How to pull at festivals

Our guide to finding love in the fields

How to pull at festivals

Photographer: Shab NotghiDaniel Fahey, Shelley Jones on 22 February 2009

Mud. Dirt. No shower. No mirror. Rain. Hangover. Still drunk. Waterproofs. Burger van. Cider. Smokes. No sleep.

Does this sound like your idea of a perfect date? Probably not. But many people have fallen in love at festivals, had a fest-fling or a tent night stand. There is something about the communal spirit, live music from your favourite artist and the forgiving hue of beer goggles that makes the experience romantic. Here are some pulling tips for festivals…

The dos and don'ts for girls:

Do
Stay until the last night, even if there are no more bands playing. People will abandon almost anything to ease the journey home including tents, blow-up mattresses, parasols, clothes, lighting, booze and barbecues. Make a love den out of camping paraphernalia and have a party. As the sun sets on your last day of hedonism, emotions will be running high and love may blossom over that last can of Strongbow.

Make friends with people in the crowd. You're probably going to be pressed up against their sweaty bodies for a good hour, so familiarise yourself with the painted faces and screaming voices. Just behind that old fat guy might be the man of your dreams. Make sure it's you he hugs when the best song hits the sound waves.

Take dry shampoo. A fresh looking barnet will give you a heads up over other greasy madams. It's not always easy to have a shower, sometimes impossible, but baby wipes, deodorant, dry shampoo and some make-up may just give the off the impression of hygiene.

Don't
Go up to your favourite band after the confidence instilled by a few drinks and try to flirt by telling them how good they were and how “deeply” you understand their artistic direction. You will sound like a sycophantic pervert.

Share a tent if you're planning on a wild one. There's nothing glamorous about doing the deed in a portaloo and joining the "mile-deep in excrement" club. Also, they may be your best mates, but bringing a guy back to your shared tent isn't exactly what was meant when you agreed to share everything this trip.

Eat space cakes, drink snakebite and then go on the pull. You may think you’re banter is the wittiest, most ironic, pseudo-trashy rhetoric since Perez but you’ve been talking about that “cat-dog” you saw for an hour; and nobody knows what the hell you're on about.

And here are a few for the lads…

Do
Share and share alike. That bottle of tequila you've sneaked in beneath your sweaty crotch isn't just for you and your beer buddies – give the nearest girl a swig and welcome her and her mates to join you while your crass pal Jon eats the worm at the bottom of the bottle.

Make the effort. With the girls doing their best to look like Kate Moss, you've got to try and appear as fresh cut as their favourite rock star. They're not going to be seen with the mud-caked loser who, over an hour ago, thought it would be funny to be the first to jump into the brown bog. Skinny jeans are durable enough for a weekend, but take some spare t-shirts and make sure you use the baby wipes that your mum made you take to clean your pits and bits.

Pack condoms. If you are going to be making music of your own over the weekend, it's best to be prepared. It's also important to pick a decent spot for your headline performance - the woods or back at your car – tents aren’t the best for disguising noise and, in the morning light, shadows on the canvas leave very little to the imagination.

Compromise. Even if you, like many perturbed radio listeners, still don't get the appeal of Kaiser Chiefs, it doesn't mean the girl you snogged at The Cribs isn’t their biggest fan. Stick out a 40-minute set that for a chance of a roll among tent guide ropes afterwards. On second thoughts, if she likes the Kaisers, ditch her.

Don't

Have bad breath. Your luck may've been in when she missed your greasy hair; maybe it was too dark to see your hangover acne, but do you really think she won’t notice the halitosis as you lean in and shout above the noise of the Pyramid stage? Brush your teeth, pack a mini mouthwash and always carry chewing gum.

Be a gobshite. Not even your mates want to hear about the time you saw Pete Doherty walking along Whitechapel High Street, because even they don’t believe that it was him. So why would a girl you’ve just met want to hear it too? If your going to lie you may as well pretend that by day you're an astronaut.

Let her see where you're camping. Festivals are easy places to lose people and unless you think she might be the one, always go back to her tent. Many a girl can seem beautiful and witty during the euphoria of a headline set, but she may not be so appealing as she snores off the remainder of her Smirnoff Ice binge. Do a runner and (hopefully) you won’t bump into her again…

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