As an avid festival goer who loves music seeing live bands with my friends, today's post is all about how to stay safe at festivals whilst having fun. I've been to Leeds Festival about three times, V Festival, WOMAD and some day festivals so with this experience I have learned from my mistakes!
[Leeds Festival 2011]
Go with people you trust
I imagine this is straightforward for a lot of people. You go to a festival with your friends and friends-of-friends but stick next to the people you definitely know you trust. The amount of times people get robbed at festivals or spiked because they aren't paying attention to what they're doing. If you're with the people you trust you're bound to have a better time anyway. People do split off when going to see different bands so make sure you're with someone you know at all times.
Carry valuable items safely
I don't agree with the whole "don't have expensive/important items with you" because to some people they are necessities. For me to buy alcohol in Leeds Festival I had to take my passport since I don't have a drivers license. I also took my phone and extra money because you can never be "too prepared". My advice would be to make a good hiding place - on your body. Don't leave your brand new iPhone in the tent or your spare purse with money in it. For me, I take some money in my bra (sometimes my phone goes there too!) and then I either carry a bum bag or an over the shoulder bag with multiple compartments and keep it to the front. If you want to take your camera to capture some amazing photos then do it, just remember to keep it on you and hidden.
Stick to your gut
If something doesn't feel right then don't do it. You see a wide range of drugs being used in front of you at festivals. There will be people everywhere selling and using and if you're not into that then don't do it. I've been asked plenty of times by random people if I wanted to buy drugs and the simple answer is no. I never would touch drugs but that's my personal opinion. You never know what is actually in them and I've seen all sorts at festivals to make me steer clear for life. I don't want my memories of the festival being spent in first aid, I want to be dancing and listening to music. 'Legal highs' have recently been banned so don't get sucked into something by a stranger telling you something is safe when it really isn't. Cloudstix have more information about this here.
Do your research
Every time I go to a festival, a few weeks before I print off the festival map and the estimated artist times/locations so I don't have to spend £10 on a programme and dangle it around your neck on a lanyard all day. If you know how to get to your campsite, the toilets and the stages then you're set! An important thing is to research what you're allowed to take into the festival. Some festivals don't allow gas canisters for your portable cooker as they cause a risk of exploding which can can cause serious harm. Glass won't be allowed either so make sure any alcohol you're taking is in cans or plastic bottles.
Food and drinks
I think there are two types of festival goers. Those who take a weeks worth of food and drinks with them and those who take a multipack of crisps and a 2 litre bottle of vodka. Firstly, don't try and take everything with you as if you damage your back carrying all of this on the first day you won't be in for a happy weekend. Secondly, there are plenty of stalls and shops to buy food and drink from. I'm not saying you should buy everything from them because they are extortionate prices - you're looking at £7 for a decent sized meal on a paper plate with a plastic fork. The festivals have to provide stalls that sell water to ensure you get enough liquids down you so take a decent amount of money and make sure you're eating three meals a day with enough water to keep you hydrated.
Pick your outfits carefully
I really cannot emphasize this enough. If you advertise that you're wearing designer clothes then you may be at risk of someone breaking into your tent and having a rummage through. You don't want to be taking full length jeans and white tops if you're going to a potential muddy festival anyway, but please don't take flip flops (you don't want broken toes) or a winter coat. You don't need them. Stick to a trusty pair of wellies with shorts, a t-shirt and a mac!