Surviving Summer Festivals

Surviving Summer Festivals: on location @ FVDED IN THE PARK 2015

Summer festival season is upon us and we recently made it back alive and well from Live Nation’s FVDED in the Park held at Holland Park in Surrey featuring headliners Deadmau5 and The Weekend. Massage on the Go set up a mobile massage tent in a cluster of cedars; the only shady respite in the park at this blisteringly red hot event.  We came, we saw some world class music acts, we conquered the sweltering heat and writhing crowds and came away changed from the experience.

Offerings at the Massage on the Go Festival Tent included a UV Prevention massage with SPF factor, an aloe vera UV Recovery & Relaxation massage, Summer Maintenance package with a deep tissue massage, ionic cleanse and body scrub, as well as detox tea and take-home exfoliation scrubs for sale.

Caption: on location @ FVDED IN THE PARK 2015

When attending summer festivals on this scale, there are 3 main factors that may threaten your fun: getting dehydrated, UV over exposure, and of course the safety and hygiene issues involved with large crowds in a contained area.  If you are attending a festival in the future, here are a few tips to help you plan to avoid and manage these issues:

1.) Hydration

Drinking water is a no brainer but it may be difficult to get enough water intake to stay hydrated in hot, sunny weather while also consuming alcohol and physically exerting yourself, a.k.a. dancing your face off.  You can add to your water intake by bringing a mister for your skin or a mini pool to soak in and also eating your water – snacking on foods that contain high amounts of water, that is.  Here are the top hydrating foods to consume:

  • Cucumber – contains 97% water and has a cooling effect on the body
  • Iceberg lettuce – is 96% water and hydrates, vs. other leafy greens like spinach that are actually a diuretic which flush water out of the body.
  • Celery – is 95% water and also naturally saline which will help your body retain some of that water.
  • Radishes – also 95% water and loaded with free radical fighting antioxidants!
  • Tomatoes – 94.5% water and contains lycopene which helps the body naturally resist UV’s as well – bonus!
  • Green Peppers – 94% water
  • Cauliflower – surprisingly this hard crunchy veggie contains 92% water
  • Baby Carrots – have 91% water, 3% more than mature carrots
  • Strawberries & Starfruit – are also 91% water and contain Vitamin C and balancing electrolytes like potassium

Who else is suddenly craving a crudité platter?  When bringing your own food, wash and chop your veggies in advance for space and water saving convenience.  Beware of summer food favourites such as grapes, blueberries, cherries, and watermelon which are actually deceivingly diuretics and will dehydrate you further.  Also avoid caffeinated beverages like Redbull, sodas, coffee and tea which are strong diuretics.  A good rule of thumb for balancing the dehydrating effects of alcohol is 1-for-1: have 1 glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.  In extremely hot (30+) conditions, make it 2-to-1.

2.) UV Exposure

Sunscreen can certainly help prevent a burn, but it won’t protect you from heat stroke. Another problem with sunscreen is getting an even application when you can’t reach your back, your ‘helper’ friend is impaired, and there seems to be a water fight happening everywhere you turn.  Knowing when to reapply your sunscreen is also an issue after a few drinks.

Your best option is to cover up – not usually a popular option at a festival, but what ever happened to leaving a little something to the imagination??  The most vulnerable parts of the body are the head and shoulders so wear sleeves and a dramatic, fashionable sun hat to throw some shade, literally.  You can even amp up the drama and sun safety with an oversize parasol if you like.  Sunglasses are a must to protect your eyes from glare.  If the only reason you are attending a festival is to run around in no more than a furry hood and a tail, at least opt for some body painting as a UV barrier.  You can see when it is wearing off better than sunscreen.

Don’t forget to pack some aloe vera and coconut oil with lavender to soothe and treat any burns that do occur.  Peppermint oil on the neck and temples can ease a headache brought on by UV exposure.

3.) Safety & Hygiene 

Outdoor festivals seem to always have the same challenges when it comes to staying clean and safe in a large, diverse crowd in a closed in space.  Good preparation can mean the difference between having a fun and comfortable time, or getting ill or becoming a victim.  Here is our checklist for festival health and safety:

  1. Go with friends – a peer group will keep you safe in the event you become intoxicated or vulnerable and start making bad decisions.
  2. Know your exits – a large crowd can become very dangerous in a very short time if there is an emergency or panic situation.  Have an escape route planned and know how to get out of there in a hurry.  Note that the best escape route isn’t necessarily the nearest exit where everyone else will be rushing toward in a panic.
  3. Bring your own – food, water, TP and other essential supplies can run out at events and quality control of food and drink, even with the strictest health standards, will always be compromised in an open air (read: dirt, bugs, limited access to water for proper washing) setting.  And never, ever, EVER take candy from strangers, dummy.
  4. Use common sense  – wear proper footwear, assume everything is dirty and bring hand sanitizer, don’t over consume and get out of control in a crowd of people you don’t know, sun + alcohol + dancing = dehydration, and be sunsmart.
  5. Expect the unexpected – how many times have you been in a situation where it would have been so much better if you had just brought _______?  Well, plan for that.  Pack warm clothes and rain gear even if the forecast is for sun.  We live in Canada.  Weather happens.  Bring a mini emergency kit with alcohol swabs, bandaids, gauze, tweezers, a razor, and tensor bandages to treat any minor accidents yourself in the event the on-site medical teams are short staffed or non existent.  Single and looking to mingle?  Have condoms just in case you decide to go there.  Ziplock bags are your best friend for keeping your stuff clean and dry so use them when packing and bring some extra.  Oversize tarps (don’t forget the rope and tent poles) are great for creating shelter from sun, rain or hail damage.

One thing you can count on, festivals get crazy.  Following this survival guide can help you thrive in this chaotic environment so you can make the most of your festival memories.