Festivals. Fun, exciting places full of energy, joy and all the best music out there, right? Well, yes, you are right. But also wrong. Without the right precautions, you could end up wasting your day somewhere you don’t want to, like lines, being treated by a medic, or not even at the festival anymore.
BUT FEAR NOT! There are ways to avoid this, and they’re all dead-simple. Other Sounds have consulted the Higher Elders of Festival Going (rumoured to live in a mud puddle in the UK full of tie-dye shirts and missing shoes), and while this is not an exhaustive list, they have supplied us with thirteen rules that will guarantee your day will be a memorable one.
- If someone falls down or is injured, you pick them up and help them, no questions asked. If they looked injured or unwell, get them to first aid or to someone who can get them there.
- Don’t try and push your way to front and centre. The people at the front have been waiting for anywhere between the last few hours to the whole day for that spot. They’ve earned the right to be on the barrier.
- The only person who finds having your friend on your shoulders cool is you and your friend. Everyone else is pissed that you’re ruining their view.
- Dress accordingly. Properly laced shoes or boots should be the standard, as well as clothes you can move freely in. If you’re going to a festival with sandals, flip-flops or heels, you are going to have a bad time.
- That said, bring sun protection. A hat and sunscreen is simple and easy. Sunburn is ugly, and cancer is evil, so try to avoid both.
- Don’t scream out requests. Unless the band asks for them, in which case, go for it. Worse still; requesting a cover. Punishable by death: requesting Freebird or Stairway to Heaven.
- On that note, if you want to have a private conversation, take it away from the front of stage. People have come to hear the band, not you, and every festival has great chill-out spaces designed specifically for you to catch up with friends.
- Have adequate cash-in-hand ready from the get-go. Trying to find a cash machine or a place that sells food or merch with card facilities is harder than trying to find than the Holy Grail. And if you do, the line will certainly result in you missing Your Favourite Band. Keep it simple: take out money beforehand and worry less during the day.
- If you are near the front of stage and a circle pit or mosh breaks out, expect injuries. With people flinging themselves everywhere and crowd surfers coming left, right and centre, it’s hard not to come into direct contact with something that’ll hurt. If this is not your cup of tea, move swiftly away as quickly as possible. In any case, half the fun is discovering bruises you never knew you had the next day!
- Earplugs. You may not notice it now, but that blisteringly loud bass? That’s hurting your ears. Permanently. Most festivals have disposable pairs available. Even better: most chemists sell good quality reusable ones. If you want to keep the festival life going for years to come, these are a necessity.
- If you grope a girl in the mosh, you have now offered everyone an open invitation to kick you in your nether-regions. Girls aren’t groupies, objects, fangirls, or tryhards. They are there for the same reason you are: to enjoy the music. They aren’t there for you to cop a feel. Otherwise, GTFO.
- Let photographers do their thing. Being a photographer is a harder gig than it looks. Their gear costs a fortune, they are paid a tuppence, they have to get great photographs in poor lighting and constant movement, and often they have to get out and away after the first few songs. If you see one, let them through, offer them space and safety, and don’t bug them to take a picture of you and your mates (trust me: they’ll ask you).
- Play by the rules. The last thing you want is to get the boot from security. Each venue has its own set of rules; study them beforehand and know them. If you are worried that a security guard is doing the wrong thing: don’t pick a fight. Remember what they look like and their ID number (if they have one) and contact the venue later.