Essentials for a Winter Festival

For those who’ve been keeping up to date with us here at Licklist you’ll know we’ve been covering some of the best winter festivals that money can buy. Though the wondrous Rise Festival is now but a distant memory fear not, as 2016 still has a wintery few surprise up its sleeve.

Though it seems ages away now in just two months time both Snowboxx and Horizon will be kicking off for a week of insane music, entertainment and winter sports. Snowboxx will take place in Avoriaz, which is just two hours from Geneva airport and thanks to the lovely organizers they’ve made it incredibly easy to get there. Horizon will be held at Bansko, one of Bulgaria’s finest ski resorts and is also very easy to get to. With four possible airports to choose from, each with transfers to and from the festival it’d be hard not to make it.

If March doesn’t work for you then starting from April 6th is Snowbombing, which we covered last year. They’ve got a crazy line up this year and the sheer amount of things you can get up to will keep you entertained all week long.

So if you’ve swagged yourselves a ticket for one of these or another winter festival you might be a little unsure what you need. Never fear, we’ve got you covered but first there’s something more important, what you shouldn’t take.

Festivals in general are not known for their love of technology, the toilets alone are proof of this. So ditch the iPad, the laptop and for the really careful ones out there the smart phone too. Yeah there’ll be a few Snapchat opportunities missed but you’ll still have your phone when you come home. Disposable cameras are an affordable alternative and a much funnier way of documenting a trip away and you won’t have the vain one in the group grumbling at the photo and asking to take it again for the tenth time. As for the lack of an actual phone cheap and cheerful mobiles are now at the £10 mark so there’s no reason to go without a means of staying in contact. If however you want to take one or more of these things don’t forget a travel adapter.

Now we move on to the essentials for any winter festival. We’ll start with the basics because they most often the easily forgotten things to pack. Passport, European Health Card (if you don’t have one they are free so apply before leaving), the correct currency for your destination, travel documents, hotel reservations and last but not least your tickets for the fest!

Right, so that’s the boring stuff out of the way, you know you’ll be getting there without any issues…hopefully. Let’s crack open the suitcase (pop an I.D. tag on it to be safe) and start filling it with everything you’ll need. First is the beer bong funnel, it’s compact and most probably going to be the most used item you bring. Let’s add a deck of cards to that as well, you’ll thank us later.

As long as you don’t put them in your carry-on you can take booze with you too. Each passenger is allowed to take up to five-litres of alcohol between 24% and 70% proof so if you’re going in a big group that’s more than enough to keep you stocked for the week. All liquids must be in a sealable bottle or flask and if it’s fragile wrap it in bubble wrap/clothes or both, no one wants to be picking glass out of their rum soaked clothes at the start of a festival.

It may come as a surprise but the next important thing is sun cream and lip balm. When you’re that high above sea level with the sun blaring off the snow it’s the frostiest tanning bed you ever saw and the wind chill alone will tear you lips to shreds if you’re not prepared. Similarly you’ll want a scarf or balaclava to fight the cold and add a little extra protection whilst on the slopes as well as some sunglasses for when you’re out and about exploring.  

Next is your Ski gear otherwise you’re going to be left looking a right mug sinking a lonely Jaeger whilst your friends cruise the slopes. Most of what you need is available to hire from the resort but if you start looking well in advance you can pick up everything you need on the cheap. We should mention that goggles are very rarely available to hire so make sure to buy a pair. For those that want to follow the hiring route we would recommend buying your own pair of snow boots as they are a multipurpose investment.

When you’re not hitting the slopes you’ll want to have a lot of layers packed so you can easily put on/take off clothes and stay at a good temperature. Make sure not to overdo it otherwise you’ll incur a dreaded charge at the airport. If the particularly resort you’re heading to is going to be extremely cold you’d be wise to invest in some thermals too. More than anything pack socks, just lots and lots of socks.

Finally there are just some little things to pack away. A small first aid kit doesn’t take up much room but could make the difference should you or a friend get in a spot of bother. We’d also suggest a wash bag with some toiletries to tide you over for the festival, as they’ll be expensive on site. Chuck some ibuprofen and berocca in there too for the inevitable headaches and hangovers. If you’ve got room take a small backpack for holding water, hip flask (for keeping warm of course) snacks and emergency items when you’re out, it’ll save you a lot of hassle.


There you have it, our definitive guide to heading to a winter festival with everything you could ever need…mainly socks, lots and lots of socks.


By Chris Mackin