Protection against the sun: a group of festivalgoers resting in the shade.

Festival tips: a survival guide on staying safe


During your first festival visit you will experience a lot of new things because large music festivals give off a feeling of joie de vivre. The memorable moments will stay with you for a long time, but they can also seem a bit overwhelming. To help keep you safe at major events we've summarised the most important festival tips on heat protection, what to do in a thunderstorm, and protecting your valuables.

A festival in the rain: festivalgoers in high spirit and wearing raincoats.

Contents

  • Festival sun safety: protecting yourself against the heat at open-air events

  • Surviving a rainy festival: What to do in case of bad weather

  • Festival tips: What to do in case of a thunderstorm

  • The importance of hearing protection at festivals

  • Festival safety tips: looking after your valuables at a festival

Fes­ti­val sun safe­ty: pro­tect­ing your­self against the heat at open-air events

When the sun is shining brightly and there is a clear blue sky and your favourite band is about to start preforming, this puts you in a good mood. However, anybody who dances for hours in the blazing sun will quickly notice the negative effects the heat can have on the body. Good sun protection is very important so that you don’t get sunburnt or suffer from a heatstroke. You will find the most important tips on sun safety at a festival below:

  • Make sure to drink enough water or unsweetened or non-alcoholic drinks. As this helps your body to cool down and it also compensates for any loss of fluids caused by excessive sweating.

  • It’s best to wear light ,breathable fabrics such as: linen or lyocell. Materials that quickly absorb moisture and release it back into the environment can provide a pleasant dry feeling and support the body's thermoregulation.

  • Remember to apply and reapply sun cream even when it is slightly cloudy. It’s always wise to use a sun cream with a high SPF. UV rays can still be strong even when the sun is not shining.

  • At the front near the stage most of the time there isn’t much shade, therefore suitable headwear is needed. Trendy headwear can help to complete your festival look, and it also protects your head from direct sunlight at the same time. For optimal sun protection at a festival, the piece of headwear should also cover your neck.

  • Using a gazebo or parasol at the campsite can help to create some shade. This way you can take a break from the sun and relax in the shade.

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Did you know that...

Although chilled drinks may sound tempting, your body needs to acclimatise after drinking something quite cold. Then in turn you will start to sweat more. If you want to drink something refreshing due to the heat, then it’s best if you drink lukewarm beverages such as cooled peppermint tea. A water spray could also help to keep you cool. The fine mist will help you feel cool and refreshed.

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A festival in the rain: festivalgoers wearing rain ponchos are sticking their arms up in the air.

Surviving a rainy festival: what to do in case of bad weather

A couple of raindrops won’t spoil your time at the festival, but if there is a cloud burst then it can start to spoil the high spirit atmosphere. In case it starts to rain, you need to have the right things with you so that you can still enjoy the festival. We have summarised the most important points below, which you need to keep in mind in case of bad weather.

Sur­viv­ing a fes­ti­val in the rain: tips on how to stay dry

By being organised when packing, you can be prepared for any type of weather situation at a festival, even if the weather forecast has promised bright sunshine.

  • Make sure to pack a raincoat and/or a rain poncho. Umbrellas are often seen as a nuisance at a festival, as they block the view for other festivalgoers, or they simply just get in the way.

  • Make sure to choose sturdy shoes that can withstand the wet and muddy ground.  If you don't want to wear wellington boots, then hiking boots or lace-up boots can also be a good choice, depending on the weather. However, make sure to spray your shoes with a waterproof spray to protect them from any moisture.

  • By using zip lock bags or bin liners, you can keep your belongings dry inside the tent. Smaller items can be kept in a zip lock bag, but a change of clothes and your sleeping bag should be packed in a bin liner and sealed tightly. This will ensure that you always have a dry change of clothes and that you can sleep somewhere dry.

waterproof tent and/or a pavilion (possibly reinforced with a tent tarp) will keep you dry. This will help you to warm back up and to dry off in case of a long period of rain. To survive a festival in the rain, it’s very important to be mindful of how and where you pitch your tent so that you can avoid any problems. It’s best to set up your tent somewhere where the ground is even to avoid any waterflow, which can cause big puddles or a mini flood. Therefore, it’s worth arriving earlier to ensure that you can find a good spot to set up your tent.

Fes­ti­val tips: What to do in case of a thun­der­storm

When a thunderstorm is approaching, you should quickly seek shelter. Make sure to keep calm and use the official designated evacuation routes.  You will also need to follow any instructions given by the members of staff at the festival. You can also follow these safety tips below, in case there is a thunderstorm during the festival:

  • You are safest in buildings with lightning conductors or areas marked as refuge areas. If there aren’t any, then cars or camper vans with aluminium frames are a safe refuge. The metallic outer framework of the vehicle forms a Faraday cage that can dissipate the electrical charge of a lightning bolt into the ground. If you have time, it is also a good idea to disconnect the 230 V cable from the power supply in the camper van.

  • By switching on your hazard warning lights, you can help other festivalgoers know that there is still room in your camper van in case of anyone who is still looking for shelter from the thunderstorm.

  • It’s best to avoid going into water or up any hills. It is also important to keep a sufficient distance from high objects such as poles, trees, scaffolding, barriers, fences, or the stage itselfDo not touch any metal parts or objects, including umbrellas.

  • If you have to wait out a thunderstorm in an open area because you can't make it to your car in time, experts recommend doing the following: look for a ditch or a hole in the ground. Then squat down, keep your feet tucked in and stay as low to the ground as possible. Keep your distance from other people and never lie spread out on the ground.

  • Tents are generally not a safe place of refuge during a thunderstorm. If you have no other option than to stay in the tent, make sure to sit on a dry, insulating surface such as a rubber pad or an air mattress. Again, crouch down and keep your feet tucked in and stay as close to the ground as possible. Do not touch and keep your distance from any metal tent poles and the tent walls.

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Bear in mind that...

In case a storm is approaching or if there are any other dangers, there are often special announcements from the members of staff in which you are given important information (e.g., emergency assembly points) and instructions on what to do. You should listen carefully to these announcements and pay attention to them for your own safety.

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Fes­ti­val tips: How im­por­tant is it to pro­tect your hear­ing at a fes­ti­val?

The volume level at a festival depends on the type of festival and if it is a music festival this then depends on the music genre.  Popular heavy metal music festivals can quickly reach volumes of between 100 and 120 decibels, which is roughly comparable to standing close range to a jackhammer.

If you are not used to such a high noise level, then it can be a bit unpleasant, but it can also damage your hearing in the long run. To help minimise any damage to your hearing, we have a couple of music festival tips below on what you can do to help minimise your risk of damaging your hearing at a music festival:

Festival health and safety: festival members of staff wearing high-visibility waistcoats securing an event.
  • Don’t stand too close to the loudspeakers, as this is where the music is the loudest.

  • Give your ears a break every now and then. Take a break from loud noisy places and go for a walk, for example along the edge of the festival grounds, where it is less noisy.

  • Use special hearing protection. Many festivals sell simple earplugs at a low price or even give them away for free. Festival earplugs that are specifically designed for use at festivals and concerts are highly recommended. They have a sound-absorbing effect and protect against very loud noises, and they don’t have much impact on the sound quality at all.

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Don't forget...

At large events such as concerts, sporting events and festivals there are always paramedics on site. It is best to find out where you can find the paramedics before arriving at the festival so that you can quickly inform them in case of any emergency. In other serious situations such as theft or any altercations between festivalgoers you should immediately inform the stewards, festival management or an on-site police officer.

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Fes­ti­val safe­ty tips: look­ing af­ter your valu­ables at a fes­ti­val

There are usually big crowds and a lively, upbeat atmosphere that you want to enjoy. To protect yourself from thieves in the hustle and bustle, here are a couple of tips on how to look after your valuables:

  • Whilst packing, make sure to focus on packing only the essentials and try not take any expensive belongings with you such as a camera. If you still have a pay-as-you-go mobile phone, then leave your current smartphone at home.

  • Do not leave your valuables unattended in the tent. Even whilst sleeping, keep your wallet, mobile phone or smartphone and keys in your sleeping bag rather than leaving them in the tent with your clothes.

  • Always carry your valuables on you such as smartphones, mobile phones, wallets, keys, and car keys. It's best to put them in a bum bag or cross body bag so that nothing falls out of your trousers or jacket pockets whilst you're dancing or partying.  This way, no one can reach into your pockets unnoticed.

Putting a padlock on your tent has mixed views, as it is advisable to protect against your tent getting broken into, but it could also encourage someone to try and burgle your tent. However, using a lock makes it more difficult for thieves to gain quick access to your tent. In addition, your campsite neighbours may notice more easily if someone is trying get into your tent. This said you should never rely on a padlock for security and therefore, never leave your valuables in the tent.

Sum­ma­ry: fes­ti­val tips on hav­ing a safe and stress-free time

To enjoy your stay during the festival to the fullest, it's best to be prepared for any weather - from sunshine and heat to rain and thunderstorms. By using the three layer principle, you will know what to wear to a festival. It is best to pack sturdy shoes and light, airy clothing that you can quickly change depending on the weather. As well as preparing for any type of weather, another important festival tip is to leave your valuables at home if possible and to always carry essential items such as your wallet and mobile phone or smartphone on you. Lastly, if you are an inexperienced festivalgoer, you should think about how to protect your hearing from the loud noise during the festival.

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References:

https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/how-to-stay-safe-at-festivals

(accessed on 25.03.2022)

https://www.trespass.com/advice/how-to-stay-safe-at-festivals/

(accessed on 25.03.2022)

https://raverrafting.com/five-tips-survive-rainy-festival/2015/05/05/

(accessed on 25.03.2022)

https://www.trespass.com/advice/wet-festival/

(accessed on 25.03.2022)

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