As a 20-something grandma, I visited Reading Festival on a day ticket and then stayed in a hotel. The original plan was to travel to and from Reading via train – that was until they released the set times four days before the festival and our return train time meant we missed Muse completely – so we went for plan b. Here are my top tips for visiting the festival as a day ticket holder.
Disclaimer: This post was originally written in 2017, some details may have changed in recent years. This article may contain affiliate links, click here for more information.
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Plan your transport to Reading festival in advance
Although I’ve only ever travelled to Reading Festival via train, they do offer car park solutions and a coach service. Personally I think the train is far better, it eliminates the traffic trying to exit the city – and let’s be honest are you really in a fit state to drive? The train and coach services sell out FAST! So at the very least I recommend booking your outbound journey as far in advance as possible.
If you choose to purchase your return tickets on the day and find there is a massive queue, it’s far quicker to purchase the tickets on your phone and then use the self-service machine – something to bear in mind when being constantly whacked with rucksacks and camping mats.
Take a water bottle
One of the great things about Reading Festival is that they provide water stations to refill water bottles, so why spend £2.50 on a bottle of water when you can refill for free!
While they say you’re supposed to empty your bottle before entering the arena, no one actually cared so don’t trouble yourself with emptying it until they actually tell you to do so – save yourself the toilet break.
Don’t waste your money on a taxi
The festival ground is no more than 15 minutes walk from the train station, so don’t bother paying £5 for a taxi or shuttle – just walk it! You don’t even need directions, just follow the crowd.
There are cash machines dotted around the site, I don’t know if they charge, but save yourself the trouble and take cash out before you arrive. (This was first written in 2017, it’s likely vendors will now accept card)
Collect Your Cups
As part of a recycling scheme, each paper cup is worth 10p, so it’s likely you’ll see people walking round collecting them. Keep a close eye on your cups if you’re planning to redeem them as people will just come along and snatch them away if they’re lying around. You’ll need to redeem them at the cup return point and not the bar.
Security is pretty lax
After publicising their security so heavily in the run up to the festival, it actually made me quite angry when we arrived and there we no bag searches, body searches or even anyone to give a flying fuck as we entered – something to bear in mind if you’re smuggling in food or alcohol but it’s up to you to take the chance. Given the high security threat RN I’d like more consideration for my safety please.
Hugs not drugs
So this is something I think anyone needs to be aware of, and that’s that 80% of the festival goers will be HIGH (estimated through observation). It isn’t exactly difficult to get drugs in so it’s inevitable that there will be a lot of high people.
If you haven’t been exposed to drug use before, my only advice is to just keep an open mind – I personally hate all matter of pill-popping – but I respect the decision of those that choose to. Once you just accept that it’s going to happen, you’ll have a far better time without concerning yourself with those around you.
In hindsight, Reading should consider hosting drug testing stations – this could have prevented the death of a 17 year old boy even though his death is still “unexplained.”
Watch the mosh pits
So you’ve managed to squeeze into a fantastic front of stage spot? Beware – mosh pits are imminent!
On a second note, you’re at a festival and you’re packed in like sardines. While there are some absolute douchebags around, just accept that there’s going to be a lot of pushing and shoving and shoulder sitting. I watched a few people storm off because they couldn’t handle the surroundings. Again, accept that it’s going to happen, you’re all there to have a good time, and brush it off.