Part of the fun of a festival is the unexpected, but a little bit of planning will help you avoid a #FestivalFail of weekend ruining proportions.
Ticket fraud is where you buy tickets from a website but the tickets turn out to be fake or are not sent.
- Always buy your festival ticket from an official outlet affiliated with the event.
- Check the payment pages are secure by looking for a padlock symbol in the address bar, and making sure the website address begins with ‘https’.
- Paying for tickets with a credit card means that generally the card issuer is jointly liable for a failure for goods or services to be provided.
- If you have lost money to a ticket scam, report it to Action Fraud.
Ticket cloning is where someone gets hold of the unique bar code on your ticket, copies it and then either sells the cloned ticket on, or uses it to enter the event before you. If the bar code has already been scanned, when you arrive you won’t be able to get in.
- Don’t post pictures of paper, print-at-home or mobile tickets on social media with the barcode showing before the event happens.
- If you see mates sharing ticket pics online, ask them to #CoverTheCode.
- Don’t take screenshots that show personal information like your first and last name, address, or credit card info to avoid identity fraud.
What To Bring
Packing for a weekend in the fields you want to bring essentials but avoid taking huge amounts of kit that you will struggle to carry. It can be a long walk from the car park to your camp site. Some people bring trolleys to transport their stuff across site, but remember if it’s very muddy they become less useful.
Things get lost and stolen so consider whether you really need to take something before packing it. Find out more about how to avoid theft and things you can do to help lost items find their way back to you.
Think about how much money you'll need while you're at the festival. As well as bars and food stalls, there'll be other things to splash your cash on - like festival merch, vintage clothes and silly hats. You might also have to pay for mundane essentials like car parking if you haven't booked in advance.
Some festivals will run cashless systems - in which case you'll have to top up your festival funds before you arrive on site. Others will be cash only, others might take cards at bars and food stalls. Check the festival website before you leave so you know how to pay. If you're going to be carrying cash, be aware of keeping it safe and protecting yourself against theft.
Weekend Festival Kit List
- ID - avoid taking valuable documents, read more here
- Hand sanitiser (60% alcohol content or more)
- A good tent - read more about all things camping and how to choose the right tent here
- Mallet and tent pegs
- Sleeping bag and pillow
- Roll mat
- Ear plugs
- Wet wipes
- Toiletries - miniature if possible (including sanitary products)
- Medical information - if you have any allergies or medical conditions
- Medication if required - check your festival’s prescribed medication policy
- Plasters and a small first aid kit
- Head torch
- Sun cream
- Wellies or good waterproof boots
- Lots of socks
- Warm jumper
- Waterproof coat
- Bum bag/money belt to carry valuables
- Mobile phone (charged!)
- Portable mobile charger
- Reusable water bottle, to fill up from drinking water points on site
- Enough changes of clothes in case you get wet
- Quick drying leg wear – jeans are not always the best option in the rain as they take ages to dry
- Bin bags - for dirty clothes, keeping things dry and rubbish
Day Festival Kit List
- Hand sanitiser (60% alcohol content or more)
- Pain killers
- Wellies/boots (with socks!)
- Waterproof jacket/poncho
- Warm top with long sleeves
- Mini sun cream
- Mobile phone (charged!)
- Portable phone charger
All packed into a small bag, consider keeping valuables in a bumbag.
What To Leave At Home
- Excess stuff that you can’t take home again
- Excess packaging – if you buy something new, remove all packaging at home
- Portable laser equipment or pens
- Sound systems
- Fireworks or flares
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones)
- Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
- Illegal items
- Any items that could be used in an illegal or offensive manner
Check With Your Festival Before Bringing
- Animals - all events should allow assistance dogs on site
- Professional cameras, selfie sticks and Go-Pros
- Camping chairs
- Gas camping stoves
- Fire pits
- Glass - sometimes even mirrors and perfume bottles will be taken off you
- Packed lunches/food - if you require a special diet contact your event to ensure you can bring food on site
Medicines & Medication
It’s a good idea to bring some over-the-counter medicines for headache, toothache, minor cuts, burns and sunburn. Hay fever sufferers should bring enough nasal spray, eye drops or antihistamine tablets to last through the festival.
If you need medicine and have not brought it with you, the festival medics will be able to help but they can be very busy dealing with more serious incidents so you might have to wait to be seen.
Remember to bring any regular medications you might need (for example inhalers or epi pens). If you take regular medication that must be kept in a fridge (for example insulin), check with your festival before you go whether their medical team can store this for you. Tell the friends you are with where you keep your medication in case they need to access it for you. You may need to bring your authorisation for some prescribed medication. Also note any medication in glass bottles if glass cannot be brought on site.
If you’re travelling abroad for a festival, check the NHS website for recommended vaccinations specific to your destination. An infectious disease is the last thing you want to come home with!
Have You Had Your Measles Vaccination?
In the last few years there has been an increase in outbreaks of measles at music festivals. Measles is very infectious and events where people are mixing closely with each other provide the ideal place for the infection to spread. If you are unsure if you have been fully vaccinated, check with your GP and make an appointment to get the two doses of the MMR vaccine required.
Measles can be more severe in teenagers and adults, with some of the recent cases needing hospital treatment. Be aware of the symptoms of measles, such as a high fever and rash, and don’t attend festivals if you are unwell.
You need to plan your journey to the festival and home again. Check the festival website for directions - they will often share the best postcode to use in your satnav.
Before you leave, carry out a few quick and easy checks to ensure you and your vehicle are safely equipped to drive. Simple checks on things like tyre tread and pressure, and making sure you have plenty of fuel and the oil topped up can all help to prevent breakdowns. Highways England have produced some quick one minute car check instruction videos.
Keep an eye on traffic updates from the Highways England website and social media. They operate England’s motorways and major A roads and provide up to date traffic information of what is currently happening on the roads to help you make informed decisions about your journey.
Highways England also provide a free downloadable mobile app that allows you to check traffic conditions on motorways and major A-roads in England.
You might see road signs specific to the show on roads approaching the site - make sure to follow them, the signs are there to help you get into car parks quickly as possible.
It can be tempting to cram as much stuff (and people!) into the car as possible but overloading a car is uncomfortable as well as dangerous. The extra weight can affect handling and braking.
When you park up, excited to be there and keen to get into the action, consciously make a mental note of which field you are in and where you are parked. It's also a good idea to take a picture on your phone of your parking location. Trudging around 10,000 cars on Monday morning carrying your tent is not fun. Don’t forget to turn off the lights and lock your car before leaving it! If you are a member of a breakdown/recovery service, don’t forget to take their contact details and your membership number with you.
If you are the designated driver you must be fit to drive home when the time comes. Before you drive home make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Queues to leave car parks, especially on the last day, can be very long so you need to factor this in to your journey time.
The return journey from a festival is often the most dangerous as everyone is jaded and less prepared after a weekend of partying. Stay alert and anticipate other road users’ actions. Take regular breaks and stop for a nap if you feel tired. If possible, have a co-pilot who can stay awake to keep you company. This person can read directions and chat to help keep you engaged. Keeping the windows open to provide a supply of fresh air and playing music is another way to help stay alert.
It goes without saying that you must be sober enough to drive home. Read more about drink and drug driving.
Other Ways To Travel
There are plenty of alternative ways to travel including event specific coaches and train services. These mean you don’t have to worry about being sober at home time and are better for the environment too. Check the travel section of your event website for more information. If you’re traveling by coach or train, it’s even more important to pack light!
Staying Off Site
If you are staying off site, always use event approved licenced cabs to travel to and from your accommodation. There will usually be a specific pick up and drop off point for taxis so find out where this is and operating hours.
The Local Community
Events can’t take place without the support of people in the area, so we all need to be respectful of local residents who live near festival sites. Treat shop keepers fairly and if you visit the pub remember that it is somebody else’s local – try not to traipse mud in or behave in an antisocial way. If you’re coming and going late at night, keep the noise down and don’t trespass on people’s property - no garden hopping to find a shortcut back to site!
Registering For ID
Most festivals ask that you bring some form of ID with you. This can be for getting in and out of site but also, if you are lucky enough to look under 25, to prove your age when buying alcohol.
It’s better not to take valuable documents such as passports or driving licences in case they get lost. Instead take a photocopy and check out the UK’s national proof of age accreditation scheme (PASS).
Live music and festivals are for everyone.
If you have specific access requirements to attend an event, check your event website before going to see what is available to you. All events should have an access information page.
All ticketed events should offer a Personal Assistant ticket upon request but you may need to submit a form and evidence to obtain one. You may also need to register before arriving to use additional services such as accessible campsites or viewing platforms.
Everyone should be respectful of the additional services provided for Deaf and disabled customers – don’t use accessible toilets or try to access viewing areas if you don’t need to. Remember that not all disabilities are visible, so try not to make judgements based on how someone looks. You shouldn’t challenge people who are using access services because you don’t think they “look” disabled.
Within a festival community everyone needs to play a part in creating a culture of respect where we are considerate to the different needs of our fellow party goers. Navigating muddy terrain and big crowds can be more difficult for wheelchair users, people with mobility issues and parents with young children. If we all try to be aware of who is around us and the challenges they might be facing then everyone will have a better time.
If you would like to find out more about this topic, or are a Deaf or disabled music fan interested in 'Mystery Shopping' live music then check out the charity Attitude is Everything. They work to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry.