts meaning that despite the ridiculously brilliant headliners, you should check out emerging sounds and discover new artists. Plus, sunshine is almost certainly guaranteed.

FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS: Swap your go-to sunscreen for La Roche-Posay's Daily Antioxidant Serum: two-in one, it will protect your skin (SPF 50) and also act like a primer, making life in Barcelona so much easier. 

TICKETS: From £150 here.

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