Going to a Music Festival? Don't Forget to Do These 7 Things
Music festivals are great fun, and can create memories that last a lifetime. Being able to see your favourite bands, going crazy with excitement, and checking out foods and beer are just a few of the things you'll get up to on your day (or weekend) of music, making friends, camping and rocking out to awesome tunes.
This article provides top tips on how to stay safe during the festival, maximise your fun, and make sure nothing disrupts your perfect day.
Tip #1: Drink lots of water
It might sound boring to down water between cups of beer, but it's worth staying hydrated. You'll be doing all sorts of exercise at a rock festival - walking around, dancing, jumping - with like-minded sweaty people doing the exact same thing. Dehydration during a festival, especially if the weather is hot, can lead to fainting, nausea, headaches or even heat stroke. And having to get an ambulance to you in the middle of a festival would be a buzz kill to your day. If possible, drink a pint of water when you wake up, before going to the bathroom.
Drink lots of water, especially if you're drinking alcohol.
Take a big bottle with you in your backpack - if the authorities don't let you take it inside with you, drink as much of it as you can before entering.
Drink a pint of water as soon as you wake up and before you start drinking alcohol to get ahead with your hydration.
Tip #2 Have a designated 'meeting spot'
It sucks to get separated from your friends, but with big crowds and distractions, it's easy to get lost. Music festivals are noisy places, and sometimes calling your friends on their mobile phones is impossible - either they don't hear their phone ringing, or you can't hear each other's voices if they do pick up. As soon as you enter the park or venue, organise a designated meeting spot for you and your friends to head if you get lost. If it's a huge venue, perhaps agree on two or three places to meet up, depending on whereabouts you got separated. However, don't make too many meeting spots, or you might end up waiting at the wrong one.
Organise a meeting spot for if you get lost.
Don't call each other unless you're in a quiet area.
Don't make too many meeting spots.
Tip #3: Book a taxi in advance
You're tired, you've had fun, it's dark, and you're trudging out of the venue in search for a taxi home. Yeah, so are a thousand other people. Booking a taxi well in advance is advisable. Look online to see what the local taxi companies are in the area, and book at least a few days in advance. The only problem is that you'll have to know exactly what time you're going to leave the venue, which can be a problem. Weigh up the downsides to not booking a taxi (such as having to wait a long time or even falling prey to rogue taxis), and, if your group agrees, book one in advance, and enjoy the festival with the confidence of knowing you'll be getting home, or to your hotel, in good time.
Book a taxi in advance.
Know your schedule before you book.
Watch out for rogue taxis.
Tip #4: Stay in a hotel (as opposed to camping)
Often at festivals, especially for full-weekend ticket holders, will offer camping spots next to the venue, to ensure you don't have to get a taxi or pay for a hotel. Camping is definitely cheaper, but getting a hotel is sometimes worth the extra money. Leeds festival 2013 was one of the muddiest festivals ever, and countless tents and equipment was ruined by the rain and the grime. In the dark, covered in mud, wet and cold in the evening, the last thing you want to do is slide into a tent with drunk people and noise outside. Cheap deals such as the Premier Inn and the Holiday Inn are a good choice for groups (again, be sure to book well in advance). However, lots of people will argue that camping is part of the experience, and it also means you're there at night, not just until the last band has finished playing. There's also the chance that the weather will be great, and that camping will be fun. It's up to you.
Booking a hotel guarentees a dry and clean place to sleep with minimal noise.
However, camping might be the option for you.
Tip #5: Experience anything and everything
At festivals, there are often stalls offering unusual foods (like the ostrich burger featured at Leeds and Reading). They may also have rare types of beer or other drinks. Try them! You don't know when you'll get another chance, and you'll always remember that particular food or drink as 'that thing you tried whilst at that festival', adding extra memories to the event.
Often, festivals will also have charity temporary tattoos and face painting, which can add extra fun to your day. Check out the non-food stalls too for band merchandise.
Also - importantly - check out bands you haven't heard of. Everyone will be crowding the main stage of the trending favourite band. Leeds and Reading festivals had stages featuring smaller bands of certain genres - if you love rock, check out the rock and metal stage, if you love dance, check out the dance corner, and so on. You'll be able to get near the front, and might even discover a band you didn't know you loved, and get to see them before they hit it big.
Try any strange or unique food and drink.
See what deals are on in the merc corner, or get your face painted.
Support smaller or local bands.
Tip #6: Work out your budget way in advance - and stick to it
Money is important, and music festivals aren't cheap if you're planning to make the most of them. Aside from the ticket itself, you'll want money for drinks, food, merchandise, the taxi back to the hotel and extra things too. Work out exactly how much money you're taking with you and work out how much you want to spend (although keeping extra aside for emergencies is advisable). Most venues have a cash machine nearby, but if you want to skip the queues and carry cash, make sure it's in a safe place, i.e. your tight front jeans pocket, as opposed to in your backpack.
Suggested funds per day:
Food and snacks: £20-£30 / $35-$50
Merchandise: £50-£100 / $85-$170
Drinks: £30-£60 / $50-$100 (this obviously depends on how much you're planning to drink)
Extras (face painting, temporary tattoos, souvenirs, etc): £20-£30 / $35-$50
Work out a budget.
Keep your money in a safe place where it's unlikely to be lost or stolen.
Take extra money for emergencies.
Tip #7: Wear comfortable clothing
Being at a festival is all well and good, but if you're wearing uncomfortable clothes, tight shoes or you're too hot or cold, it can sap the enjoyment out of it. Plan your outfit for your festival sensibly - the weather is never guaranteed, so make sure you plan for rainy or cold weather. At the same time, make sure you won't be wearing anything too hot. Above all: shoes. Your shoes are the most important item of clothing you'll be wearing. Make sure they're sturdy and can handle the mud or the rain - no flip flops or sandals (this of course depends on where your festival is held - you wouldn't wear hiking boots in summer in Vegas). At the Leeds and Reading festivals in 2013, it was so wet and muddy that plenty of shoes were abandoned throughout the day. If your festival is in a rainy place such as England, wear wellies, or else shoes you don't mind having to possibly throw away later.
Wear comfortable clothes and prepare for any weather.
Take wellies for rain or wear shoes you don't mind losing.
Most importantly, have fun! For some people, a music festival is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; for some bands, it might be their last show, or money or time constraints may stop you being able to attend another festival for a long time. Take pictures, sing loudly, buy stuff, and have a great time, as well as staying safe.