How To Practice Self-Care At A Music Festival

WORDS: Lauren DeGaine and Jamie Fricken Gib

LEAH GAIR 1Via Leah Gair Photography

Think of a festival as a marathon, not a sprint. But also a vacation. A marathon vacation. Except, I would never run during a vacation. That sounds terrible.

Hmm, let’s start over!

Ever get home from a festival, flop onto the couch, and think to yourself, “That was supposed to be a holiday, but I feel more drained/haggard than when I left!”

BASS COAST 1Via Bass Coast

You buy a ticket, save up money, prepare, and travel all the way there. Lots of time, effort and skrill goes into the shining moment of glory that is your festival… Why not maximise that experience?

Look, I know it’s tough to take some me-time when there’s so much to do, see and hear! That’s why I got together with a festival vet and absolutely scrumptious human, Jamie Fricken Gib of Dance Music Northwest, to compile a smorgasbord of Self-Care tips that will give you raver super-powers!

ASTRAL HARVEST 1Via Phoenix Flash Photography


EAT THE THINGS! Like, more than once per day. Preferably some type of vegetable, but really anything will do! Festival food prices can be a bummer, but the whole not dying thing makes it totally worth it. My favorite food trucks are Taco Justice and Hungry Rooster. For the budget savvy festivaller: a camp stove + a cooler of fresh food + the capacity to turn those components into something edible = a total level-up.

Via Hungry Rooster; Via James Doran of Betty and Kora


Whether it’s rosé, gin & juice or an ice cold 40 — summertime and tasty libations go hand in hand. But sun exposure combined with alcohol can increase your risk of dehydration and heat stroke. So alternate your Hey Y’alls with water, please!

A lot of people don’t know that there’s a difference between just drinking water and actually absorbing water. In order to properly stay hydrated, you gotta have electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C). Dancing all day in the sun makes this even more necessary since you lose lots of electrolytes when you sweat!

Start your morning with an electrolyte packet and thank me later =) My favorites are ElectroMag and Ener-C.

SHAMBHALA 1Via Shambhala


We all want to be that person who can maintain their perfect glow at festivals, dance all night but has no need for intoxicants. That perma-smiling human with the sunshine in their eyes and love in their hearts just naturally, right? Unfortunately, that kind of magic is reserved for a small amount of the population, and the rest of us like to have some fun, right? Your reasoning for intoxicants and substances are your own, but it’s important to practice self-care in that respect, too!

Via Art Gimbel of Everfest

Your first stop at any festival when you’re consuming substances is harm reduction. Shambhala has ANKORS, Tall Tree has their Harm Reduction team. Every festival worth its salt has harm reduction and testing available for patrons. If you’re bringing from home, head there as soon as you set up, get everything you’ve got tested (that can be tested) and pick up some flyers on the different substances, especially if you’re a new user. Festivals are a place that has a lot of experimentation, but proper experiments take research!

DANIEL TINGVia Daniel Ting

Next up, scheduling! When you have all the necessary info you’re looking for, plan accordingly. If you wanna be in full swing by a certain set, you have to see how long these things usually take to take effect. Not to mention, if you want to factor sleep in there it’s important to see how long it lasts. Going to sleep still fried can cause a very bad reaction depending on what you’ve taken, not to mention you’re gonna feel 100x worse the next day.

ART GIMBEL 3Via Art Gimbel of Everfest

HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! Damn guys, this one is so important. Hydrate always. Anything you’re consuming is going to dehydrate you. Pair that with dancing, and you’re hooped! Waterskin backpacks are so key, but not everyone can afford! So look for things that are both delicious and hydrating. Fruits like watermelon are essential, cause let’s be honest, not everyone wants to chug water, especially when you’re buzzed. Avoid salty foods and creamy desserts and stick to clear, hydrating products. Coconut and mineral water are also good when you need a pick me up but need a little flavor with it. Just make sure to keep up with it, cause dehydration and heat stroke SUCK, especially after ingesting.

ART GIMBEL 4Via Art Gimbel of Everfest

Basically, just use that common sense. Don’t take random drugs from strangers, drink lots of water, know what substances mix or don’t mix together, and most importantly, have fun!


As the legendary 1989 anthem, “Pump Up the Jam” by Technotronic dictates: “Get your booty on the floor tonight!” And while you’re shakin’ that ass like there’s no tomorrow, keep a few things in mind!

BASS COAST 2Via Patrick Latter Photography

Give those dancing muscles some love and stretch ‘em out. Limber up and you’ll have the longevity to keep going all weekend long. Lots of festivals have great workshop programs with everything from twerking to yoga, so check those out!

BASS COAST 3Via Third Eye Arts

Sun stroke is a real thing, people! Make sure to wear sunscreen (60-year-old you will thank you for their supple babyface, and anyway there’s nothing like a 3rd-degree burn to put a damper on your weekend). Take breaks in the shade, take a dunk in the river, or drink a cold bevvy. Better yet – find a nice shady spot to take a nap during the hottest part of the day!

SHAMBHALA 2Via Charlotte Dobre Photography

Don’t underestimate the value of a good pair of ear plugs. The Bass Coast Harm Reduction Twitter said it best:


My favorite brand is Ear Peace — super comfy and delivers crisp sound.

And remember! There ain’t no shame in taking a break, baby. GET SOME SLEEP! Even if it’s just a two-hour nap in a hammock. For all my fellow introverts out there, a solitary walk along the river or a coloring book session under a shady tree can do wonders for your mental and emotional health.

SHAMBHALA 3Via Shambhala Music Festival

The creatives, musicians, volunteers, and crew that come together to create the colorful world of magic and fun that is Festival Land want you to have the most amazing experience possible. In that world, you can blossom into the bestest, most awesomest version of you that you can be!

Practising even just a few of these self-care tips will ensure you come back from your festival feeling super groovy! Party on, you sexy hooligan, you!

ASTRAL HARVEST 2Via Phoenix Flash Photography

PS. Hugs are the best medicine there is. Use generously and repeat frequently.

BASS COAST 4Via Bass Coast

For more information on Shambhala’s forward-thinking harm reduction services please check out Everfest’s coverage and their suggestions on how to take care of yourself this festy season

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