Nick Ladd's How to 'Thrive' at a Festival

A master hedonist's guide to festivals

Nick Ladd's How to 'Thrive' at a Festival

11 June 2009

Nick went to his first rave in 1989 and hasn't looked back since, producing some seminal outdoor dance festivals including the 2001 Zambia and 2002 South Africa solar eclipse parties, before coming home to England and partnering in the birth of the Glade at Glastonbury. He has since been instrumental in creating the Glade Festival, voted Best Dance Festival in the 2008 UK Festival Awards.

Nick continues to get his inspiration for his events, and life, by travelling around the globe and attending outdoor dance festivals. This makes him exceptionally well qualified to advise on how to have a seriously good time at festivals, as - quite simply - it's what he does. Read and learn from the master...

1) IF YOU LOSE ALL YOUR MATES
Don’t worry about it... and especially – do not spend the next five hours looking for them, trying to get a signal on your phone and asking people if they have “seen my mate Dave?” Instead, go and do some stuff that you wouldn’t normally do with your mates. Go and talk to interesting people with beards in the healing field; get some fancy dress on, dance like freak to a Balkan violin band and drink Margaritas. Go to a Tai Chi workshop... or at the very least go and see some bands you have never heard of with some cool people you have never met. Get out of your comfort zones and find the flow and enjoy it! Losing your mates can be a very liberating thing.

2) IF YOUR RIZLAS GET STUCK TOGETHER
Cos they got damp the night before... Try breathing on them as you try and peel them apart. The warm moisture from your breath will reactivate the gum, a bit like steaming a stamp of a letter. Also, if you are trying to roll one in a dark tent and can’t find which side the gum is on, hold the Rizla up and look down its length and all will become clear.

3) DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR TENT
There is a very small minority of complete ar**holes who go to festivals to rip people off. They need to be discouraged in no uncertain terms, my policy with festival valuables is: if it doesn’t fit in my pockets, leave it at home. However, if you have brought the old iPod and speakers so you can chill with your crew early morning back at your camp, then stick it in the free lock up that all good festivals have while you are out partying and then pick it up on the way back. If you see a group of blokes looking like they are robbing tents, go and find security and let em know....... it’s up to all of us to take responsibility to stop this crap behaviour.

4) FIND THE NAKED SAUNA
It’s the best way to get a hot shower without having to queue up for hours! You shower before and after the sauna and it’s a great way to cleanse yourself inside and out.

5) IF YOU NEED YOUR MUM
If you (or anyone you meet) are cold, tired, hungry, skint, sketched out, freaked out or just need someone to talk to, get up to the WELFARE AREA... most good festivals have one, and they are full of lovely people who know what they are doing and are there to help you feel better with hot tea, blankets and calming vibes.

6) BE HERE NOW
Turn your phone off, forget about work, don’t argue with your girlfriend, don’t plan too much and don’t think too much... just wander round and be in the moment... the sensory overload of festivals is particularly good at taking you there.

7) DO NOT USE CANDLES OR GAS STOVES INSIDE YOUR TENT
For what you would think are fairly obvious reasons but you would be surprised at the amount of nitwits whose tents we have to hose down each year....... if you feel like cooking your own breakfast and it’s raining, then find a tent with an awning you can sit under.

8) BE PART OF THE SHOW
The best festivals are the ones where everyone is a part of the show... so get stuck in! Bring your trumpet, (whether you can play it or not), bring your wig collection, your vicar’s outfit or be the Superhero you always wanted to be... make the costume and get into character. Set up a table with a sign, put on a lab coat and pretend to be a psychiatrist; start a Welly Wanging workshop..... Practise random acts of kindness.... LET YOUR FREAK OUT AND BE THE PERSON YOU WANNA BE....... people will love you for it

9) DONT GET INVOLVED IN FERRET LEGGING OR FIRE BREATHING UNLESS YOU ARE SOBER.
Nuff said here I think.

10) ARRIVE EARLY, STAY LATE
One of the most amazing things about festivals is how they change your life... how when you get to work the next week you suddenly realise that you have somehow still got a bit of the weekend’s beautiful reality bubble with you... the longer you stay, the deeper that feeling goes.... so take Thursday and Monday off work and really get immersed. Especially stay Sunday night...... often it’s the best bit.

By Nick Ladd, Glade Festival

Glade Festival 2009 takes place from Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th July 2009 at the new Matterley Bowl site, Winchester, Hampshire and will go on louder, later and longer than previous years.

The Glade Festival won Best Dance Festival at last year’s UK Festival Awards and is a 10,000 capacity event, visited by dance music and free spirited aficionados from around the world. The Glade Festival is known as one of Europe’s best underground electronic festivals and will celebrate its sixth birthday in 2009 after starting life as part of Glastonbury festival (of which it is still a part of).

Tickets, priced £125 + booking fee are available here.

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