Summer is just around the corner which means great craic coming up in the Irish summer. Whether you are from Ireland or just visiting, festivals are the perfect excuse to travel to vibrant cities like Dublin and places you had no idea even existed if it wasn’t for the festival. Every year millions of enthusiastic festival-goers give up their luxury lives for a few days to enjoy their favourite music, sunshine (if you’re lucky) and great atmosphere. With festivals such as Longitude, Body and Soul, Electric Picnic and Forbidden Fruit coming up, we’ve decided to share some survival tips to get you through the season.
1. Plan Ahead
Everyone who has ever been to a festival before knows that one simply cannot just go to a festival without experiencing several levels of stress. It starts when you get your hands on the time-table and have to decide which artist is worth missing out on. ‘Years & Years are on at 3. If I go there first, I could leave halfway through and still see most of Tove Lo’s set which started at 3.15’. – This is some serious planning, guys! Feeling the stress already?
It’s also a good idea to think about what to bring to the festival food-wise. Food is expensive (and usually not very healthy) at festivals, so I’d say save money where you can. It’s best to bring food that can be eaten on the go and isn’t much effort. Cereal bars and just add boiling water dinners are the way to go! For those whose diet is a little better, pre-made meals that can just be heated on a small cooker keep surprisingly well in cooler bags!
Transport-wise there is also some planning involved. How are you getting to the festival? Nowadays public transport to festivals is arranged very well. Shuttle buses get you to the most remote places such as Stradbally for Electric Picnic or Bundoran for Sea Sessions. However, if you decided to stay the weekend and camp out, it might be wise to arrange your own transport, preferably a carpool with a few mates, see if you can get out of driving as you might be a bit delicate by the end of the festival!
2. Be on time
It all starts when you are struggling to enter the Electric Picnic camping site with half your wardrobe, beauty case, food supplies and massive tent (preferably in one go too, because effort). The sooner you get there, the better choice you have and the shortest distance you have to walk. However, if you are a person that requires a decent sleep to function the next day, it might be wise to stay at one of the camping sites that is a bit further from the festival venue, because I’m telling you, those after-parties will go on until the early hours.
At the festival itself, time management is an important skill as well. If you wish to be front row for Kodaline at Indiependence Music Festival, make sure you are there before the band before finishes. You might have to compromise and sit through an act you don’t necessarily want to see, but trust me, it’s worth it in the end. Nothing beats seeing your fav from up close! Another trick you could use is to pretend to be looking for your non-existent friend who is front row already, sure it’s only a little white lie.
3. Beating the weather
While you are only away for a couple of days, it can be quite challenging to pick the right clothing for a festival. The best way to describe the festival season is: sunny, rainy, cold, too hot – all in one day! The best thing to do is wear several layers of clothing, which you can take off/put on whenever it gets too hot/cold (this actually applies to every day in Ireland).
As for protection, you might want to bring sunnies, a hat and sun screen. Even when the sun is not that strong, it can still give you that fabulous tomato face at the end of the day. Are you sure you want your fav to remember you like that?
Also make sure to drink enough water (2L) throughout the day. Most festivals sell water and have fountains in various places where you can fill your bottle. While nothing beats having a pint in the sun while listening to your favourite tunes, the beer and sunshine can seriously dehydrate you. Not to mention, it gets you drunk way faster, which affects everyone’s experience – don’t be that person.
Since you are in Ireland, expect it to rain at your summer festival. Make sure to bring two of the most essential festival items to exist: a poncho and wellies. These will keep you dry and mud-free. Remember, festivals are not a fashion show and it’s all about what is comfortable and practical.
You never really appreciate your shower and toilet at home until you have been at a festival. While queues are often really long, dry shampoo and wipes could be a real life saver and keep you fresh for the day. If you do want to take a shower, try to go at unusual times like really early or during the day to avoid the queue. Also make sure to wear flip-flops – those showers have been used by many people.
As for the toilets, there’s no real solution to this problem yet, except bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Once you’re next in the endless queue at Longitude Festival there is only one thing to do and that is: get in, do your business and get out as fast as you can – your own toilet paper will hold some comfort to the situation. Oh, and try not to breathe.
5. Have fun
The most important and self-evident piece of advice that I can give you, is to simply have fun. Music is an important element at every festival, but in the end, it’s all about the craic. So dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, talk to that cute guy you have been making eye contact with during the entire Gorgon City set at Forbidden Fruit Festival and just enjoy. Don’t let the small things ruin the wonderful experience that is an Irish music festival!
N.B. It’s completely normal to feel disgusting and sleep deprived at some point – you’re doing great, keep going! Remember everyone is just as disgusting as you by the end of it!