Be prepared - festival survival guide

OVER the last few years festivals have gone upmarket.

OVER the last few years festivals have gone upmarket. Jester hats - once the festival-goers uniform of choice - are virtually extinct. Instead, Cath Kidston floral prints are everywhere.

Latitude is part of a new breed of “boutique” (read: middle class) outdoor summer events. Usually held in stately homes and country parks (Latitude is at Hektor Rous' Henham estate), there's music, high-brow literary and theatre events, comedy, yurts, a spa, organic burgers and fruit smoothies on the village green.

Latitude is aimed squarely at the 30-plus festival-goer. Those who, perhaps, used to go to Glastonbury and Reading, are now married with families of their own, but still fancy letting their hair down a little bit - with somewhere safe for the children to play.

It may be “glamping” rather than camping, but, to make it a little bit rock and roll, the toilets are still terrible.

The good news is that there's less likely to be choruses of expletive shouting in the campsite at 3am.

But be warned - there may still be bongos. Take your earplugs.

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Latitude may be on the doorstep so you can pop home if you forget anything or if you don't fancy spending the whole weekend under canvas - but it's best to be prepared…

- What to wear: It's boring, but think practical and comfy. And be prepared for whatever the British summer may throw at you. Make sure you've got wellies, a waterproof and a sunhat. Make sure your shoes are flat - Latitude isn't the biggest festival site by a long shot, but you'll be surprised how much walking you'll do. Even if it's raining the daytime temperature shouldn't be too bad, but it can get chilly in the evenings, so make sure you take at least one jumper.

- What not to wear: Any clothes that you actually like. Latitude mud is nowhere near as bad as Glastonbury mud, which somehow gets everywhere and is impossible to remove from fabric and skin, but do not, under any circumstances, wear an £800 designer dress as suggested by one fashionista in a glossy magazine recently. And especially don't wear it with vertiginous high heels. East Anglia may be famously flat - but that doesn't extend to the rolling Henham estate. High heels plus the trek to the Obelisk arena could well equal a trip to the hospital tent with a twisted ankle. Or you could get the heel stuck in the grating in the toilet blocks - that wouldn't be a good look.

- Other essentials: Take sun cream, insect repellent (there were some very hungry buzzy things around last year), toilet roll (there should be some available, but it's best not to take a chance), and black bin bags come in incredibly handy - whether it's for their intended use or sitting on. A torch is a must, so you don't trip over guy ropes as you make your way back to your tent in the dark. Also take wet wipes and dry shampoo - the organisers have been trying to improve the shower facilities this year, but again, err on the side of caution.

- Think festival food is all greasy burgers and hot dogs? Think again - you can travel the world on your plate, and the emphasis is on organic. Last year there were some delicious veggie curries - and fruit smoothies to help festival goers feel vaguely healthy. But eating out at a festival isn't cheap, and the queues can be long, so consider taking a camping stove so you can make some meals, and that all-important first coffee of the day, yourself.

- It's stating the obvious, but don't leave anything of value in your tent.

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