Top Ten Festival Buys Published in TNT Magazine

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Summer has arrived, and with it a myriad of muddy festivals. There are some things you simply can’t turn up without – think wellies and dry hair spray. And then there are others that can leave at home in your bathroom like towels, and a hairdryer. Here Erica Crompton rounds up her top five festival buys…

Travel Perfume
Oh boy can it get smelly in festivals! You may recall an insane lack of toilet tissue, and no space for a shower other than your friend shaking a can of Carling open, over your head. Freshen up morning and night with a budget and travel friendly version of Molecule 01 fragrance from Escentric Molecules. It blends with your natural pheromones to create an individual scent that is unique to you – helping your lost mates spot where you are a mile off. £27, cultbeauty.co.uk

Dry Hair Spray
With Mark Hill’s new Big Night Out range you’ll never need to resort to pulling all your hair up in your hat. For festivals try Dirty Little Stop Out! Volumising Dry Shampoo which will zap greasy roots without having to wash, shampoo and condition. All you need to worry about, is what colour you do your hair now. Pink? Green? Or maybe a “hairs stood on their ends after a night of electro punk” do? From £6.29 for 200ml at Boots.com

Umbrella Hat
Whacky wear works at festivals and will win you points with your friends for providing a talking paint around the campfire. With so many beards, facial tattoos and sometimes even stilts and Penny Farthings to compete with, I say go for broke! Try a novelty umbrella hat that operates like a bright idea bulb hovering over your head – it’ll keep rain at bay and your now coiffured hair intact, too. £3.12 from novelties-direct.co.uk

Wellies

My cherry red Hunter wellies work well for every sundress I own – yes, the lace, floral, nautical and even tribal smocks. They also look great with jeans and, if I was Kate Moss, hotpants. The hardest part of my purchasing these this spring is not succumbing to Hipsterville and wearing them on the High Street. Try the tall red classics for a modern stamp in the mud! Buy today for a reduced price of £74.99 at cloggs.co.uk

Sleeping Bag Onesie
Your camping partner will never be able to nick the sleeping bag again with a sleeping bag onesie. Keep the warmth to yourself and cosy up with a SelkBag Classic Sleep Suit in a selection of “Get off my duvet!” primary colours. You can run around in it all night and, because it’s built for the outdoors, it willl keep you warm. Features include extra leg ventilation to keep you cool at night, an insulated collar and cord lock for extra warmth and even a little check storage pocket so that you can literally keep your valuables close to your heart. Priced at £98.99 from planetcamping.co.uk

Read more: Top five festival buys – TNT Magazine

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Nineties Nostaglia at Stafford’s Swoon

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It’s 11pm and a swarm of neon yellow-jackets are manning the door to Stafford’s Couture night club. They could be having a party of their own. But as myself and my partner reach the doors, it’s clear tonight’s party is the reserve of Lyrca, hairspray and 40-something men in red tartan pants. Yes, it’s as compelling as it sounds – we’re  here reliving our youth.

Tonight at Couture it’s the 1st anniversary of Swoon, and Roger Sanchez is headlining. Swoon, in its heyday some twenty years ago was a haven for high-heels and discernible yoots. Friday nights saw revellers travelling from the far reaches of the UK for a glimpse Boy George et al spinning a set of pounding yet euphoric house music.

Swoon back then, was awarded Mixmag’s best Friday night in the country and filmed for Channel 4 BPM show. Regulars saw it as a mecca for friendly faces, feather bowers, and flights of fancy with the girl next door.

Today Swoon nights at Couture are part of a series of reunions, very much in tune with the zeitgeist for all things nineties (and yes, I keep a scrunchy in my jacket pocket tonight for when it all gets too sweaty). The familiar DJs are back behind the decks to aid us clubbers in stepping back in time. And it is as magical as it sounds.

There are two rooms in the club and the main room fills quickly, by 10.30pm. The second room downstairs, is more of a chill out space. A heavy haze from the smoke machine fills a near-empty dancefloor – not a melting clubber gurning in sight!

Rested downstairs, we venture back up to the main room and it’s clear why this is the drawcord of the night with what we used to call “anthems” or “toons” being played back to back to an audience with their hands reaching for a ceiling that’s almost entirely eclipsed with a glitter ball. No finer point can be put on how friendly the crowd are – some faces are clearly recognisable, others not so much. But all of them adorning smiles. People spotting and garb dissemination are all part of the fun (Where did you get that dress from?)

These nights at Swoon are memories to be cherished and the reunions are no different. As the lurid green laser beams of good times swoop across the dance floor in my final moments of the evening, we have world class DJs and a vibe that tailgates the Madchester era right here in the Midlands. Then and now, putting Stafford on the map and defying the expensive Virgin train to an even more expensive London as the sole route of a really great night out (and the only place to find the lesser-spotted red tartan pants and their happy inhabitants).

Swoon nights are held at Couture, Stafford, just a stone’s throw from the train station (and a kebab shop!) The next reunion is on 31st July with Jon Pleased Wimmin, Allister Whitehead, headlining. Tickets in advance, from £15. For more information visit www.facebook.com/swoonfanpage.

Published in Fused.