Dean Quinn and Chris Barraclough check out the best mobile phone accessories and apps for surviving a festival in summer 2015, including cheapy temp phones, speakers and emergency chargers…
The time of year is nearly upon us when thousands of people the length and breadth of the country hastily fill rucksacks and retrieve flimsy tents from the garage in readiness for that mainstay of British Summertime; the music festival.
Traipsing for miles through acres of muddy farmland with all your worldly possessions strapped to your back like a refugee fleeing a warzone mightn’t be everyone’s idea of fun (especially when you’re asked to pay around £200 for the privilege), but there’s a certain allure to swigging cheap booze from a hipflask while your favourite bands play somewhere in the distance, beyond thousands of other revellers.
But there’s often a dilemma to be faced by festival-goers when it comes to deciding what gadgetry to risk taking. Smartphones, tablets and associated peripherals are useful for finding out where you are, who’s playing on what stage and those all-important social media updates, but are also generally quite expensive, and the last thing you want is seeing your treasured tech trinket trampled underfoot or stolen by undesirables.
Fear not though, as we’ve made it easy for you to decide what to take with you and what to leave at home with our handy rundown of festival mobile essentials…
Step one: Get a cheapy temporary phone
Got a brand-spanking new HTC One (M9) or Samsung Galaxy S6? Perhaps you’re a member of the iPhone 6-toting masses? Whichever it is, there’s a good chance that you’re apprehensive about taking your expensive tech to a drunken weekend in a field full of strangers. And rightly so. Hence we recommend buying a cheapy secondary phone to use while you’re away.
You can grab quite a few sub-£100 devices that run Android or Windows Phone, so you won’t be without all of your usual apps and features. We highly recommend the Lumia 640 or the original Motorola Moto E, both of which offer excellent value for money.
Step two: Sort out your sound system
We’ve all been there. You get back to your tent after a day’s debauchery watching bands and just want to chill out but there’s a beardy man lingering nearby and he’s got his acoustic guitar out. Even worse, he’s murdering a bunch of bloody Mumford & Sons tunes. Action must be taken to blot this aural assault out (if you don’t fancy an assault charge for smashing that guitar over his smug, hairy bonce).
The answer is hooking up an external speaker to your phone and countering with your own tunes.. If you’re particularly clumsy/partial to a drink or seven, we recommend the ThumbsUpUk’s Bluetooth Splash Speaker. It’s compact, beer resistant, offers crystal clear sound quality and lasts for 4hrs from one charge.
Check out our full Best Bluetooth Speaker Round-Up for more ideas.
Step three: Stay charged
Running out of battery is bad enough when you’re mooching around Tesco trying to keep up to date with how your team is going on. It’s a proper kick in the downstairs area when you’re trapped in a field hundreds of miles from home and you’ve lost all your friends.
The answer is to pack a portable phone charger. There are plenty on the market and EE has even started offering customers a free Power Bar, which you can obtain with a simple text.
We also recommend the iWalk Universal 1000 Duo – a stylish and functional 1000mAh unit with two USB ports and 2.1A rapid charging port for tablets. There’s even an emergency flashlight on it so you don’t have to scurry around in the dark when your smarphone screen finally splutters out through lack of juice.
Step four: Essential apps
Not only is Disco Light LED Flashlight (Android, free) a rather funky way of seeing your way through the carnage to the portaloos late at night, it also helps you to throw a hell of a party in your tiny two-man tent. There’s a seizure-baiting strobe mode, police lights mode, and even a glowstick mode that flashes when you boogie, for proper rave action.
Take heed of this sage advice and you should be ok throughout your summer of music-fuelled hedonism. Failing that, you could always just buy a program to see who’s on which stage and when, cut the strings on any acoustic guitars you might see lying around and keep your pals tethered to you at all times using an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys…