SPG Festival Survival Guide – Written by Jack Shannon

You did it! You actually did it! You scored tickets to the hottest festival of the summer! You have friends, booze and the cheapest tent you could lay your hands on. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, lots of things. Like, an entire article worth of things, can in fact go hideously, hideously (and in some cases, hilariously) wrong. But never fear, The SPG is here to give you the ultimate festival survival guide for 2014! So, what could possibly go wrong…?

Love it or loathe it, mud is a part of life at a festival. When you have tens of thousands of sexy young people jumping up and down in a field, combined with the inevitable downpour of rain, the ground suddenly looks like a hippo’s face mask.

Before long, the mud is sucking your previously pristine trainers in like a dodgy landlord. You go to your tent to get away, but mud has got into there as well! Eventually, you go home and block up the shower drain after taking half the field back with you.

There’s not much that can be done apart from keeping calm and carrying on TBH. But there are a couple of things you can do to minimise the muddiness:

  • Wellies are your friend. Don’t forget them.
  • Shove two spare tent pegs in the ground to put your boots on while inside your tent. Stops Mud from getting inside.
  • Keep your phone and wallet in a zip-up sandwich bag to keep them dry and mud-less.
  • A bin bag with three holes for your head and arms makes a great improvised poncho.
  • When mud-wrestling, it is generally considered bad form to use a steel chair.

Good news: Last year, crime at Glastonbury was at its lowest ever (Source: The Metro).Bad news: This won’t be much of a consolation if your phone gets nicked.

With any large gathering of dancing, happy people there will always be a few jerks trying to ruin it by stealing everything that isn’t nailed down.

The obvious answer is, don’t have anything worth stealing. Leave the MP3 player at home! You are going to a festival to listen to live music, non-stop for days on end! You don’t need it with you.

The same applies to passports, jewellery that isn’t made of plastic and your mum’s priceless Ming vase (what on earth were you thinking?!?)

Unless your tent has a locking front door for some reason, it will be fairly easy to get into. Sadly, this is just a fact of life as unless you are willing to spend the entire weekend in your tent on constant alert, you are going to have to leave it alone at some stage. Festival thieves are not planning the sequel to Oceans 13. Most of the time they will be looking for quick, opportunistic things to nick. For that reason, it’s best to keep everything at least an arm’s length away from the tent entrance and hidden under something. It’s a brave thief who will grab a can of lager in exchange for touching your dirty underwear. Unless he is there to steal underwear of course…

So that being said, stay safe, and bear the following in mind:

  • If you can, leave valuables at home.
  • Take your phone and wallet with you everywhere.
  • Don’t leave anything on display, either in your tent or the car.
  • Take note of where the police and security are at the festival.
  • Let the police/security know if someone’s acting dodgy.
  • Drugs are bad Mmm’kay.

Festival romance can be a beautiful thing. Boy meets girl. Boy buys girl an overpriced cider in a plastic cup. Girl invites boy to meet her boring friends and eat supermarket own brand sausages cooked on a disposable barbeque. Boy plays some awful song he wrote on an out of tune guitar. Girl goes back to boy’s tent and…rest is history.

But unless you take some sensible measures, that summertime fling can have some unwanted consequences. STIs and pregnancy can ruin an otherwise great weekend. To make sure the only thing you take back is a mobile number, and not a bright purple, itchy set of genitals, The SPG has got your back.

The obvious solution is, take precautions. And no, that doesn’t mean making sure you have a big enough sleeping bag! Condoms are a must. Although not every form of contraception is perfect, condoms can help prevent the spread of a range of nasties. And they don’t have to be boring! Ribbed and flavoured Johnnys are fun for everybody. You can even get glow in the dark ones! At least she’ll never say “I can’t find it!” ever again…

  • Respect yourself and your body.
  • Never let yourself get talked into something you don’t want to do.
  • And while we’re at it, respect other people’s boundaries. Play nice.
  • All together now: USE A CONDOM! If used properly, they can protect you against both STIs and pregnancy. Keep some near your sleeping bag and some in your wallet, depending on whose tent you go back to.
  • If your method of contraception fails, or you forget, the morning after pill is available either free with a prescription or alternately, Levonelle can be taken up to 72 hours after sex and is available over the counter.
  • If something looks or feels strange after unprotected sex, speak to your GP or go to www.thesticlinic.com for more advice.

You ate a dodgy burger from the burger van, and now you are in the portaloo from hell, holding your ankles while a chocolate shot-gun erupts around you. What went wrong?

Food poisoning is one of the quickest ways to ruin a good time at a festival. Vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps are a dead giveaway something disagreed with you. Follow a few simple steps to reduce the chances of this happening to you:

  • Stay away from dodgy catering vans. Does the equipment look clean? Does the food look properly cooked? Has the chef used a roll to blow his nose?
  • Ensure all food on a barbeque is cooked until the juices run clear and no pink meat is visible when cut open. Separate utensils for raw and cooked food should be used.
  • Stay hydrated and pack plenty of water.
  • Keep your food and drinks out of the mud.
  • Remember, the coolest thing you can be – is free from food poisoning.