Field of dreams

Thinking of going back to a music festival this summer? If you are, you'd better make sure to take these things into account

Peter Edgerton

Music festivals are back with a vengeance. This summer offers a veritable cornucopia of opportunities to stand in a field somewhere squinting into the middle distance.

As anyone who has ever partaken of this kind of shindig well knows, they can be something of a parson's egg - good in parts and, well, pretty awful too. To this end, I'd like to offer a music festival survivor's guide to facilitate maximum joy and keep uncontrollable weeping to a bare minimum.

First, be prepared. Take a big floppy hat - it doesn't matter if it makes you look like Mama Cass - even if you're a bloke - as shade is very often the second rarest thing available at festivals, after Portaloos.

Also take a couple of chocolate bars and a banana; smuggle them in in your big hat if you have to. Queues for food can circle the globe twice and your bank may not have had time to prepare the mortgage necessary for a burger and chips. If you forget your bananas and chocolate, you do have the option of going to the rice cake and kelp stall where there'll be no queue, obviously, but it does mean you'll be eating rice cake and kelp.

Next, prioritise. Plan your time around whichever act you most want to see and make sure you're there to see them at the appointed hour. It's all too easy to get distracted and caught up in the moment, and you may find yourself watching a hand puppet show when the whole point was to catch Rage Against The Machine.

Don't be swayed by strangers with eyes like saucers trying to convince you that the next big thing is the band playing six fields away in a tractor shed and that you must go with them. You'll never return.

Avoid anyone with a banjo at all times.

If you're staying overnight, pitch your tent early and near a stream. Avoid the Portaloos (but not as much as the banjos). Don't complain about the noise - it's a festival and they're supposed to be noisy. Take some wax earplugs if you must (but this would clearly beg the question why you didn't stay at home and watch it on the telly).

Dance as often as you can because it's good for the soul and don't worry about looking ridiculous because that ship sailed as soon as you bought the big hat.

Lastly, call everybody 'man', it's kind of obligatory. Enjoy yourself!