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Festival Survival Guide – Top Tips for the UK Music Festival Season

Every few years, the fields at Worthy Farm (site of the Glastonbury Festival, cast you didn’t know about) need to take a break so the grass can grow. This year, 2018, is Glastonbury’s fallow year, so at the end of June, you’ll have to go to a different party.

Glastonbury may be the UK’s biggest summer music festival, but it’s not the only one. In fact, there are hundreds of summer music festivals across the British Isles, including Ireland (more every year it seems). There are opportunities to get off, get dirty (literally) and put on, in muddy fields, on sandy beaches, in city parks or on grassy meadows all over the place. Huge, excessive and brilliant fun, they can leave you with a big hangover in more ways than one. Come prepared and you can avoid the traps.

These top survival tips will help you.

How to survive UK summer music festivals

  1. Get over yourself Face the fact that:
    • having to relax about your personal space requirements
    • let your personal hygiene standards fade a bit
    • Queue for hours to use incredibly smelly toilets. Relax, no one died of the plague or got angry from wearing a music festival portapotty.
    • pay the odds on everything from a bottle of water to a souvenir t-shirt
    • see people engaging in recreational chemicals – legal and illegal
    • see at least one fat old hippy get naked or be tempted to undress yourself.

    If all that sounds a bit exaggerated, watch the video of the festival; otherwise, get over it and have fun.

  1. Settle in The biggest and best festivals always involve camping. If this is your first festival, put aside any thoughts you have about waking up to the singing of birds and the smell of fresh air and greenery. Except you could use a sleeping bag and a tent, the festival camp is almost unrelated to the ordinary leisure camp. Consider these tips for stress-free festival camping.
    • Get there early for the best choice of pitches
    • Place your tent within sight of landmarks that you will remember and will still be visible when you wake up in a field covered with thousands of other tents.
    • Choose a location as far away from the toilets as possible, as it won’t be long until they stink.
    • Check out these top tips for hassle-free festival camping
  1. Be Prepared It can be hot, sunny and dry or cold and humid, although in the UK it’s probably a bit of both. There will probably be ATMs or ATMs, but the lines for them will be miles long, miles away from everything else, and they’ll probably run out of money by the middle of the first day.
    Take a look at this list of things to bring to a music festival to be prepared.
  2. Leave it at home Don’t bring more than you need and never leave things you can’t afford to lose in your store. Keep valuables like money and photo IDs on your person, even if it means wearing a passport pocket under your shirt.
  1. Bring a cheap camera. Of course, you will want photos of the event. But do you want to wear a heavy DSLR around your neck throughout the festival? If you leave it somewhere, you risk never seeing it again. If you’d rather not drain your smartphone battery while taking pictures, invest in a cheap pocket digital camera or, better yet, a couple of disposable film cameras. Kodak’s single-use Fun Flash cameras come in packs of five, with each camera capable of taking 39 photos. Alternatively, you could invest in a portable charger for your phone. But, that is more than just carrying and losing.
  1. Just say no. Recreational drugs will be everywhere, and so will the cops. Festivals are the main territory for law enforcement officials to catch small merchants. Even if you normally indulge yourself, at festivals just say no.
  2. Watch Your Drinking Alcohol (beer, wine, cider and perry) is generally available at UK music festivals. If you visit North America, you will find that the legal drinking age is much younger in the UK than you are used to. You can legally buy alcohol in a pub or bar from the age of 18 and you can buy and consume alcohol in a restaurant that serves food from the age of 16. The point is, if you’re not used to uninhibited drinking, you can easily overindulge, exposing yourself to a stranger danger, not to mention a nasty hangover. Take it easy and just remember, if there’s a hit to the head at a festival, wouldn’t you rather it was on stage than your head?
  1. Stay safe
    • Stay in touch with your friends on their cell phones, check in from time to time, and make an appointment in advance. Stick with a group and tell your friends where you hope to be and when.
    • Don’t go alone into the dark corners of the crowd.
    • Be careful what you drink and who you agree to drink from. Bottles at festivals are famous containers for all kinds of nasty waste. And no matter how warm and friendly the crowd may seem, festival rapes are not unheard of – you never know what’s in a drink accepted by a stranger.

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