By Richard Yarrow.
Staying at a festival means turning up with a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food and drink. Add in the fact that it will probably be held in a rural or semi-rural location, and it means public transport is a non-starter. It’s your car or nothing.
Having one with a decent-sized boot is best, and a hatchback or estate body style is more practical than a saloon. People-carriers and off-roaders – what the car industry calls MPVs and SUVs respectively – are excellent because they’re practical and versatile. Something with four-wheel drive might be useful, as long wet grass in the car park can be tricky when it comes to traction.
Did you know many of today’s new cars have festival-friendly features? Fold-flat rear seats can increase interior space, while a chilled glovebox for perishable snacks is great. Better still is a 12-volt socket in the cargo area, so you can take a camping fridge and keep it powered up.
However, some vehicle manufacturers have gone the extra mile, with clever design to make visiting a festival that bit easier. Here’s our pick of the best:
Audi A4 Allroad
The great British weather means that even in the height of summer, mud is often part of the festival experience. The last thing you want is that all over your car’s upholstered interior. This Audi comes with a reversible boot liner, rubber-coated and wipe-clean on the one side. It even incorporates a fold-out section that can cover the car’s back bumper, providing a clean surface on which you can sit.
Price: from £32,765
For more information: www.audi.co.uk
So the really muddy stuff is safe in the boot, but the clothes you’re wearing won’t be as clean as they could be. The answer is zip-off washable seat covers, as featured on the Renault Captur. It also comes with a rear bench that cleverly slides forwards and backwards, allowing you to prioritise passenger legroom or luggage space.
Price: from £14,295
For more information: www.renault.co.uk
Citroen C4 Picasso
The most sensible thing to do with valuables is leave them at home. But that’s not always possible – you’ve got to put your house keys somewhere – so a secure place in the car is required. A lockable glovebox is okay but too obvious to thieves. Better by far is a storage compartment, hidden under the floor mats where the kids’ feet go. Citroen’s C4 Picasso and C4 Grand Picasso – with five and seven seats respectively – have this feature.
Priced: from £17,760
For more information: www.citroen.co.uk
Not everyone fancies sleeping in a tent at festival, and that’s understandable. There is an alternative, in the shape of what the Americans call an RV – recreational vehicle – or what we Brits generally refer to as a camper van.
Today there’s a range of vehicle sizes to suit every budget, and the larger ones, usually known as mobile homes, can easily accommodate four people.
Volkswagen pioneered the original Camper back in the Sixties and found popularity with the hippy movement of west coast America. The vehicle’s spiritual successor is the aptly named VW California, and it comes with all the creature comforts you could possibly need, including swivel chairs, a clever foldaway table and a 42-litre fridge. Cooking couldn’t be easier thanks to the two-ring hob and there’s even a sink for the washing up.
Priced: from £45,797
For more information: www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk