Braving the musical jungle: festival essentials

There are a few things you can do to spare yourself some heartache at festivals

Summer is filled with promise and opportunities. Some of these opportunities may lead us to spend three nights or more in a disgracefully small tent, blowing our entire summer budget on a weekend of outdoor musical debauchery. Of course, this all relates to the trials and tribulations of navigating the festival circuit. Festivals and childbirth inspire a similar coping strategy in human beings; after enough time passes, we forget the negative aspects, the pain, the screaming, being awake to all hours of the morning surrounded by lads playing techno on portable speakers – but maybe that last one is just for festivals. Soon enough, we think fondly of them again and start saving up for an Electric Picnic ticket and make a Sziget group chat. We begin to mentally prepare for the next round. It will be messy but the messiness is part of the charm. To prepare, there are a few things you can do to spare yourself some heartache.

Source a bumbag

Thankfully, having a bumbag is back on trend. If you are still not sure about this fashion item, here is why it is an important necessity. It’s 12pm on day two of your festival weekend, you wake up in your tent, surrounded by your friends at various stages of a hangover: one is already outside on a lawn chair having that remedial morning-after can. You reach for your phone, only to realise it’s not there. As the panic sets in, you frantically think back to what you were wearing or to whom you entrusted the safekeeping of your phone while you engaged in an ill-thought out rap battle with the people in the neighbouring tent.

This can be avoided with the simple help of a bumbag. Though it may seem uncomfortably close to the tourist aesthetic, the bumbag will save your life in more ways than one. It is a handy location for all of your important items including the emergency €20 note, your cards, your ID, and your phone. And let’s face it, we all secretly think they look trendy.

Dry shampoo

Two days in and your hair has done battle with rain, sun, and mud. Unless you manage to wake up at 7am, the queues for the shower will stretch as far as the eye can see. This is the point at which dry shampoo will be one of your essential items packed. If you don’t have dry shampoo, bear in mind that this is one of the few times it is permissible to wear an elaborate flower crown or cover your roots in glitter – both are worthy solutions.

Staying warm

When it comes to staying cosy, a wet tent at a festival may not be the place that springs to mind. Even so, there are some ways you can stay warm. If you bring a hot water bottle to the festival and are landed with a particularly cold weekend, you can bring it to the festival Spar, and for a small fee – no more than a euro – they will fill it up with hot water for you. Another stay-warm hack is to invest in an inflatable mattress, which can usually be inflated on most festival sites for convenience. This keeps you off the cold ground and restores a bit of comfort to the tent setting. Bring your cosiest pyjamas, some fluffy socks and some earplugs, and make your festival sleeps count. Energy is key to surviving a festival weekend.

Make a plan

To those who are tasked with being the designated carer, festivals can often be more work than play. In most cases, people will end up safe and sound, usually having made several new friends, often just as inebriated as they are. Even so, panic and stress is something you’ll want to avoid on your weekend, so making a plan is a good way to ensure everyone can enjoy themselves and stay safe. When you get to the festival, do a lap of the site and find a spot that’s easy to get to and hard to miss. That is your assembly point. If someone gets lost, this is where to find them. If you get lost, this is the spot to which you report.

Bring a portable charger

Another way to ensure that everyone stays in touch is to make sure everyone is in possession of a functioning phone. A great way to do this is by sourcing portable chargers. Penneys sell them for around €9 and they are a fantastic resource to have. Buy one or two and make sure they’re fully charged before you head off to the festival. If anything, they’ll restore your peace of mind as your phone battery loses ten percent a minute.

Stay hydrated

Everyone goes a bit mad at music festivals, but whatever you do, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water will absolutely be your friend, and alongside pacing yourself, a key way to avoid the emergency tent. When you wake up at 1pm, maybe have a bottle of water instead of a breakfast can and drink some more water right before you go to sleep. This is especially important if you brave the hotter climates, and frequent Benicassím or Primavera. Dancing around and drinking will pretty much drain your body of the water it needs, and dehydration mixed with alcohol is not a fun combination.

Now that you have all the necessary festival hacks, don’t forget to make the most of it. May you stay up until 5am, may you dance in a forest, and may you never lose your friends for more than twenty minutes at a time. Enjoy yourselves and again, stay hydrated!

The print version of this article was published under the wrong author’s name. The author’s name is Aoibh Ní Mhuireartaigh, as this article states.