How To Eat Well at Music Festivals
We’ve reached that time of year again folks, when hundreds of thousands of people across the land venture to the shed to retrieve mud-flecked backpacks and sleeping bags in readiness to spend two days somewhere in a field in Hampshire watching bands, drinking, dancing, and indulging in other general hedonism.
Yes, we’re of course talking about British festival season – that 8-week stint in the middle of summer where music lovers decamp en masse to far-flung locations across this green and pleasant land to have a good time. If you’re one of them and you’re planning your annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury/Isle of White/Download/Creamfields/Bestival (delete as applicable) then read on as we’ve some useful advice on how to eat well during your time as a festival-goer this summer.
You can take it with you
Camping is a big part of the whole festival experience but once you’ve arrived and got your tent pitched, it’s often easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to eat properly during your first day on site.
The great thing about camping though is that it gives you the opportunity to bring your own food supplies and maintain a degree of control over your diet for the two or three days you’re marooned in a muddy field.
Before heading off to your chosen festival make sure you load up with fresh fruit, cereal bars, and low-fat yoghurt.These foods will keep (you might want to put the yoghurt in a coolbox though) and ensure that you have at some healthy options to power you along for at least the first day or so.
If you’re taking a portable camping stove then another neat trick is to prepare a large pot-meal such as chilli or stew at home before you head off (Tower Slow Cookers are great for this!). That way, you can reheat it on the stove upon arrival and eat with bread on your first night, mopping up the leftovers for lunch the next day!
Play it cool
The coolbox is the festival-goers best friend. Not only do they keep refreshing beverages ice cold, they also prevent the small amounts of food you can realistically take with you fresh for human consumption. For a little while at least.
If you’re taking one with you, avoid the temptation just to stuff it full of booze and make some room for sustenance-giving foodstuffs. Things like premade chicken wraps, salads, cold meats, couscous, hotdogs and even chocolate bars can be stored in here and will stay fresh for a good few days.
Whilst it’s tempting to fill your coolbox with ice cubes it should be avoided if you’re using it to keep food in. If you’ve got the space and manpower, then take two coolboxes – one filled with loose ice cubes (check out the Tower Ice Maker, folks) for keeping beers cold, and one filled with frozen 500ml bottles of water to keep food cool. These melt a lot slower than ice cubes and using them means that you’ll not have water sloshing around the bottom of your coolbox, making your food soggy. Plus, once the water bottles have melted you’ll have some nice, icy cold water to drink!
If you’re too wrapped up in the occasion to prepare food ahead of your trip or can’t be bothered with the rigmarole of making meals on site, you have two options; queue up and pay over the odds for festival fare from food stalls, or load your backpack with food that doesn’t require cooking and can be eaten pretty much straight from the pack.
Pasta, rice and instant noodles can be easily rustled up by adding boiling water, which you can either buy from catering outlets or heat up your melted bottled water via a camping stove. If you chose the latter you’ll need a space saving saucepan like the those in the Tower Connect range.
Similarly, cured meats like salami and pepperoni, dry-cured smoked meats, and tinned tuna don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten straight from the packaging should you so wish. We’d advise using them as sandwich fillings though – the carbs will help with energy and you’ll avoid looking like a savage. Cheeses can be munched on whilst on the move – Babybel and Cheesestrings are a particular favorite of seasoned festival veterans – and probiotic yoghurt drinks provide refreshment and give your gut a helping hand dealing with the onslaught of booze.
Drink it all in
Festivals provide a dizzying cocktail of sights and sounds and the atmosphere alone can be quite intoxicating. Most of the intoxication however will be self-administered as revelers get in to the swing of things and have a nice relaxing drink or seven.
There’s no shame in letting loose and enjoying a few alcoholic beverages but make sure you don’t overdo it as you’ll want to remember the great bands you’ve shelled out to see and enjoy the whole experience. The key to sensible festival drinking is to eat well and stay hydrated.
That old adage about lining your stomach before a drinking session is somewhat of a myth – you’ll still get drunk if you consume huge amounts of alcohol no matter how much you eat beforehand. However, having a hearty meal will slow down the alcohol entering your bloodstream and loading up on carbs will provide slow-release energy to keep you going for longer.
The only real way to avoid getting trollied is to not drink at all, but if that’s not an option you should pace yourself and intersperse alcoholic drinks with plenty of water. Doing this helps prevent heat exhaustion and hangovers.
Sports drinks are ok but are loaded with sugar and won’t really quench your thirst. Coconut water is a better bet because it’s less sugary and loaded with electrolytes, making it an effective hangover-cure.
Follow our advice and your festival experience should go without hitch (unless of course you happen to find yourself camping next to an idiot who insists on playing an acoustic guitar until 4am whilst you’re trying to get some sleep).
If you are going to one of the many festivals this summer and try your hand at campsite cooking, tweet your photos @TowerHousewares using #TowerFestFood and we’ll share the best ones with our followers. Happy camping!