Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety

For years, music festivals have been a pastime of millions of people around the world. More than 32 million people attend festivals annually, 1,240 of them being in the U.S. alone. With festival season upon us and growing attendance numbers, we have to make sure we are up-to-date on the best safety practices and what risks to look out for.

Of course we don’t like to think of the bad things that can happen at festivals but sadly, assaults, robberies, and bodily injury can occur at any festival. In order to prevent these instances and be prepared if they do occur, we’ve put together a list of 9 tips that will help you have a safe and fun festival season. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Stay Hydrated

Bringing some water and a few snacks to festivals is never a bad idea, as long as the festival allows outside food and drink. Since festivals take place in the summertime, keeping yourself cool and hydrated is an integral part to having an enjoyable experience. Most all festivals allow concert goers to bring in reusable water bottles and use hydration stations to get water throughout the day out.

Becoming dehydrated or getting heat exhaustion can be very dangerous, so stay ahead of the game and always have water nearby. Remember, if you’re enjoying some alcoholic drinks, you may become dehydrated faster, so alternate between alcoholic drinks and water. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Protect Your Skin

Being out in the sun can be great for those who like to get their tan on, but ending the day with a painful sunburn is never a good experience. Before you go to the festival, purchase some of your favorite SPF sunscreen, maybe even a travel size to keep in your bag during the day. Apply the sunscreen liberally throughout the day, ensuring that you get those forgettable spots like your ears and your back. Along with this, find a shady spot to take a rest from the sun in between songs.

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

This is a big one that can make a huge difference in emergency situations. Thousands of all different types of people gather for festivals every year and in the past few years there has been an increase in theft at festivals, particularly around cell phones. To protect yourself and your festival pals, keep a keen eye out for the things going on around you. 

If you carry a bag or purse, make sure it is able to be sealed so no one can easily reach inside. If you have a drink, make sure the top is covered so nothing can get slipped in it. Do not bring any valuables or excessive amounts of cash with you in case anything gets lost or stolen. 

Keep an eye out for people crowd surfing above you, the beginnings of a mosh pit, or items being tossed around. Take note of exits and where security guards may be standing in case you need to leave the area in a hurry or get help. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Buddy System

It is highly recommended to travel in groups or pairs in well-lit areas to avoid theft or in the worst case scenario, an assault. In the event that you are separated from your festival friends, pick a safe meet up spot where you can reconvene the fun. Ensure you have a way to contact your friends as well as all of their up-to-date contact information. If you have medical conditions, make your friends aware of them in the event you need medical attention. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Protect Your Ears

Always wear ear plugs. At any average festival, you can suffer permanent hearing damage within just 5 minutes. Have you ever had a buzz or ring in your ears after going to a festival or concert? The damage can also be caused by overburdening your ears, when you are exposed to noises over 80 decibels too long or too often. The sound volume is mostly about 90 to 100 decibels at outside stages. Inside a festival tent or concert hall, this would be between 95 and 110 (or more) decibels. 

Using earplugs, you can stay at an average festival or concert all day long (8 hours) without any problems. There are also noise filtering ear plugs that reduce the decibel level to a safe level and also allow music to be enjoyed.

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

See Something, Say Something

Watch for anyone acting suspicious or getting too close to people, and speak up if you notice anything that could affect yours or others’ safety. Examples can be seeing smoke, someone on the ground in need of medical attention, or suspicious backpacks left unattended. Trust your instincts! Report anything you are even slightly concerned about because it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Avoid Risky Behavior

If you have to think about a decision you’re about to make, you probably shouldn’t make it. Taking drugs or alcohol from random people or someone you don’t entirely trust is a very risky choice that could leave you in a dire emergency.

Many festivals now have Narcan stations where you can pickup the nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Festivals also allow attendees to bring in the spray in case you see someone in trouble possibly in an overdose situation.

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Dress For the Occasion 

Absolutely take every chance you get to wear your favorite colorful festival outfits, but make sure that they are comfortable and appropriate for the weather that day. If it’s going to be hot out, wear an outfit that will keep you cool and bring a poncho in case of rain. 

Always have a comfortable pair of shoes. A safe option would be classic tennis shoes or any supportive shoe that covers your toes. Other shoes like sandals or high heels could lead to some squashed toes or twisted ankles in the crowds, not to mention sore feet from walking all day. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Be Prepared

The best advice for festivals is to always think one step ahead. Every aspect of the festival should be thought out ahead of time. Check that your phone is completely charged before heading to the festival, drink lots of water, put on your sunscreen, and pick out an outfit beforehand. It is always a good idea to carry a portable phone charger. You will be busy capturing memories in photos and videos on your phone and it can quickly run down the battery so make sure you have a backup on hand.

Put your wallet or form of payment on your person, preferably in a bag that can be sealed, and leave your valuables at home. Have a conversation with the people you will be attending the festival with about your safety plan, their contact information, and where to go if you get separated or have to evacuate. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Safety
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Have Fun!

Make sure that you take the time to enjoy the experiences you’re having. Go with people who you enjoy being around and take a break from taking pictures and videos to see the show before you with your own eyes. Festivals can be a once in a lifetime experience or something you do all the time, but make each time memorable, safe, and fun. 

Words by Emily Cigan @emily.cigan and Amy Harris @thetraveladdictig

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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