Staying safe at festivals
A number of festivals have decided to go ahead this summer, including Reading and Leeds, and parents are starting to worry just as their kids get excited!
This summer will be different, after a very long year of Covid, with some young people potentially embracing hedonism as they are ‘let out’ again, whilst others possibly experiencing high levels of anxiety about being in crowds again after such a long time.
Below are some tips and signposts for parents and young people – all of which will help young festival goers to have an amazing time, and their parents worry a little less! Festivals can be such a great experience and loads of fun. The safer everyone is, the better time all round.
With thanks to Luke Laws, manager at Fabric nightclub and seasoned festival-goer.
- Drugs will be around more than anywhere else many have been before, so have conversations at home around staying safe beforehand. See our FAQs on this and check out harm reduction information on drugsand.me
- Be aware about security and legalities too – there’ll be security checks which could include random searches and sniffer dogs, which could lead to bans and arrests.
- Pack an old (non-smart) phone or amazing battery pack (or both) – smart phone batteries will run flat fast with thousands searching for WiFi in one place, and it’s important to be able to contact friends – or call home – if needed.
- Take a big water bottle – queues for taps can be huge, and there’s a temptation to skip it if a great band is about to start, but dehydration is risky, and also changes the risks of alcohol and drugs.
When you get there
- Mark out tent(s) so they’re easy to find in the massive sea, for example with a scarf or flag, or note a local landmark.
- Get your bearings and find the welfare and medical area – just in case it’s needed
- Arrange a regular meet-up point and times with your friends – it’s easy to get separated, or to choose to do different things, and phone contact can be unreliable.
Staying safe during the event
- Stick together and look out for each other – check in regularly with anyone who’s been taking drugs or drinking
- Be aware that heat and dehydration change the effects of substances
- Buying drugs at festivals is extra risky – the dealers don’t know you and don’t care
- Use drug checking (such as The Loop) for friends using drugs, and have conversations with the counsellors in and around their tent
- If anything goes wrong for one of your group, get help from a member of events staff or the welfare/medical team. See the drugs and alcohol first aid information on this website or watch our FAQs.
- If you feel down or worried go and talk to someone – it can be much harder to cope with your own difficult stuff if everyone else seems to be having a great time
- Remember the same rules apply in festivals as everywhere else! There can be a great sense of freedom at a festival, but drugs have just the same risks as anywhere else, and more so in many cases.