A group of young people covered in coloured powdered taking a group selfie.

Summer festivals are a rite of passage for thousands of young people every year. However, if you want to have the best time possible, it's best to go prepared...

They might sound romantic and bohemian but, while festivals are a lot of fun, they can also be exhausting and a real eye-opener if you don’t know what to expect. 

Here are a few ways to prepare to have the best time at your first festival:

1. Stick together

Strength in numbers! Even though you might think that you’ll always be with your friends throughout the day and night, it’s very easy to get separated at a festival. It might be useful to have a buddy system so that everyone in your group is with someone at all times. Don’t walk to or through the parking lot or anywhere at a concert or festival alone.

2. Pick a meeting place

 In the event that you do get separated from your group and they can’t hear your calls or your phone is dead, agree on a meeting point should anyone get separated from the group. Make sure everyone is aware that this will be the meeting point for the entire festival should it happen multiple times.

3. Stay hydrated

Bring your own water bottles or check if the venue has water stations and bring a reusable bottle. Sip early and often so you don’t get dehydrated. This is especially important if it’s a very hot or sunny day.

4. Bring a portable charger

Stuff happens, phone batteries run out, maybe you have forgotten where the meeting spot is or need to text your Dad where to pick you up. At a festival or concert, you don’t want to be without your phone so a small portable charger is always a good idea.

5. Wear sunscreen

It’s important to slap on the sunscreen every morning but also to find some shade in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest.

6. Call home

It might feel like a drag but your parents will thank you for it! And it will also make them more likely to trust you if they know you’re willing to check in with them when you’re away.

7. Know how you're getting home

The last thing you need on a Sunday night is to be wandering a rapidly emptying field or venue trying to find a lift home. If your driver leaves early or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, call home for a ride. Never leave the venue with intoxicated friends or with people you’ve just met. New acquaintances may seem nice, but getting in the car with them can be dangerous.

Drugs and Alcohol

Of course, there’s more going on at concerts than just good music. Many people drink alcohol or use drugs at concerts and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter people who are using one or both.

Side Effects – These substances can make people feel energized, happy, or relaxed, but they can also cause horrible side effects like paranoia or suicidal thoughts. Also, drugs can raise your blood pressure and heart rate, which can be a big problem at a hot, crowded festival.

Dehydration – Drinking alcohol at a concert is dangerous as it can cause dehydration. This is a real problem at music festivals as people often hydrate less, overexert themselves and then become overheated. Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions which raises your risk of doing something regrettable or dangerous.

Drink Spiking – There is also the risk that someone may slip drugs into your drink. These drugs can make a person unable to move, think clearly or remember what happened later, setting the victim up to be sexually assaulted or otherwise taken advantage of. Never let your drink out of your sight. If you lose track of it, get rid of it and get another one. Also, never accept drinks from strangers.