We have the best job in the world!
About 15 years ago I managed to turn my love for festivals and camping into a real life job! Fast forward to 2019 and we, my family of 6 , are still here travelling the UK every summer, working at festival after festival with scores of incredible creative and wonderful people. ( Libby 21, Grace 19, William 13 and Kitty 5)
But this blog post isn’t about our fab summer lifestyle, it’s about how we managed to maintain this lifestyle, in a field without power and still managing to keep our boy ( and husband and adult girl) cool this year at one of the hottest Glastonbury’s on record.
Out of the six people in our family we have three with Ed. My husband, my 19 year old daughter (who doesn’t struggle as much as the boys) and our 13 year old son William. This post talks more about keeping William cool as he is the one that struggles the most, however the rest of the team use all the facilities too.
If you don’t know what ED is you can read about it here
This is how I kept my family cool at one of the hottest Glastonbury’s on record!
We are privileged to work in the Green Crafts field at the festival and this means we all live and work without tapping into any electric and having to fetch and carry water as we need it.
Glastonbury is first and is very much the most important part of our summer…We arrive on site the week before the festival and our home is our vintage caravan Molly and her awning.
Molly The Caravan
Molly does have the ability to hook up to the mains but it’s not an option for us when we are at festivals.. its back to basics! So we have created a caravan that completely runs off grid….are you ready?
Firstly Mr O rigged up two sets of solar panels on Mollys roof.
At this point it’s worth mentioning Molly only cost us £400 and is 20 years old. We chose something of this age so we could adapt her and ‘knock her about’ a bit without feeling we were damaging her value.
The solar panels sit on her roof and are rigged up to two outlets inside the living area. We chose to use usb hubs as they hardly take any ‘juice’ and it’s surprising how many helpful items run from a usb!
From the USB ports we can charge our phones but can also run a few other helpful items.
These fans are from amazon and cost us about £17 each. They are small, about the diameter of a cantaloupe melon, but they really do blow a decent amount of air!
They have a clip on the back which allows us to move around the caravan depending where we need the breeze.
We also worked out if you charge up a phone charging power bank you can take the fans out with your where ever you go.. power bank in pocket and fan clipped on to your clothing.. Kitty did this most days and was the envy of the festival!
We can also run a cool box from a usb!!! Now this was a little expensive at £160 but it cools on the usb to fridge temp and is a good size.
We do have a fridge that runs on gas in the caravan, so tend to use the cool box for drinks and (wait for it) cooling towels!!! Very important kit!
We travel to the festival with the cool box full of ice. We have an ice maker in the fridge at home which we empty, but bags of ice are a pound from the supermarket.
As we travel from Yorkshire to Somerset we tend to split the journey by staying overnight somewhere halfway.. the ice in the coolbox melts a bit during the journey but keeps our drinks nice and cold. By the time we arrive on site and plug in the box, we have a box half full of ice cold water which we use to soak four or five hand towels.
We just put them in the water and let them soak up the water and keep them there ready.
We often unplug the box over night and find the cool box keeps everything cold until morning.
Wringing out the towels and placing around shoulders is a quick way to cool down and as a woman of a certain age, I find this useful too!
We always take a tin bath with us too.. not a ‘step toe and son’ adult sized one but a beer cooler/baby bath type sized one. They are quite fashionable at the moment and you can pick them up all over.
Ours is from a junk shop and it comes everywhere with us. We use it for strip washing in (we are on site 10 days! Needs must) for washing clothes in, bathing the kids in and for filling with cold water and putting feet in!
This is an incredibly quick way to cool you down and for a child (and his dad) is something quick and easy we can do.
Another tip for keeping cool on a night (we only do this on the odd day that the British summer delivers a VERY hot night) is to dampen a flat sheet. Wring it out fully ( one on each edge as you twist) and use it on your bed as normal. Don’t lay on top of it directly on your mattress or you’ll soak your mattress. Drying a mattress in a field just doesn’t happen! .. so just place the sheet over your body at any time of the day and voila!
Now all these things are great at cooling you down individually, depending on how hot you are you can choose what’s best for you.
PUTTING INTO PRACTISE
But we had a moment at Glastonbury where our boy overheated! Not just felt hot but really started to become ill. His legs went and he was sick, seeing double and generally falling very ill. Because we had all these things ready to hand we had him wrapped in damp towels, feet in a bucket with fans on his face and within moments he was back with us.
I know for a lot of ED families, camping and festivals feel like too much trouble.. but it doesn’t have to be.
I know we have done a lot of prep and it may seem over-kill to create an ED friendly caravan!.. but remember we are on the road without power for weeks on end so it makes sense to have all the facilities we can. We aren’t just on holiday on a nice campsite but we are working in a field with nothing but grass and a shared tap.
Al this aside some of these things you can still do.. you don’t have to have a ‘Molly’ to have solar power!! you can get fold-out solar panels and leisure batteries to use in a tent too. They give you enough power to run the fans and cool box … just having cold wet towels can make a huge difference! so don’t be afraid to look into it.. this is an exciting time for renewable energy.. and that means its a great time to explore the possibilities that brings.
So thats how we prepared top keep cool at Glastonbury read here to find out about how to keep cool in and around the festival!