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Belladrum survival guide: Top tips on surviving the festival

By Imogen James

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Belladrum as it was in 2019.
Belladrum as it was in 2019.

BELLADRUM returns this week for the first time since 2019, and I know I'm excited.

The local festival has been a highlight of the year for me since I first went in 2013 as a young girl.

I have been every year since, and have truly missed it these past few years.

Being a bit of a seasoned Bella goer, I have put together a handy guide of my best tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of this wonderful event!

Packing and arriving

I'm guilty of being an overpacker, but I like to be prepared!

Things you will need:

1. Toilet roll - trust me on this one. You'll thank me on day two when the toilets have run out on day two.

My first belladrum in 2013, sunny, regretted the footwear choice.
My first belladrum in 2013, sunny, regretted the footwear choice.

2. Good footwear - comfy and practical is always key! I wore wellies once which were painful and unnecessary. Take a pair of sturdy boots or trainers and you will be fine. Lots of socks too.

3. Waterproof jacket - yes, it is not the most fashionable but yes, it probably will rain.

4. Arrive sooner rather than later - go on Thursday morning. You want to make sure you don't end up camping on a slope (been there, not fun) and don't get separated if there is a big group of you pitching together. Plus, Thursday has a great line-up not to be missed.

5. Plasters - for the inevitable blisters if you don't listen to tip number 2!

6. Set up a meeting point - you will probably lose someone at some point, and with phone chargers scarce, may not be able to get them over text. We usually allocate the big heart at the main stage or the ferris wheel as our place to go.

The ferris wheel. Picture: Gary Anthony
The ferris wheel. Picture: Gary Anthony

7. Glitter - biodegradable of course, but bring it! It's a great way to spice up an outfit and make friends, you can glitter them up too.

Food and Drink

1. Pack snacks - there will be times when you don't want to pay £6 for chips. Make sure you have crisps, cereal bars, whatever takes your fancy, so you can have a bite in the tent.

2. Explore your options - there are so many vendors to choose from, don't be boring and get a cheeseburger every day. My personal favourite is the burrito stand!

Things to do

Belladrum has it all, from comedy, poetry and big name bands. However, don't let the famous ones cloud your judgment!

Our DIY logo with sharpie! Mistake.
Our DIY logo with sharpie! Mistake.

1. Explore - Belladrum is massive, it has so much going on. Instead of sitting in your tent, go for a wander and see what you can find. I loved stumbling across a flea market in 2016.

2. Try new music - I love just stepping in to random stages and listening. I found one of my favourite bands, Retro Video Club, by doing exactly that.

3. Take photos and videos - you want to remember the weekend! I love looking back at all the things I have seen over the years.

4. Thursday - over the years, more has happened on the Thursday but it's always been overlooked. One of my favourite nights, it's a great time to get your bearings, take in a ceilidh and ABBA tribute band and meet camping neighbours.

5. Watch the fireworks - my favourite and bittersweet memory of every year is sitting and watching the finale fireworks in a field with my best friends.

Remember to take pictures! This was me and a friend in 2018.
Remember to take pictures! This was me and a friend in 2018.

And finally... enjoy yourself! People have waited years for the grand return of Belladrum. Soak it in.

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