Festivals can be a lot of fun but they can also have hidden dangers that are easily overlooked amid all the excitement. Straight off the bat, we declare festivals one of the greatest forms of entertainment around! We don’t want to put you off the idea of letting loose at festivals – which is what they’re for, after all – but if you take the time to look out for yourself and others, you can ensure your fun time isn’t spoiled by unforeseen consequences. Remember, safety should always come first so you can enjoy the experience fully without any regrets.
This is one for before you leave but it’s a vital one. Many people will sell fake tickets or tickets at ridiculously marked up prices and this can get you turned away at the entrance as soon as you arrive at the festival. Make sure you buy your tickets from a reputable vendor who is an official seller of that festival’s tickets. Nobody wants to pay insanely marked up ticket prices or get stiffed with fake tickets, so take the time to ensure you’re on the safe side when purchasing yours.
The last time we dished out festival tips, we mentioned that you should try to avoid bringing any unnecessary extra valuables, but the chances are you’ll have your phone, cash and one or two other valuable items which are impossible to leave at home. If you absolutely must have them with you, it’s important to take care of these objects and the easiest way to ensure their safety is leaving them at home, but if you have pricey items with you, it’s best to have them on your person at all times. This could be in a backpack if you have several items or simply in your pockets; remember, however, that a bag or your back pockets can be accessed by pickpockets so the most essential items should always be stored in your front pockets.
Another smart move is to avoid drawing your attention to you and your valuables. This means not wearing any pricey jewellery or taking your flashy new phone out too often. You can also avoid attention by not putting a lock on your tent. This may seem like a counter-intuitive idea but locks just stand to draw attention to your tent and what valuables could be stored inside it and they won’t really stand up to a determined thief. You can help yourself out by making friends with the people setting up camp in neighbouring tents who can look out for yours if you look out for theirs.
Another handy tip in case your phone goes missing or gets stolen is to work out your IMEI number, which is unique to your phone and will allow you to cancel its access to the network and help you and others find it. This is accessible through your phone’s menu or by dialling ‘#06#’ and you should take note of it and keep it in your bag or wallet.
You need to look out for yourself and others when you’re at a festival, and sticking to the company of friends is the easiest way to do that. Festivals are more fun as a group anyway, but you may not always have a friend on hand. In that case, try to look for someone you know or stick to somewhere where stewards are operating. You’ll find it easy to make friends and once you’re in a bigger group, you won’t be in much trouble of being harassed or troubled by anyone.
Make a plan to meet with your friends a couple times a day and always make sure everyone from your group is back at their tent each night. This ensures nobody disappears off during the day and nobody is left unaccounted for.
Make an effort to work out where police are stationed on sight in case something happens or you feel unsafe. There is a large number of staff stationed throughout the festival site and they are there to ensure you keep safe. Again, your neighbours are great as someone nearby to watch your back while you watch theirs.
Not all festivals are suitable for families but there are lots of options out there for parents with kids. The main responsibility you have in this instance is keeping your kids in check. Don’t let them run off anywhere and it’s better to opt for a carrier than a buggy or pram, as you’ll be covering mixed terrain.
Remember to bring all your child will need with you. This means food and changes of nappies, and any toys they can’t do without. You should avoid bringing anything they can’t stand to lose. They will also likely need help at the toilets, so make an effort to learn where they are ahead of time.
There are several potential health hazards at festivals, not including self-induced ones that we’ll cover later. Sunshine is much appreciated but it can give you problems over prolonged exposure. Sunscreen is an absolute must as suffering through sunburn while you’re trying to enjoy the festival experience is truly awful, but it can also cause other problems. Sun stroke and heat stroke – as well as dehydration – can all be brought on by the sun so as a result, it’s highly advised that you drink water regularly throughout the day and spend time in the shade when you get the chance.
It’s also advisable that you keep yourself clean throughout the weekend. It may seem like everyone has a laissez-faire attitude to hygiene at a festival but it’s neither pleasant nor healthy to skip it altogether. Make sure to brush your teeth regularly and bring wet wipes to give yourself an impromptu shower if proper facilities aren’t available or are in a less-than-ideal state to make use of.
Festivals are full of great people and there’s a good chance you might meet that special someone. Despite the excitement and euphoria, it’s essential that you remember to keep yourself 100% protected at all times. Condoms stave off STDs and pregnancy, and most festivals give them away for free. Stock up on protection because picking up some unpleasant disease is an easy way to ruin your whole weekend.
Alcohol and Other Substances
Drinking is a major part of festivals and there’s nothing wrong with the partaking of a few drinks. Overdoing it, however, can end poorly so it’s essential to take it easy and ensure you mix it up with some water to prevent dehydration. Remember that people can spike your drink, alcoholic or not; never leave your drink unattended and if you have to, leave it with a friend.
There are likely going to be drugs at festivals and while we advise to steer well clear at all times, it’s important to know that you have no idea where these drugs have come from or even what they are. There are several horror stories each year about people not knowing what they have consumed or overdosing on illicit substances. If you or someone you know have taken something and are worried, visit the festival’s medical station immediately without hesitation.