I think festivals are one of the best ways to spend your summer, but even if you’ve got all your festival essentials sorted, have stayed safe with festival alcohol and have dressed for all weathers, they can still be really hard work. Late nights, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements and dancing all day long can take their toll on even the fittest body and resilient mind.
Over the years I’ve amassed a few coping strategies and preventative measurements to ensure I have the safest and most fun festival, and I’m sharing all of them with you. Grab a cup of tea and get comfortable!
Let’s start with the big one first. Before you don your floral headband and gallop off into the sunset, take a moment to keep in mind the sobering amount of accidents that happen at music festivals each year. I’ve seen first hand the amount of girls stretchered off the festival site and people overdoing it on day one.
Whether you’re heading to a festival at home, or further afield, here are some handy little tips to make sure you have a brilliant (and safe) time.
Whether you are inside a tent on at an outdoor stage, one aspect of festival safety that is crucial to think about is overcrowding. I know this, because in 2013 I got crushed and knocked out cold during Chase + Status at Reading Festival and whilst I was ok, it could have been a lot worse. Before you push yourself further into a very dense crowd, keep in mind that crowd surges and collapses do happen. It can be very easy in a muddy field to lose your footing and that’s when accidents can happen as the rest of the crowd fails to notice someone has fallen.
Protect Your Hearing
When I was younger, there was nothing as exhilarating as standing next to the speakers and feeling the bass pulsate through your body. One year I even fell asleep next to the speakers during Linkin Park. But if your ears could talk, they’d be telling you to get the hell away from that subwoofer. Long-term damage to hearing probably won’t be at the forefront of your mind when you’re having the time of your life, but it could be a problem later on if you expose your eardrums to unhealthy levels of noise now.
Look, having sex at a festival is not my cup of tea, but if you are going to do it, do it safely. That’s all there really is to say on the matter. Should you need emergency contraception you must head to the medical tent as soon as humanly possible to make an arrangement.
Dealing With Festival Flu
Last year I’m absolute sure that there was anthrax in the dust at Reading Festival because every single one of us come down with some kind of flu after the festival had ended. It was hideous. But even without germs going round, endless late nights, poor diet and much alcohol is going to leave your body begging for mercy. Here are some ways to keep well both during and after your festival fun.
Sip on that H2O
I’m absolutely rubbish at this, but drinking a bottle of water every morning before cracking open a bottle of something else is super important. This restores the fluid you will have lost overnight lets something other than Sailor Jerry’s seep into your pores and is generally an all round good idea.
It’s just good sense. Your body needs water, and when you’re exposing yourself to the great outdoors, noise and copious amounts of booze, you can’t afford not to take care of your water levels.
…with a diarrhoea sachet
Yes, you read that correctly. Diarrhoea remedies are rehydration aids, meaning that they’re more fast acting than simply water. Just pop a rehydration sachet (they come in blackcurrant flavour which isn;t the worst flavour) into your bottle of water each morning will help hydrate you quicker and replace lost electrolytes. Grab a packet and you won’t regret it.Heading to a festival this summer? Here's some coping strategies for a long and heavy weekendClick To Tweet
Just because you are living in a field it doesn’t mean you should forgo your usual hygiene rules.
- You will need an adequate stock of those Clinell Bath Wipes I shared with you in the festival beauty guide to keep fresh and clean. If you don’t keep clean you’ll clog your pores which gets itchy, which makes the skin break and causes infections.
- Take hand sanitiser EVERYWHERE and over-use it. It’s so easy to pick up stomach upset, worms or worse with so much rubbish around. Don’t rely on there being sanitiser outside the toilets.
- Take your own toilet roll – I rely on packs of pocket tissues which are easy to carry round with you all day. I’m sorry, but the shake and dry just won’t cut it at a festival.
Take Care Of Your Feet
Not one that automatically occurs to you, but it’s actually really important to keep your feet warm and dry. This is easily solved – take plenty of socks and keep them dry. If you’re unfortunate enough to get rained on, don’t stay or sleep in wet socks. Damp socks and shoes lead to blisters, fungal infection and trench foot. Not a nice memento to take away from any event.
If you develop blisters, make sure you pop a plaster on the affected area and put on socks thick enough to prevent more rubbing. This’ll stop it hurting and prevent infection.
Coping With A Real Emergency
The most responsible thing you can do when you get to a festival and set up camp is to scout out your nearest medical tent. If any medical emergencies occur or if you’re worried about something, go straight to them.
Do not use your mobile phone for medical emergencies on a festival site. Reception is unreliable and it’s very hard to find anybody amid the crowds. Calling emergency services will be no help with so much going on – find a festival steward who will be able to contact an emergency response team.
Rules Of The Festival Moshpit
Like gigs, festivals are not without their fair share of moshpits. Often sweaty, with the added benefit of being either muddy, wet or dusty depending on the weather, they are are a rite of passage for many a festy lover if that sort of thing floats your boat. But as always at a festival, you have to stay safe, stay respectful and basically not be a dick about it. Moshpits are all good fun until someone acts like an utter shit or someone breaks their nose. So here are a set of simple rules to live by if you fancy flinging yourself headfirst into the circle pit this summer.
If You Are In It, You’re In It
If you are anywhere at the front near the barrier, just slightly back where a huge space is opening up or squished in a massive crowd you can be pretty sure you’ll be knocked about a bit. Because you are in the mix. It’s the place where (if you like that sort of thing) good stuff happens. Like mad jumping, dancing, screaming and of course pushing and shoving.
So, if you are in this situation, and you don’t want to be, I implore you to move. Generally speaking festival crowds are great at getting people in and out of the moshpit, particularly if you look faint or worried or injured. If you’ve accidentally ended up in a stampeding crowd, no one can blame you for wanting to get the heck out.
But please, for the love of all that is moshing do not stand rigid still in the middle, or at the barrier, bitch and whinge and then start kicking off with anyone who happens to touch you. You are at the front of a gig. It’s going to happen. Kindly move along to the back where touching is not obligatory.
Look After Those Around You
I see some awfully small people dive head first into the middle of circle pits (me included), and I do indeed worry for their safety (and sanity). The first and most important rule of being in a moshpit is to look out for those around you. That includes picking up a falling mosher at all times. Sometimes the crowd can overtake you and you’ll end up on the floor with the entire crowd jumping all over you – not cool. Pick that person up, lend a hand as you are dancing and they’ll laugh, thank you and go about their business.
If someone is hurt but no one is moving to let them out of the crowd (if the crowd is tight they may not have seen/be able to move quickly), ask the people around you to lift the person up and crowd surf them to the front so security can help them out.
Finally, if you are not in the moshpit but around the edges, you are part of the game too. Push people back in the pit and catch those falling as they run around the sides. Be helpful.
Understand Fully What You Are Getting Into
You need to understand what the crowd are like before jumping fully in – I’m terrible at this. Sometimes the music overtakes me, I jump straight to it and before I know it I’ve been punched in the face because I’m essentially the equivalent of a blonde rag doll in these things. Observe the action – how brutal are the individuals bouncing around this particular pit? There are many different types of moshing, and adapting to these is an important step if you want to enjoy it.
While the objective of a mosh pit is to make physical contact without getting hurt, there is a good degree of unpredictability and risk. Much of the risk comes from the type of music playing. Ska will be more relaxed, while metal and some punk will be rougher.
Once you’ve decided to get involved, you need to brace yourself. Be ready for those slamming into you and keep your hands ready to bat away any flying people towards your general area.
Also seriously – don’t leave valuables in pockets where they can fall out. Worst idea in a moshpit ever.
So, with a little knowledge and a lot of dutch courage, you can make your way through a festival unharmed. What are you waiting for? Jump right in! Lecture over guys. Hence forth into the sunset and have the best (and safest) time of your lives.