It’s the same every year. There comes that time in summer, the festival season, where we throw caution to the wind and some might say all morals are forgotten. And it’s brilliant; we love it. The long summer nights watching our favourite bands strum tunes that tug at our heartstrings, seated around campfires cooking our own food and enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two without fear. In print, this sounds ideal. In reality, it’s not quite so innocent to survive a music festival.
A music festival isn’t just a music festival. It’s a hot spot for teens and young adults alike to achieve their first, or last, sense of freedom; a multitude of raging hormones increased by the excitement of independence and the constant ‘boom boom thump’ of amplifiers that seems almost harmonic by time of departure.
Indeed, when there, we feel we could happily adopt the festival culture permanently; the exhilaration of self responsibility and lack of constraints, around many others who share the same passion for music is certainly alluring. However, this feeling of elation could easily be snatched away if you don’t take precautions and stay safe. Yes, we all like a little risk, however is it worth ruining your festival weekend for?
Look after your valuables
As obvious as it seems, it’s amazing the amount of basic safety measures festival goers forget to take. Understandably, you don’t want to be worrying about your valuables constantly, however take one safety precaution: keep them on you at all times.
Ladies, those bras work wonders as a safe extra storage space! And lads, deep pockets with zips – admittedly not the trendiest clothing style however who cares about fashion at a festival? Likewise, duct tape over pockets can work miracles in ensuring safety.
Leaving your iPhone or purse/wallet at camp doesn’t mean it’s destined to be stolen, however it seems just that little more practical to avoid the situation of ending up penniless and gadgetless thinking “If only”. Not ideal! Possibly not bring them at all – I’m talking iPods and cameras.
Phones, on the other hand, are vital, however maybe leave your iPhone at home and fish out the old Nokia 3410 or some similar classic ‘brick’. Seriously, all you need is a device to make calls and texts, not to view the ‘app for making cocktails’. Be cheap and stay safe to survive a music festival.
Similarly, disposable cameras, although no longer technologically advanced, are fantastic for a place like a festival. They’re inexpensive, and so unlikely to be stolen, and also mean you’ll forever have physical photographs of your wild time away. Nice, huh? Of course, it’s relatively unlikely your valuables will get lost or stolen, however it’s worth taking the precautions to enhance their security.
Don’t pack for a fashion show
It’s that all too familiar situation, the packing situation. You’re stood there, gazing into the wardrobe, unable to choose between a light-grey or charcoal-grey tee and consequently delicately drop both into the suitcase. We seem to like being indecisive. However pack light, for comfort and for the weather. Forget your LBD or Lyle and Scott, a comfy pair of leggings or trackies will serve you like royalty at a festival from morning till night.
Exhibit A: “I took enough outfits for a two week holiday”, one festival goer admitted, “But ended up pretty much living in the same clothes for four days”. It’s not ‘skanky’; it’s practical. Be prepared for rain or shine. We’ve all experienced that undesirable situation of feeling downright idiotic when wearing beachwear during torrential rain and unwillingly possessing a nose redder than Rudolph’s, or regretting putting on that thick black top during an unsuspected heat-wave and consequently sweating profusely from all outlets. Lovely.
In addition to clothing, think footwear. Although the sun may be blazing, a festival is not for flip-flops. There’ll be barely a person in sight not wearing wellies, due to the vast amounts of slushy mud on the tracks that impressively appear after a mere few hours.
As amusing as the image of someone slipping tragically (though painlessly), or walking like Bambi on ice may seem, don’t let yourself be that disaster. Be prepared for extremes: take sun cream and sunglasses, jumpers and jackets.
Be good to your body
It’s doubtless that many customs of your regular eating plan will be eradicated. You may scoff your face one morning and solely survive off lidollarss the next. Try to keep some home standards, especially the importance of a substantial breakfast to get you going.
Take tins of fruit and cereal bars, or potter down to the nearest food trailer and grab a sausage and bacon baguette. Sensational at 9am. Little snacks are perfect also; pasta pots; Nutri-Grain bars and crisps. To survive a music festival, make sure you are eating better than most and have at least one solid meal a day, whether you fancy something warm and exotic from the various food huts, or truly get into the camping lifestyle and cook on your own trangea.
A solid intake of carbs is essential also, due to the inevitable alcoholic beverages consumed throughout the day. Drink water at regular intervals, as dehydration can be extremely dangerous. Do be sensible. Reliving your most horrific drunken experience (I’m talking sick in the hair, laying on the floor with half your clothes missing) is definitely not desirable at a festival.
Don’t ruin your weekend by over-drinking, you’ll want to remember it! One guy admitted to NME “I had been drinking pints and pints on an empty stomach all day, and started to feel so faint because of the loud music and sun, so drank more to rehydrate myself. I ended up spending the night in A&E. Don’t do what I did”.
In addition, naturally festivals frown upon drugs, although they are aware they will be present. If you do intend to take anything, bring it yourself, as various unknown risky substances could be circulating and could therefore be untrustworthy. The euphoric sense of freedom a festival endows on you can make you more prone to risk-taking, so ensure you keep your rational head on and don’t go against your normal moral judgement.
Find a good spot
Picture it now. You arrive at the festival, hair glistening like a Pantene model or styled like a Vo5 rebel, clean clothes flattering you and a gleaming smile. Five minutes later, your hair and tee are sweaty, feet sore from the weight of your camping bag and as a result feeling quite deflated. At this point, you’ll love nothing more than to just drop and catch forty winks in the middle of the pathway.
Don’t. Not only will you receive some very strange stares, you’ll cause congestion trouble (and it’s not quite appropriate!). To survive a music festival, try to find an ideal camping spot: one that’s as close as possible to the arena, to water points and toilets. You’ll be thankful late at night!
Amongst emotions of excitement, you may be feeling nervous or scared, due to the sheer magnitude of the festival. You are not alone. For many first time festival goers anxiety may override anticipation. Understandably, it can seem daunting. However remember, thousands of others are experiencing the same uneasiness. After a few hours any sense of apprehensiveness will diminish and you’ll be engulfed by exhilaration.
However, to survive a music festival, be careful not to get carried away with independence. Stay with friends at all times, especially at night. If going to a secret gig or rave tent, there’s a high chance some experienced festival goers will be intoxicated with some form of substance, so be wary.
“I went to a rave tent and lost my friends, I couldn’t find my way back to my camp and felt so alone”, admitted one girl in regard to her first time at a festival. If such a situation should arrive, there are appropriately placed “aid tents”, to which you can go. Management have a duty to employ several staff to help individuals in such circumstances. Don’t fear that you’ll be wandering alone for the rest of the festival looking for your camp!
Survive a music festival
What any festival goer will tell you is, don’t waste your time. Quite obviously, don’t try to go the week surviving on as little sleep as possible, you need to “recharge your batteries”, as you will feel knackered by the end of each day. However don’t waste time getting up in the morning. Explore.
See as many bands as possible. Don’t faff around at your camp doing nothing, there’s no point paying a couple of hundred dollars to do what you could do for free in someone’s garden, is there? Make it memorable. Make it so you have such a wicked time you don’t want to leave. Enjoy yourself!