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Festivals are what summer is all about. From film and food festivals to music festivals and other cultural events, there’s something for every taste and always so much going on. Festivals can be loads of fun, a chance to get outside in the sunshine and make memories with friends, but of course, safety should be on your mind. While worrying about your safety shouldn’t spoil your time, it’s something to consider and plan appropriately for so that you’re not left in a dangerous situation. Here are a few things to bear in mind if you’re going to any festivals this summer.
(Also read my Festival packlist + the best + healthy festival breakfast)
Drugs are often rife at festivals, and unfortunately there is a huge drug culture surrounding things like music festivals. This has lead to many hospitalisations, and even a number of deaths as a result. Keep away from drugs, if you’re offered them, turn them down. Not only could you have a bad reaction or put yourself in a vulnerable position around strangers but you don’t even know exactly what it is you’re buying or being given. As well as not accepting drugs, be wary of spiking too. Always keep an eye on your drink, don’t accept open drinks from people you don’t know and consider using lidded cups with straws so that nothing you’re drinking can easily be accessed. You can also buy anti spiking stoppers which are lightweight and can be popped into the neck of any kind of glass bottle you’re drinking from if you don’t want to carry your own cup around.
Most people enjoy an alcoholic drink at a festival- a cold beer or cider can be refreshing and enjoyable on a summers day and can help you to get into a relaxed frame of mind. However, it’s so important to be vigilant and only drink within your limits. Space out alcoholic drinks with water or pop so you’re not getting quickly intoxicated. Keep an eye on the number of drinks you’re having too so you have a rough idea of how many units you’re having- it’s easy to accidentally go overboard. As with drugs, being overly drunk can put you at risk of harm, accidents and medical problems. Have an idea of how much you want to safely drink while you’re away, and perhaps only bring that amount with you if you’re camping. Make an effort to add up units if you’re buying from a bar.
If you’re attending a music festival then of course the music will be one of the main features- many people like to get as close to the speakers as they possibly can. However, it’s well worth avoiding doing this if you can. While occasional loud noise won’t be a problem, if you attend a number of festivals and events these loud sounds can seriously damage your hearing. If you look at hearing aids from Miracle-Ear and other similar companies you’ll know that these days they can be fantastic, and really improve people’s lives- however no one wants to end up with them prematurely. Festivals can be loud, taking breaks from the stage and the noisiest areas can give your ears a chance to recover. The decibel level of a concert can reach as high as 140 if you’re standing right in front of the speakers. A day at a music festival is almost equivalent of listening to the sound of police sirens at close range, pretty shocking when you think about it. Excessive noise exposure may cause damage to the hair cells of the sensory organ of hearing called the cochlea. The micro-sized hair cells that line the cochlea are essentially overstimulated and flattened or damaged and sometimes return back to normal, however it is not guaranteed. Even one episode of very loud noise is enough to cause damage so it’s something to be careful of. Many people report suffering with tinnitus as a result of festivals, night clubs and other noisy events in their youth so take heed.
These kinds of festivals are often in the summertime when the weather is warm, so it’s tempting to pack your short shorts, bikini tops and flowy boho dresses for the weekend. However, even warm summer days can result in cold nights, and if you’ve been drinking especially you might not realise just how cold it is. Bring your summer getup in case it’s scorching during the day, but be sure you’re prepared for colder weather too. Particularly at night- thermal pyjamas and a properly insulated sleeping bag will keep you warm enough. Festivals can get really muddy- chances are you’ll already know that you need to bring your wellies!
Looking after yourself is important, but it’s just as important to look after your entire group. You all need to be keeping an eye on each other, don’t let anyone wander off particularly with anyone they don’t know. Install a location tracking app onto your phones and each share your location so you can easily find each other if someone gets lost. Don’t forget to bring some battery power banks with you to charge your phones up too, the last thing you want is to be unable to contact anyone if you get lost where your phone is dead. At the very least, arrange a meeting point for if you get split up. But keep in contact, look after each other. There really is safety in numbers so protect your friends and make sure everyone sticks together.
Are you planning on going to any music festivals this year? Had you given much thought on how you’ll stay safe?