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Festival Survival Guide: Your Body

Keep it safe - it's yours and you have choices

It simply isn't a good idea to get piercing and tattoos done at festivals, or for that matter just days before you go - new body piercing's and tattoos need careful looking after in the early days and are much harder to keep clean at festivals - so even if the stall where you got them was clean you'll be putting your health at significant risk at a festival - so it really is a dodgy decision. Tattooing and skin piercing is usually banned at most festivals as a condition of the Entertainment License. If you think you might go ahead and do it anyway make sure you've got some surgical spirit with you and keep the area scrupulously clean - and we mean clean - infections just aren't where it's at and will ruin your festival experience. If you really want to get it done try and do so at least six weeks in advance - that way you'll know you're all healed and ready to show it off to the world as a thing of beauty and not a puss filled horror show.

Try to eat at least one hot meal a day and drink enough non-alcoholic drinks, you should be having a piss at least three times a day - any less and you might well be dehydrated. Being dehydrated makes you more prone to feeling tired/irritable and having headaches - not what you want after shelling out at least £100+ of your hard-earned cash to have a good time.

There should be FREE drinking water points in the arena and the campsite (near the toilets) and the water should be safe to drink and clearly signed to this effect. It can't be over stressed - DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. If it's really hot, stay in the shade as much as possible, use sun-block and cover up exposed skin to prevent painful burning and sun stroke with it's flu like systems. You really don't want to be ill at a festival as it tends to cramp your style - and this type of ill is preventable - whilst medical services are actually very good at most festivals you really don't want to be spending all your time with them (as nice as they are!)

A good range of food and drink is usually available at most events but prices are often high - so remember when you budget for the festival you will need to eat and drink - sounds so obvious but it's so easy to forget the basics and so easy to think you'll be okay.

Above all don't be pressured into doing anything you don't want to do - it's likely that you will lose some of your inhibitions during a laid back festival but make sure you're with your mates and that you're looking out for each other - talk to each other before you go so you know if your mates gone off on one and s/he will know if you have too. Do not feel pressured into doing drugs or drinking excessively if you don't want to - you don't have to be out of it all the time to have a good time - you know what your limit is and what you are comfortable with - don't let anyone make you feel you should be doing something you don't want to - and just because others might be doing stuff it doesn't mean you have to as well - we are all different and have different limitations - what's okay for your mates might not be for you and vice versa - so never ever pressure someone into doing anything they would rather not.

Same goes for sex - so you meet Mr or Ms adorable who you've been looking for all your life - you don't have to have sex if you don't want to - if it's right they'll go at your pace - it's all about respect right? You do not have to lose or sacrifice your own values in order to fit in or be accepted - remember - be yourself and do what you want to do and not what anyone else might think you should do - it's your body and it's your choice - you live with the consequences of what you do or don't do. So - you want to fine - you don't want to - also fine.

And if you do go for it? make sure you use a condom - there is no way of knowing who has or hasn't got an STI and there is a much higher risk of contracting an STI than you might think - statistically (and worryingly) STI's are very much on the increase - and there have been cases of individuals with the HIV virus deliberately setting out to infect others. It's well easy to become embroiled in the 'anything goes' atmosphere of a festival - but you do need to keep yourself safe ALWAYS carry a condom and ALWAYS use a condom - it doesn't matter if you are on the pill - the pill will NOT protect you from STI's.

The risk you take if you have unprotected sex is not just about pregnancy - you may also pick up:

HIV and Aids
Non Specific Urethritis
Genital Herpes
Hepatitis A/B/C
Pubic Lice
Trichomonas Vaginalis
Genital Warts

Not really the lasting memory you really want to take home from the festival is it? - there are only two ways to keep yourself safe from STI's - one total abstinence! - not really a long term option is it?? nor is it a realistic option - the only other way is to always use a condom. For more information check out some of the links on our Up Against It page.

Welfare will often provide free condoms and confidential advice about sex and related issues such as HIV or other problems.
The Morning After Pill may be available at First Aid for a small charge or use a town pharmacy. You have 72 hours in which to use it, but the sooner the better. Or you have 5 days to use an IUD as emergency contraception. But remember condoms not only protect against pregnancy but sexually transmitted infections too.

While most people have a great and safe festival experience there are a few who do not - for a whole variety of reasons. Some might be depressed and find that the festival makes it worse when they expected it to make them feel better - some might have a bad experience with drugs. Some people feel suicidal and some just find that the pressures of life suddenly get too much to handle. Don't feel ashamed if you just can't cope - and please remember the reason you are feeling so bad is because the pain you are feeling at the present time is greater than the ability you have to deal with it just at the moment. Welfare services are there to help you - don't be afraid to ask for help if you find that you need it - the Samaritans usually go to most festivals - they will listen to you and they will not judge you. The Samaritans festival branch are on line here but have a look at our Up Against It page for other useful resources. You may feel like you are - but the reality is that you are not alone.

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Festival Survival Guide
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Your Body
Festival Survival Guide Index
Part 1. The Safeconcerts Festival Survival Guide
Getting the best from your festival experience
Part 2. Preparation
Some important stuff to do before you're ready to go
Part 3. Security and Stewards
On site security and stewards - what you should know
Part 4. On Your Way
What to do en route and on arrival
Part 5. Your Stuff
How best to keep it safe
Part 6. Pitching Your Tent
Some useful tips for your temporary home
Part 7. Your Body
Keep it safe - it's yours and you have choices
Part 8. Keeping Clean
Not easy but perfectly possible
Part 9. Your Clothes
Keep cool, warm and dry and still keep your cred!
Part 10. Drugs and Alcohol
Be wise, be safe, take care
Part 12. Camp Fires
Not a good idea, why?
Part 13. Toilets
Infamous - can you survive them?
Part 14. Children at Festivals
Fun for all the family?
Part 15. Crowd Safety at Festivals
Keeping safe in a dense crowd - crowd surfing and moshing

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