People enjoying and raising their hands in a concert

7 tips for summer music festival survival.

Summer music fests offer up a lot of fun in a big outdoor package, but if you’re not careful, they can also offer up health risks - heat stroke, overdose, dehydration and more.

Some care and preparation can go a long way towards you getting the most out of your experience. Here are seven tips to help you:

1. Play defense

Everyone wants to have fun, but nobody should have to get hurt to have it. Be aware of your surroundings and know your boundaries:

  • Locate the First Aid tent as soon as you arrive onsite.
  • You can never be sure of what you’re actually getting with any street drug. If you use drugs:
    • Use with someone or have someone check on you. Never leave your buddy alone in a tent to ‘sleep it off’. If using with friends, stagger use or have a designated sober person
    • Go slow – try a little bit and see how things go.
    • Don’t mix alcohol and drugs, or multiple drugs.
  • Know the signs of an overdose and how to respond to one. If you see signs of an overdose, call 911 immediately and give breaths (every five seconds) until help arrives. Helping someone who has overdosed does not lead to an arrest.
  • Prevent your risk of drink spiking: don’t leave your drink unattended, including your water bottle.
  • Give yourself space to avoid being trampled.
  • Consent comes before condoms. You always need a ‘YES!’ for sex; people who are inebriated can’t provide consent. If you or a friend have experienced (or think you have experienced) sexual assault or violence, find out where to get help.
  • Make condoms and lube part of your festival fanny pack essentials. Condoms kept in a hot car or wallet may be compromised. If you have had unprotected sex or feel you are at risk, find out where to get tested.

2. Stick with a buddy

Good festival memories come from shared good times, so take care of each other.

  • Make sure your phone is charged.
  • Agree on a meeting place in case you get separated.
  • Plan a safe ride home. 

3. Drink up

It can be hot and sweaty out there, so drink ample water to stay hydrated.

  • Not getting enough water and nutrients can cause muscle cramps and fainting; severe dehydration can send your body into shock, a life-threatening condition.
  • Alcohol and caffeine-heavy energy drinks can dry you out, so make every second drink water. 

4. Be sun smart

The more skin you have exposed, the higher your risk of heat stroke and sunburn - even when it’s hazy or overcast. Make sure you are covered:

  • Apply sunblock of 30 SPF or more. Don’t forget your back, ears, lips and nose. If you are sweating or dipping in the river, remember to reapply.
  • Flower crowns and ball hats don’t provide enough sun protection, so choose a wide brim hat instead.
  • Wear shades that block UVA and UVB rays to protect against eye damage.
  • Carry a long-sleeved cover-up in case you get too much sun and need to take shelter.

 5. Chill out

Avoid the temptation to go non-stop to prevent exhaustion. Prioritize the acts you most want to see, pace yourself and take breaks to eat, drink and recharge. If you or a buddy experiences the following symptoms, hit the First Aid tent:

  • Weakness, dizziness or fatigue;
  • Headache;
  • Nausea;
  • Skin that is pale, cool, and moist

6. Watch what you eat

It’s important to take breaks to eat, drink and recharge. Plus, make sure you wash your hands with soap/water or hand sanitizer before you eat and after you use the washroom.

7. Hear no evil

If you have to shout over the music to be heard, find a spot further away from the speakers to protect your hearing for future concerts.

  • Ear plugs can help lessen the intensity of the sound (including that of snoring camp neighbours).
  • If your hearing seems dulled after 48 hours, then visit your doctor who may refer you to an audiologist for a hearing check.

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