A Rough Guide to Dance Festivals
Keeping you on your feet
Photographer: Shab Notghi11 January 2008
What to bring:
- Dance festivals were traditionally one night affairs but now seem to be expanding into multi-day affairs, so remember to take a tent if the latter.
- There will be plenty of indoor arenas so you can get away with taking full-on waterproofs to protect you from the rain, although it's safer to be prepared.
- There will be food stalls for those hungry moments, so don’t worry about packing a big bag of edible goodies.
- Anything goes really, but it’s virtually a rite of passage for girls to dress up as a fairy complete with drag queen style glitter and fluffy boots at field-discos. Although when deciding what to wear, bear in mind that the girl in the sparkly bikini and mini-skirt may look great on entry, but she’ll be the shivering wreck wrapped up in a foil blanket when it gets cold later.
- You’re best bet is trousers and a top because if it does get cold you can warm up by throwing shapes!
- Glo-Sticks – a raver’s favourite accessory since the nigh-on-extinct whistle.
- Fellas, if you really want to go for it wear neon-coloured clothes like a Cilit Bang ad.
How To Get There
- As all ravers know the best way to get to a dance festival is by car accompanied by your mate/part-time superstar DJ’s latest mixtape.
- If you decide to stay up all night make sure your driver has not been drinking and has a clear head before setting off. There’s nothing worse than waking up after hitting the M1’s central reservation.
- Where possible book a hotel or grab some kip before you set off home again. Take lots of breaks if your driver has been deprived of sleep over the weekend and drink lots of coffee etc.
- Before you leave make sure there is transport between the local train station and the site. This is essential information when you’re out of cash and you’re hiking four miles back to the station.
- Bear in mind that buses outside London don’t run around the clock so you may be waiting ages until the battered X30 chugs over the country hill.
- While queuing you’ll find the less-experienced souls already inebriated. Remember this isn’t college so don’t try and play catch up – pace yourself! Else you’ll miss the best stuff nearer the end.
- The amnesty boxes asking you to hand over any illegal substances aren’t just for fun.
- Expect a significant police presence with equally keen canine friends to take an overtly keen interest in anybody’s skunk flavoured knickers. You’ve been warned!
Exploring the site:
- Getting your bearings before you lose yourself in the festival. Find the essential amenities as you may need them later.
- Choose a meeting point with your mates.
- Grab yourself a programme and plan a schedule with your mates, then watch the rota fall to pieces very early on.
- Don’t judge or think you're ‘it’. Dance music crowds are generally just here to dance. You’re in a cow’s dumping ground, not Pacha’s VIP room.
- As the sun falls, the tunes get upbeat and you may feel an unexplainable compassion for your fellow clubbers. The crowd will merge into one and you all feel the music together. This has not been known to last past 8am.
- House music lovers are known as the friendliest fans in the world and though a sweaty tent may not seem as the best place to make mates, you’ll soon find out that on the same quest for euphoria together.
- Be open-minded, smile a lot and you’ll soon have a tent brimming with buddies.
Not losing it
- Dance festivals usually last at least 10 hours so slap on plenty on sun cream, drink tonnes of water, grab some shade every now and then and pace yourself!
- Drinkers don’t slam beer after beer – we’re not all Shane McGowan. Instead give your liver the odd hour-long break and a few pints of water to re-hydrate.
- If you’re taking drugs don’t buy from strangers. They’re likely to be crap, but that’s the least of your worries. Ravers have been known to buy everything from rat poison to horse tranquilizers searching for that night-long buzz.
- It’s often a good idea to leave a little early to miss the mad rush for the exit.
- If you’re on a hired coach then unlucky – you’re stuck there!
- If you’re in a car make sure your driver is safe to drive. If he/she got wrecked at the festival or you’re unsure: DO NOT LET THEM DRIVE!
- Get someone else to get behind the wheel or all catch some kip until your steed is sober enough to get you back.
- Stick on some chilled-tunes, piece together your night and plan your next trip.
NB: The above is based purely on experience and is merely a guide. We don't condone
drink or drug abuse but are well aware it goes on at festivals. For official advice on alcohol and drugs Talk To Frank.