A seasoned festival-goer shares her tips to stay well

Summer is here and with this season comes one of life’s greatest pleasures, festivals. Whether you enjoy the camping, the food and wine, the music and art, or a make-shift festival in your backyard, there are several factors to consider.  

I’m not saying I’m a festival guru, but I’ve attended many festivals throughout my life, and I wish I had known earlier what I know now.

It may sound obvious, but it’s by far the most important to keep yourself hydrated.

Even if the festival you’re attending is two hours long, drink water.

The heat in December doesn’t even come close to the obnoxiously scorching sun that arrives in February, and the last thing you want on your holiday is dehydration and sun stroke.

I’ve often thought I could win against the sun, but you really can’t. Festivals are also usually accompanied with booze, which is brilliant for a few drinks with your mates. Make sure you have a glass of water in between each drink and don’t take it too far (we’ve all been there).

So, what to pack? I won’t list socks, t-shirts and pants, but some things you should definitely bring if staying overnight include: an environmentally friendly solution to wet wipes, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, a waterproof poncho, warm clothes, and a solar-powered phone charger. I repeat, a solar-powered charger.  

Regarding the wet wipes, packing something like reusable flannels will be your environmentally friendly holy grail, just be sure to keep the used ones in a separate bag from the rest of your belongings. No showers? A wet flannel. Drink spillage? A flannel.

Equally as important is sunscreen. Attending a festival, you often get lost in the pure joy of it all, and what many of us tend to forget is slip, slop, slapping and wrapping. Areas like the face, scalp, ears, back of the legs and shoulders are often forgotten about and are the areas that cause the most pain the following day. So, make sure you pack sunscreen and reapply every couple of hours.

Warm clothes and a waterproof poncho are needed even at a New Zealand summer festival. I have never been colder than when I slept two nights at Northern Bass with a thin blanket and one hoodie. For a country that is so hot in the day, it can be icy cold at night, especially when in a tent. The waterproof poncho will be your best friend if the weather decides to pack in, and you’ll be glad you can still dance the night away.

Last but certainly not least on the packing list is a solar-powered charger. Unless you’re doing a detox from your phone, you’ll likely need it with all the photos, videos, and ‘where are you?’ texts you’ll be sending.

And if you’re making the most of a festival, you may as well dress up. Instead of purchasing new, take a look in your local op-shop or raid a dress-up box. No one’s going to judge you, in fact you’re likely to get more compliments and make more friends the more creative you are. Almost everyone is on a good buzz and I can guarantee that you and your friends will have the best time if you all get on board.

To end the festival weekend, I recommend you plan to pack up and leave first thing in the morning or hang around till later. There is nothing worse than being stuck in traffic full of tired and cranky people trying to make their way back to civilisation.

Although R&V, Northern Bass, Rhythm and Alps and Joes Farm have passed, there are still plenty more festivals Kiwis can attend for the remainder of the summer. I’ve listed some of my picks below.

Summer Sounds Music Festival – 16 January

First We Eat: Food & Wine Festival – 30 January

Dimension Electronic Music & Arts Festival – 5 February

One Love Festival – 5-7 February

Summer Classic – 6 February 2021

Flamingo Pier – 6-8 February

Sunsetter Food, Wine & Music Festival – 13 February

Sonorous – 14-16 January

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival – 20-28 February

Electric Avenue – 27 February

Touch Bass – 4 April

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