Summer’s here, the weather is fine, and there are about a thousand music festivals to choose from across Europe (although most of them are just Sonisphere moving from place to place).
So now seems like as good a time as any for my top ten tips for surviving and possibly even enjoying your time at one.
#1: Do not wear flip-flops.
Converse-style trainers are the bare minimum you need to wear. Even if the temperature is 30 degress, once the outdoor urinals and porta-loos, begin to overflow at about 3pm your feet are going to get covered in piss and shit, and the more protective footwear you have the better.
#2: Don’t be the guy that collects all the cups.
This is a fairly new phenomenon and as such has a prominent place on the list. Yeah it might be good for the environment, help the organisers with their cleaning bills, and earn you 10p a cup, but considering you’ve just been conned out of £200-odd to be there in the first place, why not just enjoy your time there rather than collect other people’s rubbish?
#3: Don’t get drunk on your own and pass out in the sun.
Alternatively go for it if you enjoy getting sunburnt/trodden on/having funny messages scrawled all over your body in permanent marker pen by people you’ve never met before. It’s your call.
#4: Don’t take drugs from strangers, especially if you have never taken drugs before.
Festivals aren’t the best places to experiment with dangerous things, least of all if you don’t know what you’re doing, where you are or who you’re with. If you take your first ecstasy pill there and then ask the bar staff about what you’re supposed to do, the chances are that you won’t necessarily speak to someone who gives you calm advice on the need to drink water rather than beer and has a little chuckle about it while writing a blog a few years later.
#5: Don’t have unprotected sex with randomers.
A piece of advice which you would do as well to heed in everyday life as you would at a festival. Having said that, after she/he has gone three days without a shower (including wading through everything that is described in #1), sweated in the moshpit to 20 different bands, and probably slept with several people before you that weekend, he/she will doubtless be carrying even worse infections than usual.
#6: Don’t go back to your tent for sex during a decent band.
Whether or not it’s a randomer, or protected, in hindsight they may well not be worth it. Or if they are worth it you’ll get another chance to bone them won’t you? How many more times will you get to see your favourite band? They might split up at the end of the summer.
#7: Don’t buy pizza.
Do not under any circumstances buy anything labelled ‘pizza’. However nice it looks on the poster or in the glass shelf thing, it will turn into a cold, soggy, sludgy piece of crap by the time it comes anywhere near your mouth. And you will have had the privilege of paying about £8 per slice for it.
#8: Don’t eat anything just labelled ‘fish’.
For similar reasons to #7. If you ask them what type of fish it is and they can’t tell you it’s guaranteed to be some kind of sewer-dwelling creature which will probably give you the shits. That goes for “meat” too, although that will be of even worse origin.
#9: Don’t put your arm around me in the arena area if you don’t know me.
This isn’t so much a general one as all the others. If you are a male, I don’t know you and you put your arm around me to sing along to a band, or you shout something like “let’s go get drunk man,” when you’re clearly already drunk, and a stranger and/or a teenager, if I don’t just nod vaguely then I’ll probably just push you over.
#10: Don’t bring anything unless you don’t mind losing it.
Flag poles, gazebos, tents that look like cows, hats that make you look like an utter douchebag: yes. DSLR cameras, extravagant bling, iPods, iPads or any other gizmo that sounds like its been named after a sanitary towel: no.
And don’t put all your money, cards and phones all together in a money belt thing, cos you’re bound to lose it.