top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Rob Colbert

First Fest Fun: Your Guide to a Safe and Epic Festival Experience (Therapy-Friendly Edition)

Pumped for your first festival?

Music, dancing, good vibes – festivals offer a unique experience for people of any age to lose yourself in the moment. But with all the excitement, it's important to be prepared and prioritize safety, especially if you're undergoing therapy or taking medications. Here's your one-stop guide to getting the most out of your first festival adventure, while minimizing risks.

Planning Makes Perfect

Before the music starts, a little research goes a long way. Familiarize yourself with the festival layout. Most websites have detailed maps highlighting stages, food vendors, and essential facilities like medical tents. Download the festival app if available – it can be your lifeline for set times, artist bios, and hidden gems you might miss. Festivals offer so much more than headliners. Check out smaller stages for hidden gems, explore art installations, or simply relax in designated chill zones.

Packing for a festival is like creating a survival kit for a mini adventure. Here are some must-haves:

  • Comfortable Shoes: You'll be walking and dancing all day, so prioritize comfort over style. Opt for breathable shoes that can handle dirt, mud, and potentially long distances.

  • Weather-appropriate Clothing: Pack layers for unpredictable weather. Consider a raincoat, light jacket, and clothes you can easily adjust to stay cool or warm depending on the forecast and the change in temperature from day to evening.

  • Sunscreen and a Hat: Sun protection is essential. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you're spending time near stages.

  • Reusable Water Bottle: Save money and the environment by bringing a reusable water bottle you can refill throughout the festival. Staying hydrated is everything.

  • Snacks and Electrolytes: Pack light snacks to keep your energy levels up between meals. Electrolyte drinks or tablets can help replenish essential minerals lost through sweating.

  • First-Aid Kit: Pack basic first-aid supplies like bandaids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

  • Cash or a Charged Phone: Some festival vendors might not accept cards. Carry a limited amount of cash or ensure your phone is fully charged for contactless payments.

  • Hearing Protection: Loud music is a defining feature of festivals, but it can also damage your hearing. Pack a pair of earplugs specifically designed for concerts, like Eargasm earplugs. These earplugs reduce noise levels while preserving the quality of the music.

And Now, Some Pro-Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

  • Pace Yourself. Excitement can be contagious, but remember to pace yourself with everything – from dancing to alcohol or any substances you might choose to consume. Take breaks, listen to your body, and remember that it's okay to say "no, I think I've had enough (dancing, alcohol, people, etc)".

  • Look Out for Each Other. Go with friends you trust and keep an eye out for one another. Use the buddy system or have a pre-planned meeting point for finding one another in case you get lost.

  • Be mindful of medications. Stick to your medication schedule as much as possible. Set reminders on your phone or bring a pill organizer for easy management. Make sure and ask if your medication interacts with or might be dangerous to take with other substances.

  • Say perhaps to drugs. It is ok to not know everything, and to say no if you do not feel confident in taking a substance or if it might interact with other medications., and offer useful information about possible drug interactions, so make sure to look for information from reliable sources about the drugs and medications you are taking. 

  • Be mindful of the source for drugs and other substances. It is a good idea to also have a trusting relationship with the person(s) who you get substances from. If you don’t know the person, ask what they know about the drugs, if they’ve taken them, and make sure to test any substances you get from them. If you find a ground score baggy of powder, test it first!

  • Test substances. Bunk police, and Dance Safe sell substance testing kits, and often have volunteers at festivals and concerts who have testing kits you can use.

  • Never use alone. Always let your friends know what substances you are planning to ingest, and never use while alone in your tent or camper. It is important to have someone who can respond in case of emergency, even if you all intend to be taking substances together.

  • Start low and go slow. You can always take more drugs, but you can’t take less. Festival and concert experiences can sometimes be crowded or overwhelming, so it is important to monitor how much or how often you ingest substances. It is always ok to take smaller amounts, and gradually increase if you feel safe and comfortable. 

  • Hydration is even more crucial. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you're not thirsty. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke, fatigue, and worsen the effects of alcohol or drugs. Certain drugs and medications can increase dehydration.

  • Consider alternatives. If you're unsure about using substances at the festival, explore alternative ways to enhance your experience. Consider meditation spaces, yoga classes, or workshops offered by some festivals.

Festivals are about having fun, feeling the music, and connecting with ourselves and a larger community. By being prepared, prioritizing safety, and making informed choices, you can ensure a fantastic and safe first-time festival experience. So, embrace the music!

1 view


bottom of page