By Jennifer Adams, founder of TV travel series Places We Go, mother of 7 year-old daughter Charli, and lover of the adventurous life.
Festival Survival Guide
Gear up everyone, "tis festival season! Australia does the bulk of it's partying from December to March so it's time to start thinking about your game plan when you hit your event of choice. From Meredith to The Falls, Byron Bay Bluesfest and Port Fairy Folk Festival, there is literally something for everyone and a fantastic excuse for a weekend away with your friends.
I remember going to my first festival in Byron Bay back in 2010, and realising that I had a lot to learn from other festival goers. So here are some survival tricks to help navigate you through the season and ensure your focus is on fun and not what you have forgotten!
"Byron Bay Blues Festival" "Jen and Clint enjoying the atmosphere!" "Soak up the incredible music"
Essential items to take
Whether it is sunny or not, you will spend the majority of your time outside and in the suns rays. Don't get burned and don't end up with unsightly tan lines, by ensuring you take sunscreen and have it on you at all times. Ditto for a hat.
Dehydration is the number one rookie mistake at a festival. Take a reusable bottle and keep refilling It with the free drinking water on site. By the time your body tells you it is thirsty, it is often too late and could mean you miss your favourite act. On that note, pack some electrolytes to keep your body extra hydrated (or top up if you need emergency supplies). Also, bring a big (ie. 10L) bottle of water from the supermarket so you have water at your campsite to wash, drink etc.
You don't want to lug a cumbersome raincoat around and umbrella's are banned, so invest in a poncho that takes up no room in your bag and is easy to dance in!
Take a bandanna or scarf and your sunglasses
You can use the scarf or bandanna around your neck or head to soak up the sun and sweat, you can sit on it, and if there is a lot of dust around, you can even protect your mouth with it. Sunnies will ensure you can see the bands despite the glaring sun!
Pack your clothes in a dry bag or two. Wet weather can ruin your festival experience if it gets into your stuff, so keep it all dry in these protective bags. You can also store wet and muddy clothes and shoes in them when you're done.
Cross Body bag or backpack
Good walking shoes
Thongs and sandals might look great, especially in the sun, but are no good when hundreds of people are dancing on your toes. If it's goong to be wet, bring gumboots (Think mud. Lots and lots of mud).
Music festivals can get LOUD. I know you are there for the music but you will also need to sleep at some stage and ear plugs can be your rescue.
"Our tents in the carpark of the festival"
A tent, warm sleeping bag, pillow and sleeping mat are essential
Don't be one of the people who crash on the ground just anywhere. You need sleep, so you have the energy to keep partying the next day. Stay warm, dry and comfortable with the right tent. Don't assume it will stay warm through the night, depending on where you are, temperatures can drop and I know someone who once ended up with hypothermia! And if your favourite pillow from home is a bit cumbersome, just grab yourself a compact travel pillow!
"Refuge under our Gazebo"
Tarp / gazebo for shade
There are some excellent shade solutions around these days that are easy to transport and put up. Give you and your friends a place to seek refuge during the day out of the sun by bringing a communal gazebo. You can play cards, have a drink and a relax under shade that others will be envious of.
There is no showering at festivals so keep yourself clean and odour free with plenty of wipes! Your fellow party goers will appreciate it!
I can't stress this enough! There is some kind of curse on portaloos which dictates that there is NEVER any toilet paper available. So bring plenty of your own (and toilet seat covers if you are a true germaphobe).
Bring bin bags
Clean up after yourself and your friends by disposing of your garbage correctly!
A power bank to charge things
These days there are lots of devices to charge your tech gear without electricity. You will need your phone for photos, video and communication so keep it juiced up with a portable power kit (and don't drain the car battery).
Fold out table and chairs
Don't sit on the ground all weekend! There are plenty of cheap camping furniture options out there.
Make your campsite recognisable
There is nothing worse than trawling through an endless scape of identical campsites, having no idea where your own is, especially when all you want to do is collapse after being on your feet all day. Make yours stand out in the crowd with a recognisable flag or other beacon so you can easily spot it. At night, a flashing LED bike light on your tent/aerial can also point you to your campsite.
Finally, cash, any medications, and photo ID are essential!
Happy Festival Season!
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