For most of us, music festivals mean basic camping – a cheap tent in a field. But an increasing number of more moneyed music lovers – who “roughed it” in the 1970s, 80s and 90s – are turning to more civilized accommodation – upgrading army surplus tents to “authentic” yurts and tipis, futuristic pods or “I’m-too-old-for-this-game” five-star hotels. Here are some of the options:
Tipi Boutique Camping leads the way with alternative accommodation. Check out the site at www.boutiquecamping.net for a range of quirky options – available at festivals including Bestival, Rock Ness and The Big Chill. A not-too-hefty £449 secures you use of a roomy four-person Native American tipi for Bestival’s three nights, while a large version – which sleeps ten – comes in at £919, or under £100 a head. All “boutique” campers have use of “high-standard” toilets and showers.
Pod Another big seller at Bestival is the “pod” – a small hut that boasts a lockable door, carpet, bed and most of the other comforts of a room. Use of a double or twin pod costs £399.50. Travelodge, the budget hotel giant, is manufacturing and trialling its own spacious Travelpods, which it aims to market at festivals up and down the country at prices close to its standard room rates.
Yurt Tangerine Fields, which rents out tipis and more standard tents, offers perhaps the comfiest form of alternative accommodation – the Central Asian yurt. A 16-foot, six-person luxury model costs around £900 for two nights. Yurts can be booked at a limited number of festivals. Contact the firm for details.
Caravan or campervan Hardly exotic, but potentially a comfy option. Glastonbury charges £50 for a caravan or campervan parking pass. Only certain kinds of vehicle are allowed. Check the rules with the festival organiser – for Glastonbury, here.
Hotel With day tickets on sale for most events, it is quite feasible to leave the filth of the festival behind each evening for a long soak in a hot bath, plus clean sheets and a rip-off mini-bar. Hotel rooms in close range of the biggest events do not come cheap and tend to be booked up months in advance. Consider looking further afield – so, Liverpool for Knowsley Hall, Valencia for Benicàssim etc.. Click here for a The Times guide to booking hotel rooms online.
If the very idea of spending hundreds on accommodation at festivals offends you, consider going. . .
Tentless This forum thread suggests that sleeping under the stars – i.e. tentless – still goes on at Glastonbury. Possibly an option – if you don’t mind being frozen, soaked or trampled. One cynical user suggests crashing the Hare Krishna tent, while other veterans talk of nights spent in Portaloos. Sleepinginairports.net may be of use to those travelling to Europe.