How to Stay Safe At Festivals

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 20, 2021

Going to a festival is fun and exciting. You can see musical performances, connect with friends, make more friends, and generally have a great time. However, with the large crowds, often high temperatures, and increase of illicit substances, it can be challenging to keep up with your body and health amidst all the chaos. Read on to learn more about how you can protect yourself while enjoying festivals. 

Before you head to the festival, you may want to consider a few critical variables to ensure your comfort, safety, and well-being.

Scope the environment. When you first buy your ticket, or perhaps right after you get into the venue, be sure to study the map and general organization of the festival. Make sure you know where the exits are and plan out a meeting place in advance in case you get separated from the people you're with. Knowing the layout of a venue can be crucial to dealing with unexpected situations.

Dress for the weather. Most festivals take place in warm weather. If you know there will be intense sun or heat, make sure to plan for it. Bring along sunscreen, hats, and other sun-protective equipment. If there is any chance of other weather or environmental factors, like snow or wind, be sure to dress appropriately.  

Bring along hydration.  Depending on the festival you're attending, you may or may not be able to bring along water. If you can bring water, you definitely should. Hydration is critical in these crowded events. This is doubly true if you will be drinking alcohol or doing illicit drugs.  

Eat before the festival. With all the excitement of the festival, you may forget or not be able to eat at your regular times. Be sure to eat before you go so you are adequately nourished for the big day. 

Plan your way home. Before leaving for the festival, reach out to your friends and family. Make a plan for how you'll get home and budget for the transportation. This way, you won't have to worry about making a plan after a long day at the festival, and you can be confident of a safe arrival back home. 

Currently, the CDC still does not recommend going to large public gatherings. There is no getting around the fact that attending a large music festival will increase your exposure to COVID-19 and its variants. Consider COVID-19 cases in your community, your exposure to immunocompromised people, and your health before deciding to attend a large music festival. 

While at the festival, make sure to check in with your mind and body frequently. You can take care of yourself even while having fun.

Watch your alcohol consumption. If you are drinking alcohol, keep track of how many drinks you're having. In a large, exciting, hot environment, the drinks can add up. Before you realize it, you can make yourself sick. Try to temper your alcohol consumption by drinking water and remaining hydrated to avoid this.

Avoid drugs you are unsure about. Party drugs like ecstasy, LSD, or meth can be adulterated in festival environments. You don’t know where they're from, what they may have in them, or their strength. If you are going to take them, proceed with caution and do not mix them with alcohol. 

Seek medical attention if you need it. No one wants to have a medical emergency during a fun festival, but your health and wellness are most important. Most festivals will have a medical tent on-site. Be sure to visit it if you feel confused, hot, are vomiting, or are seizing

Remember, your mental health matters. Large crowd environments can be very overwhelming. Notice if it gets too much, and ask a buddy if you can move away from the loudest or most crowded areas. Find a place that is quieter so you calm down. Nowadays, most festivals will have an area especially for this. Additionally, many drugs and substances taken at festivals can cause you to move out of your normal state of mind. Remember that and avoid making big decisions while under their influence.

Keep your values. Remember what is right for you and stick by it. If you don’t want to try drugs or drink alcohol, don’t! 

Look out for your friends. Watch out for your friends just as you would look out for yourself. Keep them close, and don’t be afraid to take them to the medical tent if they need it. 

Show Sources


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Events & Gatherings.”

HealthyFamiliesBC: “6 Steps to Stay Safe at Festivals and Events.”

Mayo Clinic Health System: “4 safety tips for summer festivals.”

Your Room: “Party safe: Top tips to stay safe at music festivals.’

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