Festival Survival Guide
Summer is here, but we all know not to hold our breath when it comes to the Great British weather. It’s the time of year when most of us get to kick back, enjoy the sunshine and have a little more fun than usual.
A massive part of summer is all the fantastic music festivals; you’d be the minority nowadays if you were not planning to go to at least one. It is a chance to see live performances from your favourite bands and solo artists in an uninhibited environment, with friends and booze, BUT…there lurk many perils for which you must prepare! Losing your comrades amid a sea of sweaty drunks; the blistering heat; MUD…as far as the eye can see; and falling prey to the dreaded trenchfoot! Do not fear though as there is much you can do to thwart such uncomfortable times:
What to take?
Attending a Festival may appear to be a walk in the park for the inexperienced or naive among us, but it requires a lot more planning than some might think; even the most prudent of people can fail to think beyond their favourite band or the joyous quantities of booze that will be consumed.
- Backpack/Daypack – You’ll find a backpack handy for all of your personal items and stuff you need to hand, but you should not need to take it out of your tent as that’s what the smaller daypack is for.
- Tent – Yes, obviously you know about the tent (and a sleeping bag too) but you should also take a roll up mat and also a blanket, because despite a gloriously hot weekend (fingers crossed) temperatures at night WILL plummet and your sleeping bag will lose heat without a mat.
- Clothing – It’s a very good idea to pack clothes you know! No doubt you want to look cool/hot as hell but you should perhaps make some sensible sacrifices like comfortable shoes over new ones, and maybe ditching the denim for something that is less restricting and easier to dry if you get wet. You’ll also need something warm for the night and no matter what the weather forecast…don’t forget your wellies! Keeping all that in mind, make sure you take a few changes of clothes and socks because you’ll likely get wet and dirty and some point. For any wet/dirty clothes make sure you have some bags to chuck them in.
- Sun Protection – you’re clearly going to take a cool pair of sunglasses but the bigger styles are always best and make sure you take a hat with a wide brim to protect your neck. You should keep your sun lotion topped up throughout the day as people often don’t realise how quickly they can get burnt. Oh, and for goodness sake if you’ve got a bald spot don’t neglect it!
- Mobile Phone – The last thing you want to happen is to run out of battery whilst separated from your friends so it would be a good idea to take a portable charger or a spare battery. There are often facilities to charge your phone but you really don’t want that hassle. Also, try to lay off Candy Crush!
- Money – There are usually cash machines available but that’s not something you want to be queuing for when you should be having fun and the machines will likely run out anyway. Take enough cash for the whole weekend.
- Water – You’ll want to take plenty of bottled water as you’ll need to keep well hydrated amid the potentially high temperatures and alcohol consumption. You don’t want any severe hangovers so make sure you drink a good amount before bed.
- Toiletries – Aside from your toothbrush and toothpaste you should take a load of wet wipes because the amount of bacteria you can develop is shocking! When you inevitably start drinking like a fish you will eventually have to ‘break the seal’ and you really don’t want to trek to the loos in the night so pick yourself up some ‘pee bags’ for those emergency situations. It’s also a good idea to take a roll of toilet paper just in case.
- Torch – Torch!! For seeing in darkness.
- Sandwich Bags – These may save you, for as resilient as you think a backpack/daypack is against the weather you’ll probably be proved wrong. They’re very useful for keeping dry any tobacco paraphernalia and paper money. It’s also worth noting to keep as little as possible in your pockets (e.g. skins) as even if it doesn’t rain you’ll likely sweat them into extinction.
- Tripod Seat – It’s not really an essential but if you can be bothered to carry it with you you’ll be bloody thankful for it at times (especially if it’s muddy).
Tips To Avoid Annoyance And General FFS Crap Situations Of Crapness
First of all make sure you visit the festival website for any useful information such as prohibited items, parking/camping details and also the event lineup so you can plan which acts you definitely want to see. You could arrange a full schedule but once you start partying you know that’ll go out the window so just plan the essential and leave all that in-between time for fun and exploration.
Arriving early is always advisable so you can get a good parking space (if you’re driving) and also to pitch your tent in a good place too, and not be forced to camp near the toilets. Finding your tent can be a difficult task at best so if you can, try to pitch it near a recognisable land mark, and what a lot of people find useful is to have a flag pole with a unique flag/inflatable/teddy or something.
Alcohol is an integral part of the festival experience BUT there are things you should do to take care of yourself as you really don’t want a hangover the whole time. Try not to overdo it during the day (as you actually want to remember at least some of the weekend), making sure to stay as hydrated as possible with water or still drinks. Carbonated drinks like coke will speed up alcohol absorption, while carbs and fatty foods will slow it down. Alcohol also lowers your blood sugar levels so eating something sugary may help you to feel better the next day.
Hygiene is not only important because you don’t want to stink, but you can pick up all sorts of infections too. One thing ‘they’ warn you about is trench foot; a serious infection that arises if you’re feet remain cold and wet for extended periods of time. You’re foot can literally rot off! So keep them warm and dry as best you can (spare shoes/socks/towels). Most people will let their personal standards slip at a festival, after all it’s part of the experience, but a few wet wipe sessions wouldn’t go amiss.
Most of this is common sense but when murdering all trace of sobriety seems like the best idea in the world, we can at least give ourselves the best chance with a little thought beforehand.
Thanks for reading.
The Urban Male team.