Group of people at a music festivalIt’s time to dig out your wellies, dust off your tent and hunt for that hard-earned ticket you spent ages queuing online for. The festival season is upon us.

Whether you’re off to an intimate affair like the Secret Garden Party, or descending upon the pop-up sensation that is Glastonbury – the festival checklist is always the same.

Wellies: check. Trendy (or outrageous) hat: check. A waterproof tent: well, fingers crossed.

Even if you do forget something, you can usually improvise – ask anyone who’s ever rocked the bin-bag poncho look.

But even so, there are a few small things well-worth taking. Don’t forget these five festival essentials.


Man with a backpack drinking from a waterbottle

You’ve woken up in your tent with a headache. Your throat feels as dry as the Sahara desert. These are signs of dehydration. Luckily the humble water bottle (filled up at the free water point beforehand) will quench your thirst and rehydrate you.

Hot weather, drinking alcohol, long hours spent exploring the festival, excessive sweating in crowds and vomiting – these can all lead to dehydration.


The trick to both preventing and treating dehydration is to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.

Drinking water should help you feel as right as rain again. But it’s even better if you can replace the lost salts as well through things like isotonic drinks.

And if you don’t have them, drinks like coconut water, milk or even a nice cup of tea should do the trick.


Group of backpackers on walking to a music festival

You may have to lug your backpack a fair distance upon arrival at the festival site – so you want to pack light. A fully-stocked first aid kit is probably not high up on your festival checklist.

Most things from a first aid kit you can manage without and improvise from your bag. Like an item of clothing as a bandage.

But at least bring a handful of assorted plasters, stuffed into the nooks and crannies of your bag.


Festival environments are often a bit dirtier than everyday life, so plasters will help keep minor cuts and scrapes clean.

Just remember to rinse the cut or scrape with water, or use some wet wipes to clean it before applying the plaster.


Couple sat near their campfire

Plastic bags are great all-rounders at festivals. From makeshift flags to help you identify your tent, to something clean to sit on.

A clean plastic bag is also useful for covering a burn after it’s been cooled.

With bonfires and camp stoves commonplace at festivals, unfortunately so too are burns. And a serious one means you will probably have to leave the festival site. So take extra care.


To treat a burn, put the affected area under cool running water for ten minutes.

If you are not near running water, reach for your nifty water bottle mentioned earlier to start the cool-down process as soon as possible.

And if you don’t have that, any cool liquid (including beer and soft drinks) will do. The faster and longer a burn is cooled, the less the impact of the injury.

Once you’ve cooled the burn, place the plastic bag around it gently to help reduce pain and prevent infection by keeping the area clean. You can then seek further medical advice from the dedicated first aid area.

More on treating burns


A woman taking her inhaler

The last thing you want to do is rock up to a field in the middle of nowhere for around four days and realise you’ve left your inhaler at home. Doh!

Remember your medication, whether that’s your inhaler for asthma or your auto-injector for severe allergies.

Make sure you’ve packed them and then keep them on you throughout the festival. Wherever you go, they go.


If you are going to a festival with a friend who has a medical condition like asthma or severe allergies, get clued up in advance on how to help them in an emergency.


A man uses the Red Cross first aid app on his smart phone

Gone are the days when mobile phones became obsolete the moment you crossed through the festival gates.

With a surge in power packs and charge tents at festivals, you can now keep your mobile phone fully juiced.

And if you have a smart phone, we recommend downloading our free first aid app.

Get it before you go and you’ll have first aid advice at your fingertips throughout the event – no internet needed.

So go forth with your festival essentials and enjoy the festival season.

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