If you're planning on, or even thinking about, traveling to one of the many electronic music festivals happening all over the world, take a look at our survival guide and make your experience the best possible.
- Getting a group together
People you like
Firstly you'll need to get a group together, the more the better but make sure they are people you know and trust, there's nothing worse then going to a festival with a friend of a friend who becomes a total dick after a few beers and you end up having to beat some manners into him.
People who like the music
If you are going to a genre specific fest make sure everyone who is going actually likes the music. Now this may seem stupid and straightforward but all it takes is one disgruntled group member moping around to spoil the fun for everyone else.
- Getting Tickets
Avoid the touts
I think we can all agree that touts are greedy pricks. They will screw you over in the blink of an eye. Think fake tickets, over priced tickets, even wrong change. Don't go near the bastards no matter how desperate you are. There is always a way tell everyone you know who is going that you are in need of a ticket, lots of people drop out at the final minute. Also check out message boards/eBay there may be a nice deal to be had.
Get tickets well in advance
Why leave it to the last minute, you know there is going to be stress, you know there is going to be tears. Be a leader get everyone sorted get the money upfront and take care of the tickets yourself, waiting on someone else to do it will most certainly end in trouble.
- Getting Geared Up
Dress for the occasion
It's a festival so look the part bright colorful whateverís in style look slick. But don't pack your best, festivals are some of the dirtiest places in existence and the clothes you bring may well end up in the garbage when it's all over. Bring a mix of light and heavy. The days could be hot and the nights could be cold prepare yourself
Festivals attract rain it's just one of those things that cannot be logically explained, so if you are going bring some waterproof gear and a pair of wellies.
- What to bring / not to bring
Yes you can be mistaken for Futurama's "Dr Zoidberg" if you really want but it would be wiser to bring some sun block instead. Beware the power of the Sun God; he can even burn you on what appears to be a cloudy day especially if you are at a high altitude.
Insects especially those who feed on blood can have a veritable banquet at festivals; pop some hydrocortisone in the bag it'll help you sleep.
Medicine if needed
If any members of the group rely on prescription meds, like an asthmatic or diabetic make sure they have their stuff before you leave.
You don't need em so why bring em? Thieves don't go to festivals for the free love and good music.
More than enough good sounds to go around.
Cell Phones a must
Absolutely fucking fantastic when you lose your friends, give it a good charge before you go. Don't waste the battery talking to you mother (but let her know your alright every now and then) and turn it off when not needed especially at night.
If you are spending the night make sure your gear is waterproof and comfortable but nothing too expensive one of your mates is bound to puke all over it.
These little bottles are great; use it often especially after visiting the portaloo and you will avoid the all too common post-festival stomach bug.
Boys and girls should bring them no matter what. Even if you/she/he looks like Chelsea Clinton alcohol and drugs tend to remove all inhibitions.
These are a winner great for wiping your ass, cleaning up puke or for blowing your nose.
Two is always better than one especially when one gets lost or the battery dies. Pack a couple of disposables if you can.
If you don't want to end up like poor Frankie Wilde pack the plugs.
A couple of tablets will save the day when that killer headache kicks in.
Meat and Veg is great in theory but will stink out your tent when it starts to instantly rot under the midday sun. Bring loads of biscuits (cookies for you yanks), crisps (chips for you yanks) and chocolate bars (candy bars for you yanks). Nuts are great but don't bring too many sweets of you'll be sick. I'd also recommend a pile of peanut butter or nuttella sandwiches they'll last a couple of days in zip bags.
Yes thatís what we call tampons in my funny part of the world where a girls fanny is NOT her ass. I remember hearing an amusing story about an American girl who after going horseback riding with her Irish boyfriend said to his father when they got back to his house that her fanny was killing her from all the riding ;) Anyway back to the point Girls pack those Tampons. Even if you not forecast for a flood you can save a friends life and possibly make some new friends while you're at it.
Some festivals allow you to bring in your own booze some don't but almost all of them ban you from carrying in glass bottles so stick with the cans. If you are bringing is a pile of spirits make sure you have an appropriate amount of mixers else you'll end up getting that stomach pumped and NO the nurse/doctor is not going to be cute enough to make it worthwhile.
Water is a necessity; most festivals in Europe are obliged by law to give it out for free. If the one you are going to doesn't then bring plenty with you, always take more than you think you'll need.
- Getting there
- Meet in advance
If you are traveling in separate groups, get together make sure everyone has been given their ticket and all the supplies are in order.
- Plan the route get a map
Unless you are the farmer who is hosting the fest, you'll probably be traveling more than a few miles down the back of beyond to get there, look at a map and know where you are going before you set out. If it's a long trip schedule a stop over for breakfast/lunch well worth it.
- Pick the motor
Might as well travel in style, which ever one of your friends has the nicest car pressure them into driving. Make sure you are all comfortable and not squeezed in like sardines bring an additional car if needed. You may well find yourself sleeping in that car at some stage so make sure there's enough room for all the passengers to get forty winks.
Make sure you can get in the mood with some pumping speakers!
- Arrive at the perfect time
This depends on the festival, some require arriving more than a day before hand others you can turn up first day second day whatever I always reckon getting there early is always best, skip the rush pitch your tent in the best spot then sit back and relax.
- Leaving the car
Leaving the car is the first hardship you'll face. Make sure all the windows are rolled up, all the doors are locked and the alarm is on. If you have a steering lock USE IT. Don't leave any valuables in the car not that you'll have brought any if you bothered to read the instructions above. Finally make sure you can find your way back to it. If the parking sections are marked make a note and if you've got a pen and paper draw a map back to where you parked. Yes drawing a map may seem extreme but the less hassle you have the more enjoyable the festival will be and if one of your friends laughs at your cartography skills then secretly move the car to a new area and bet them the price of your ticket that they wont be able to lead you back to the car when the fest is over, that should wipe the smug grin off the bastards face.
- Pitching your tents
If you have a couple of tents pitch them in a circle with the entrances facing in this will stake your claim on the area and put off "would be" burglars. Don't leave anything in the tents that will cause tears if stolen.
- Meeting your neighbours
Very important, get friendly with those around you, not only will they keep an eye on your stuff but they will be more likely to share essential supplies when yours run out.
- Exploring the locale
Know where your tent is located so you can find your way back when hanging by a thread at the end of the night. Find an out of the way toilet that you don't think would be frequented too often, I'd advise stealing all the toilet paper you can once you arrive, it will probably be all gone very quickly and if you happen to be a budding entrepreneur you could even make a nice little profit by selling it to desperate punters towards the end of the festival.
- Picking what to see
You wonít be able to see everything, deal with it. But if you have a schedule for all the players pick the ones you simply must see and get to the stages early as the moving can be really slow at busy times.
We don't endorse the use of drugs but are fully aware that many of you will use them at festivals, our advice: Get advised from someone who knows what they are talking about. People who have been to the festival before and know the scene could save your life, there's a lot of shady characters selling rat poison don't be the moron you makes their day.
Keep it going
Back to the old H2O I can't stress how important it is to keep yourself hydrated. Keep on chugging it.
- Chocolate Bars
Don't underestimate the power of chocolate, the calories will keep you fueled and the sugar will keep you awake, not to mention the fact that it's very easy to carry around.
- Taking breaks
Although you might fancy yourself as the energizer bunny you will get tired at some stage, make sure it doesn't happen at the festivals high point. Take regular breaks and don't burn yourself out early.
The only thing to know about getting out is the more you rush the more stressing it'll be. Just relax and take it easy, have some fun watching the other idiots breaking their necks trying to get out early as you and your friends enjoy the festivals dying moments.
Have fun, be safe and make the most of it all.