Geek Squad's festival smartphone survival guide
Festival season is almost here, with plenty of events taking place from now until well beyond the end of summer! If you've booked your tickets and are packing your tents in anticipation, we've prepared the perfect selection of apps to take with you on your smartphone.
Nowadays, festivals are much more high-tech affairs than they used to be – and although the old tricks like making a landmark flag to find your tent do still work, your smartphone can be your perfect festival buddy for a number of reasons!
Not only can it help keep track of where your tent is, it can also keep you up to date on everything from band timings to the weather – and can upload your festival photos to Instagram as soon as you take them.
Festivals aren't exactly the most phone-friendly of environments, though – so make sure you're prepared with some general tips:
- A full battery is a must, and a spare battery is even better if your phone supports that. Even though most festivals may have some charging stations available for a fee, you may be faced with long queues and slow charging times.
- Take advantage of your smartphone's power-saving features – such as turning down screen brightness, turning off Bluetooth and other unused connections and making use of a low-power mode or battery-saving mode.
- Invest in a sturdy case – especially if you're prone to dropping your phone or the odd bout of stage-diving while tipsy.
Then there's every festival-goers nemesis, the great British weather. If you're lucky to have a water-resistant phone you won't need to worry too much about torrential rain and big puddles. If not, there's a cheap and easy hack you can use: take a ziplock food bag to keep your phone safe and dry in your pocket!
Our pick of the best apps for festivals
Find My Tent
If you've lost your tent, can't find the toilets or are struggling to remember where you parked your car, you're not the first and you won't be the last festival-goer to encounter these problems. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of GPS-tagging apps out there that can save the coordinates of your campsite or the nearest portapotty and help you find them again when you're a little bit worse for wear.
Install the app, then when you're somewhere you want to find again later tap Save my tent and wait a few seconds while your location is saved. Later, tap Find my tent to get a Google Maps-powered route back to your landmark. What makes an app like this ideal is that you won't need much (if any) mobile data for it to work!
Find My Friends
We've already covered how to find your important landmarks, but what about finding your friends when they don't stay in the same place for very long? Find My Friends is an excellent tool to keep you in contact with your festival buddies, and shares your phone's GPS coordinates with your group so you'll always be able to find each other in a crowded field, even if you can't stand still for very long.
The Android version even lets you find those who don't have a smartphone, as long as they accept a text invite from you! Ideal for festival-goers who take a cheap phone instead of risking the loss of an expensive smartphone.
Victorinox Festival Ready
Free for iOS
If you like the idea of an app that pretty much covers all your needs, this could be the one. Fittingly, this all-in-one app is from Victorinox – the makers of Swiss Army Knife – and while broadly aimed at campers, it's full of features for any festival-goer, including:
- Packing checklists
- Camping tips
- Weather updates
- Emergency medical guide
- Sound flare
- Geotagging feature to help you find your friends or tent – and it’s free!
With this one app you should be fully prepared for your trip – and also be able to get your friends to come and rescue you if you've been AWOL on the waltzers for six hours.
Let’s face it: no festival experience is complete without the obligatory pictures of you - probably covered in mud and moshing with some Norwegian death metal fans who are now your new best mates.
Keep your friends back home up to date with this famous app, which lets you upload all your festival highlight images. The app also comes with some great effects and filters to make your friends just that little bit more envious.
No lighter? No problem! If you want to show your appreciation for the band on stage, Virtual Lighter has your back.
It's the perfect app for when the sun has set and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing "Under The Bridge" – but not so useful if someone needs an actual source of ignition.
Free for iOS
One of the biggest dilemmas for a festival-goer is what to pack: you don’t want to take everything including the kitchen sink (and waste valuable beer room), but you don’t want to get caught short either.
A packing list may not seem very rock and roll – but neither's running out of toilet paper. Choose Triplist for a simple way to keep track of all your camping essentials.
Getting stuck at a train or coach station while hauling pots and pans (and almost everything else you own) on your back certainly isn’t the best way to begin your festival experience. Surely there's a better way to travel?
Well, BlaBlaCar is a car-sharing app that could help you cut the cost – and stress – of travelling down to the festival site. You can even choose your fellow gig-goers based on their musical taste – so there won’t be any arguments about the choice of tunes on the way there!
When it comes to the weather, British festivals are notoriously unpredictable – switching from glorious sunshine to rain-lashed mudbath almost in an instant.
Traditional forecasts are all well and good, but Weather Underground goes much further – using data from over 180,000 personal weather stations to give you the most localised weather forecast you could hope for!
Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager
One thing you don't want to do is lose your phone – and if you do lose it, you're then faced with the prospect of scarabbling around in a muddy field in the pitch dark in a desperate attempt to find it.
We hope you never have to do this, but to be on the safe side make sure you've got either Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager switched on to give yourself a fighting chance of finding it should your phone go walkies.
Conveniently, you won't need to download anything: just activate them on your device, and you're set. Better still, our own Agent Cruickshank has put together a helpful guide that shows you exactly how, for both iOS and Android devices – check it out here, and you'll be (at least somewhat) protected if the worst should happen!
So, there you have it: everything you need to survive the festival season this summer. You can let us know your own festival survival tips in the comments section below. Have a good one!