Festival Survival Guide: Top 15 Do’s and Don’ts
Taking the right equipment is only half the battle. Arming yourself with a sound knowledge of festival tips and etiquette will ensure you get the most out of the experience.
It doesn't matter how experienced a festival goer you are, you can always find things that will surprise you when you are caught up in the flow and vibe of the event. The following are some handy do’s and don’ts to make sure you are ready to deal with anything that may come your way. With this knowledge in hand, you will be free to let your spirit run wild…
1. Tying in with our essential packing list, don’t bring more things then you actually need. The less luggage you have to move about the better. For this reason also, it is better to ignore most organizers’ advice to come by train and bring a car. This will give you much more space to bring things along with you, as well as give you somewhere secure you can leave non-essential, non-valuable items, such as excess cloths and food.
2. Choose the right festival for you. Even festivals within the same genre of music can be vastly different in location, facilities and vibe. Do a bit of research before buying your tickets. Hopefully our Top 10 Psychedelic Festivals Not To Miss In 2014 will make the choice easier.
3. Don’t bring anything valuable along with you. Festivals are busy, dirty and full of people. It is easy for things to get broken, ruined, go missing or get stolen. Do not bring your best clothes, and consider buying a cheap, temporary barebones phone so that won’t matter if it goes missing or gets damaged.
4. Try and arrive at the festival early, this will allow you to scope out your perfect camping spot, away from the toilets and the 24/7 noise of the stages, but not too far away that it becomes a mission in itself to walk anywhere.
5. Go with a group of friends that you trust. Going to a festival with people you know you can rely on and feel at ease with makes all of the difference to the overall experience. Plus, if anything should go wrong, you will have people you trust at your back.
6. Make sure you stay hydrated! Festivals can be fast paced, hot, drug and alcohol fueled playgrounds, making it easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about hydration. You are going to be in for a bad time if you get yourself dehydrated, so remember to drink water regularly.
7. Before you go, make sure to read all of the information on the festivals website, it may seem unnecessary, but believe us when we say that some of the little gems of information relevant to that specific festival can be invaluable. They will also talk about specifics of the facilities you can expect, as well as what may be restricted, helping you decide what to take.
8. Don’t put a padlock on your tent. There is nothing that says I have valuables in here like a locked tent. Locked tents are not hard to get into and it will make yours stand out from the rest.
9. Don’t assume a “three man tent” will actually sleep three people – you and your friends will be in for an unforgettable time.
10. Unless you are the sort of natural prodigal navigator who knows their exact location at all times, finding your tent in a sea of very similar looking tents can be quite a challenge – especially if you are drunk or high. Attach something unique to your tent/campsite such as a balloon or flag. It could help you spot it a mile off, (just keep in mind someone passing by could decide the balloon would look better in their hand then it does on your tent).
11. Think eco-friendly. One problem with festivals is that they create a lot of waste. Do your part and ensure you take all of your campsite rubbish with you. Don’t rely on someone to clean up after you – they may not.
12. Don’t sit on peoples shoulders to get a better view of the stage. Yes it may look great on TV coverage of the event, and yes you will get a good view, but the people behind you didn’t come all that way to see your back – it is a quick way to annoy everyone behind you.
13. Don’t moan. Festivals are all about having fun. Yes they are dirty, and yes you may get a hangover, but moaning won’t help and does nothing but bring the people around you down. Get into the spirit and enjoy yourself.
14. Try and make sure your tent doesn’t touch anyone else’s when it is pitched. There is nothing quite like the resentment someone gets when they wake up touching someone else’s head – through 2 thin sheets of nylon.
15. At a festival it can be easy to get sucked in by the big name acts. Don’t be afraid to explore and check out some of the lesser known acts. You may find some hidden gems, and the stages they are performing at are less likely to be completely packed. The combination of these 2 points can make for a very intimate and memorable performance. Some of the best festival experiences come from situations like these.
Drugs & Booze
We’re all adults here, so at the end of the day, you need to make your own decisions when it comes to drugs and booze. Although in most cases drugs are just as illegal in a festival as they are outside of it, nearly every festival under the sun will be awash with drugs and alcohol. For this reason, there is no need to go overboard. Pace yourself, and don’t overdo it on day one. The supply of drugs and booze are unlikely to go anywhere. If you decide to, you can always take more, but you can’t take less.
It is important to know what you are popping. Drugs can be cut with all manner of other substances, many of which can be more harmful then the drug itself. A good example of this are ecstasy pills. Ideally they should contain MDMA, but more often than not ecstasy pills are cut with all manners of fillers to maximize profit. This means that ecstasy can contain anything from speed to chalk, brick dust and flour. Make sure you know your source and what you’re getting is what you think it should be. Some festivals provide the outstanding service of a drug checkpoint, where you can bring your pills and have them checked on the spot by an experience team or even a lab test.
When it comes to alcohol, there tends to be a limitless legal supply that can be bought within the festival grounds, (most festivals will not let you bring in your own). Booze can be a great legal way to get into the spirit of things, but ensure you do not go over the tipping point. You don’t want to be throwing up in the middle of a rave, or pass out somewhere that your friends cannot find you. But then also, why get drunk on a psychedelic festival when there are so many other options floating around?
With all this prep, don't forget to have fun!
Yes, preparation is important. But it really only builds a small foundation on top of which you can be carefree - and that’s really the most important mindset to bring to any festival! Have fun, let go of yourself and go with the flow.