Festival 101: your festival survival guide

When the world is your oyster, festival season lasts all year long.  From Indio’s Coachella to Somerset’s Glastonbury to Rajasthan’s Magnetic Fields, every festival provides a unique experience.

As you prepare to “rough it”, we’ve rounded up some top tips to create your go-to survival guide to make it through a festival in one piece.

Sleeping beauty  
You’ll need a tent plus a sleeping bag and roll mat (and no, a yoga mat is not suitable).  Campsites at festivals are usually loud, especially at night.  For an uninterrupted night’s sleep, pack an eye mask and heavy duty earplugs.

Festival tech
A torch is essential.  You could use your phone, but you will already be burning through your battery so pack a mini torch for your bag, or a head torch so you can be hands-free.

Your phone will get a lot of use at a festival. From checking timings, taking photos, tracking your friends, it’s going to run out of juice faster than you think. So take a phone battery pack with you as well as a portable charger.

Stay safe in your tent with a portable carbon monoxide alarm (available here and use discount code SAFETOUR for an extra 10% discount).  Other festival-goers will be using heating and cooking devices of varying age and efficiency, and the alarm will warn you if poisonous gas from nearby lit and extinguished BBQs or fire is heading your way.

Stick with your friends, avoid walking back to your tent on your own and create a Whatsapp group to keep tabs on your group.  You might feel safer with a personal alarm or whistle.

What to do if you need help
Most festivals have information points for help, advice and lost property.  There are medical areas if you are feeling unwell.

In an emergency, call the local emergency services (eg 112 in Europe or 911 in the US).  Check the emergency number of the country you are visiting before you go.

If your passport is lost you can apply for emergency travel documents to get back to the UK.  It’s a good idea to keep a copy or photo of your passport. If it’s been stolen, you’ll need to get a police report.  You will need to fill in an online application form, pay £100 (online or at the consulate in local currency) and go to your nearest British embassy or consulate to complete the process.

Food and drink
Temperatures during festivals can soar, so stay hydrated. Take a refillable bottle and make use of the water taps around the festival site.

Everyone wants to have a good time at festivals, but if you’re drinking alcohol, make sure you drink a glass of water in between to help keep you hydrated.

And don’t share your drinks or accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. It’s better to buy and pour your own drinks to reduce the risk of your drinks getting spiked.

Disposable BBQs are popular at festivals.  But avoid the temptation to bring the BBQ into your tent to keep warm or dry.  Lit and extinguished BBQs can produce large amounts of deadly carbon monoxide gas and in a confined space can cause serious illness or even death.


Laws and customs can be different in other countries with severe penalties for drug possession, including heavy fines, imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Pack paracetamol for your hangover and immodium to avoid the portaloos.

Toiletry Must Haves and beauty basics
We know you’ve got lots of gorgeous lotions and potions, but there are just five festival wash bag essentials: loo roll and lots of it, biodegradable baby wipes, sun cream (at least factor 30), dry shampoo and hand sanitiser.

If you’re travelling to a festival abroad, you’ve probably already reduced your makeup kit to comply with airport security rules. Just take the absolute essentials.

Cross Body or Belt Bag
Being hands-free is really useful at a festival.  You need something that’s not too big for when you are throwing shapes and scoffing veggie burgers, but that can keep your valuables – including your passport and travel documents – safe.

Some festivals provide lockers, which is useful for storing the rest of your luggage.

Most festival revellers are rocking in cut off denim shorts.   Even when dirty, shorts still exude festival-chic.  A sun hat can help disguise your unwashed hair as well as helping you keep cool. Make sure you have a waterproof coat, and take warm hoodie because the nights can get chilly. Pack plenty of tee shirts and boots/wellies that can take a battering, with thick socks to avoid blisters.

Published on 25/06/19

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