We don’t want to sound like your mom, but your most boho-chic outfit is not the only thing you should be bringing to all-day outdoor fests . Dehydration, sunburns and — ahem — STIs are just a few of the risks that come with festival season.
Basic hygiene is more important than ever
Some festivals have showers, but most don’t. “Remember, there is more chance of catching an infection in a field than at home, so make sure you use the water points and hand-sanitizer stations at the toilet blocks to wash your hands regularly,” says Benn.
The weather can’t be scheduled
For Ploix, preparation is key: “We never ever have the same weather for all three days of the festival. Check the weather forecast for the duration of your stay so you can pack accordingly.”
Safety over style
Many festivals take place on uneven parkland with stone paths, and a good downpour can turn it all into a mud pit. “Strong shoes for walking are a good idea — as is a [flashlight] after dark,” Benn advises. “Don’t rely on your phone as it’s unlikely you will have any battery left after a few hours at the festival,” Ploix adds.
To avoid bug bites, especially when insects swarm at dusk, bring a cover-up and repellent with you. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen regularly, even if the weather is a bit gray: Clouds do reduce the amount of UVA and UVB radiation that reaches your skin, but they don’t stop the damaging rays completely.
Stay in control
Alcohol is sold at most festivals, but remember that it is a diuretic, and you’ll already be dehydrated (not to mention probably not close to a Porta-Potty).
As for drugs, a festival is a party, but don’t think that you are in a lawless zone. Even if it sounds tempting, don’t try substances that you’ve never experienced before. “A lot of young people think a festival is the right place to mix alcohol and marijuana, for example, which can end up with them in intensive care if they aren’t used to it,” Ploix adds.
And if you want to be able to enjoy music for the rest of your life, leave a decent distance between you and the speakers, and keep some earplugs in your pocket to avoid severe hearing damage.
The rest of your weekend experience may be carefree, but don’t forget about your usual treatments. If you’re taking oral contraception or suffering from asthma or any other condition, set a reminder to take your medications. If you are expecting or have another medical condition that could pose a problem during the festival, make yourself known to staff.
• Pick your camping spot carefully, preferably near a recognizable point (a tree, sign, etc.), so you can find your tent at night. Ladies, keep to busier areas.
• Carry a flashlight, keep your phone on and look out for your friends.
• Learn the site’s layout, particularly your camping area, so you can find toilets and staff without wandering around.