Personally, I think festivals are one of the best things about summer. You get to see all your favourite bands together in one place and with a great big group of friends too.
It’s like a party that just doesn’t stop, but it’s all too easy to let your hair down too much and forget that there are risks involved in going to a festival too.
You want to enjoy yourself, not have your festival memories ruined by being the victim of theft – or worse.
Here are my top festival safety tips…
1. Stick Together
Festivals are by their very nature a communal event, so don’t try to enjoy them alone. Stick with your group of friends, or at the very least split into two or three smaller groups if you really can’t agree on who to see.
Last time I went to a festival we got the programme as we went in and then planned out exactly who we’d be seeing, to avoid arguments later down the line. It meant missing out on a couple of bands I’d have loved to have seen, but I still saw plenty of great sets!
Imagine getting lost in that crowd. Image: Eva Rinaldi
2. Choose a Meeting Point
Just because you plan to stick together doesn’t mean it will happen – perhaps you nip to the loo and then can’t find your way back through the thick crowds, or you just get separated near the stage by some over-enthusiastic fans that are pushing and shoving the others aside to make their way to the front.
As soon as you arrive at the festival, pick an obvious location that’s easy to spot and arrange to meet up here at set times each day e.g. 12pm, 6pm and 12am. That way, if someone gets lost you can re-group, and if someone goes missing you don’t find out the next morning
3. Camp Wisely
It’s a good idea to arrive at the festival early so you can get your pick of the camping spots. Choose somewhere that will be well lit at night – putting up with hordes of trampling feet going past your tent each night is worth it if it means you’re in an area where security staff can spot any suspicious goings-on easily.
Make friends with your neighbours – you can keep an eye on each others’ tents and, well, festivals are all about the community spirit anyway right?
Also, although it may seem like a safe thing to do, don’t put a padlock on your tent door! All it will do is make passersby think that you’ve got something valuable in there to protect and the not so nice types among them may single your tent out for a theft.
Plus, a padlock doesn’t do anything anyway – you can cut through the side of a tent in five seconds with a knife!
Image: Shane Kelly
4. Leave the Valuables at Home
So if you’re not going to lock up your tent, how are you going to protect your valuables? Simple, leave them at home!
With all the music and partying that’s going on, you shouldn’t need your laptop or iPod to keep yourself entertained. A mobile phone can be useful in case of emergencies or if you get totally lost, but pop it on a neck lanyard and keep it with you (tucked inside your clothes if possible) at all times.
Photos are a great way to take a souvenir of the festival home, but be wary of carrying an expensive digital camera around. Theft can and does happen, and it’s almost impossible to get lost items back in such a massive crowd! Buy a few disposable cameras instead – film processing shops can put your snaps on a CD no problem!
Do you have any festival safety tips of your own to add?
Gavin Harvey is a blogger for ID Pro who makes it his mission to visit every music festival in the UK each summer – and lots of foreign ones too!