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The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart of Student Services

Stay Well at Festivals

Published: 14 August 2019
Crowd dancing near a stage at night

The summer months bring a number of festivals all over the UK and abroad. Getting “festival ready” can mean buying new outfits, stocking up on snacks, and figuring out how many people can cram into a tent, but it’s also really good to prepare ways that you can look after your wellbeing. Festivals are a fun way to spend time with your friends and seeing your favourite bands, but the sensory overload of the music, lights, and people can lead to anxiety and panic attacks, even if this is something you usually don't experience.

Looking after yourself

  • Read up before you goThis Survival Guide covers every part of a festival, from before you go to when you arrive home again.
  • Get enough sleep – if you’re up late, try to sleep in or nap in the day.
  • Take some ear plugs and an eye mask to help you sleep, even if the environment isn’t ideal.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Wear sun cream to avoid spending the rest of the festival hiding in the shade!
  • Download apps like Calm and Headspace – practise a guided meditation when you get a spare five minutes.
  • Mind have some relaxing and calming exercises here.
  • Stick with a friend – there’s safety in numbers!
  • Know your limits - visit the Change, Grow, Live site for more information.  
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself to have the perfect time: it’s important to remember that a few small things might go wrong, and you might not always feel great, but that’s normal.

 

Help from others

  • Scout out the welfare tent as soon as you arrive – many festivals have Mental Health First Aiders who can listen non-judgementally, and give you short-term support.
  • Chill Welfare staff work at festivals to keep people safe by reducing the harms caused by alcohol and other drugs, support mental wellbeing and promote sexual health.
  • Samaritans have volunteers at a number of festivals that you can chat to if you’re feeling low or overwhelmed. If they aren’t at your festival, give them a call for free any time of day.
  • If you’re not near the welfare tent when you need support, security staff, stewards and campsite staff will be able to help you or to direct you to someone who can. If it’s an emergency and you cannot find staff, call 999.
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