© Stephen Arnold / Unsplash

It is finally here. We’ve landed on the first interruption-free festival season since the epoch that feels like ages ago, aka 2019. Father Weather won’t smash Glastonbury over the head with his scythe, NEOPOP Festival announced that Peggy Gou will rock its stage in August, and tent sale season is around the corner. 

Things are good – if not good, at least decent. 

But we can’t escape the two years when our hardcore festie persona was laid-off in a cage. Do we even know what to pack for a fest anymore? Are baby wipes and a pack of gum enough? And, most importantly – do we REALLY have to queue up for the mighty toilet?

It’s not that we completely despise waiting, but for the record, the festival will be gone and dusted by the time we reach the end of the queue. 

Maybe you are a seasoned veteran seeking drastic improvements for the way to festival. Or perhaps you classify yourself as a post-SATs festival lover who has no clue why bringing baby wipes are the nuts and bolts of a festival experience. 

Either way, you need a festival guide bible to lead the way when you are sleeping in rain-sodden fields and need a questionable level of boozy blur to forget the dreadful smell from the port-a-potties. Never forget that festivals are more of a marathon than a sprint. 

So here is a go-to festival guide on how to eat, sleep, party, repeat, and survive in one piece (or with your soul intact, at least). 

1. Hacking your way to the mosh pit 

Before you take the plunge and jump in the eye of the hurricane, you should know the front of the crowd is not for everyone. It’s an excruciating cardio session where others crash into you, bruise you and step on your fresh sneakers like it’s their religion. 

But a festival experience isn’t complete without flaunting your groupie personality traits while front rowing for your fav music hero. 

Just put on your slightly troubled and deeply confused facial expression and tell fellow festival-goers you’ve lost your friends – if they aren’t douches, they will let you squeeze through.

© Vitalina / Pexels

It’s either that or picking the most petite character from your fest cast (the ‘pusher inner’) to be the lead. Nobody is going to tell someone who is 5’3 to fuck off.

2. Set up the holy meeting point 

Getting lost at a festival is easier than taking the wrong turn in the supermarket when you’re five years old. As part of the festival guide, always agree on a meeting point in case anybody gets lost in the aftermath of a discovery adventure or a hunt for a place to pee. It can be next to a stage, food stall, or bar – pretty much anywhere that’s easy to spot, find and follow. 

© astarot / Shutterstock

Honestly, shouting “I’m next to a red flag behind a… WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?” at 2 AM in the spatial proximity of a Nina Kraviz set is mindless torture.

It’s impractical, ill-fated, and it will give you a frustration-fuelled migraine.

Maybe even a sore throat if you are lucky enough to draw the short straw. 

Nobody’s phone will have signal simultaneously, so go to the meeting point and wait for your festival mum and dad to pick you up from kindergarten.

3. Just test it

We’re not advocates of recreational drug use, but we are seasoned enough to know that hell breaks loose at festivals. Don’t fall for the cheap clique that festivals are the go-to destination for taking drugs as a first-comer. Spoiler – it’s not. 

It’s better than tripping on psychedelics while being stuck in the elevator, which makes it a decent place to lose your MDMA virginity – but it’s far from being the ‘it’ location for drug use. 

When it comes to drugs, you have to be sensible with every chapter of the story – from the amount to the seller. 

© etonastenka / Shutterstock

This means you should never buy drugs from the dodgy guy whose product presentation made you realise he is not exactly sure about what he is selling.

If the festival offers on-site drug testing via The Loop organization, you are a stone’s throw away from finding out what you’re about to ingest.

4. Skipping the toilet queue

For your physical health and mental stability, this festival guide advises you to use the toilet as little as possible. There are no words that could ever describe the deadly smell, endless queues, and horrific image of a portable toilet used 3000 times in the last 24 hours. 

© Anita van den Broek / Shutterstock

A very risky method to skip the chain of I-wanna-snort-and-pee characters is to make a queue friend.

Find an unsuspecting person and start chatting about how long the queue is and where they got their festival outfit from.

It’s all about distracting them until they forget you’re a stranger. 

If the buddy up to half the waiting time mission ends with a “Who the fuck are you?”, let the queue know your best friend is in there somewhere and needs someone to hold her hair while she vomits the last G&T.

5. Know where the med tents are

© @bethdrayermovement / Instagram

Med tents are not for pussies – they are for the cool kids.

Every festival should have at least one medical tent, so make sure you know its whereabouts – you never know when you and your fest gang might need it. 

Whether it’s a heatstroke, sprained ankle, or ingesting too many mushrooms, the med tent’s claw is always there to catch you. No, they won’t snitch on you like your friend Oliver says. 

They are the kind of people that write “pleasantly confused” on your report when you’re tripping balls on LSD.

6. Don’t catch up with the people who aren’t the people you came with

Picture this – you just posted the season’s first #OOTF on Instagram and a friend instantly messages you, “OMG, you are at All Points East too?? Let’s meet up! x”. Similar to the adult world social scene, “let’s meet up” will fall in the void of things you mentally plan but never physically accomplish. 

What did you think? That (by miracle) you will find your way to each other, agree on downing shots and spend three hours of Disclosure’s set together? Listen to this festival guide – that won’t (successfully) happen.

© Aranxa Esteve / Unsplash

Honestly, if you don’t want to sober up from trudging across the seemingly endless football pitch while shouting at your two percent battery phone, “I’M WAVING MY HANDS IN THE AIR, CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?”, you better stick with your people. 

7. Please, don’t wear your best outfit

© Cosmin Coita / Shutterstock

No, this isn’t fashion advice – this is part of the practical festival guide. Festivals are not about dressing to impress. They are about wearing outfits that would help you survive 24 hours in the tropical jungle. 

Don’t put on your fav shoes unless you want to see them completely ruined.

There will be mud, people foot-stomping you, and a heart-wrenching amount of alcohol spilled (big thanks to the people who aggressively bump into you although you’re holding a drink).

Forget about suede, cashmere, and risky tops – festivals are supposed to be a freeing experience where you can release your inner party animal. 

There won’t be much fun if you are non-stop thinking about ditching your sweaty, suede pants.

8. FYI, it’s physically impossible to see every artist

Carl Cox, Marshmello, and Steve Aoki headlining at the same festival? Fest pass has been immediately added to the cart. We hate to ruin your “I will see at least one hour of each set” mantra, but it is far from being feasible.

© Anthony Delanoix / Unsplash

Reality hits hard when you realize festivals are massive enough for you to spend hours walking from one stage to another. Trust us on this one – nobody is ready for the physical and mental struggle that comes with attending everything you planned on attending.  

Try to select a few artists that you’re really dying to see – in case you don’t want to spend your precious festival days marching around pastures like you’re in Lord of the Rings.

At the end of the day, it’s a festival – whatever happens, an unforgettable experience is always guaranteed.