- Mar 16, 2001
Urban ravers often enjoy the thought of a remote location dance party, but many attend their first event with little idea of what's in store other than knowing the DJ lineup. Arriving at a large outdoor festival unprepared can turn an otherwise fun adventure into a grueling ordeal, but with a bit of preparation, a good camping plan and adequate recovery time, it can instead be the magic event often described.
[Edit: Correct author included. BigTrancer]
- Organize your camping or accommodation requirements well in advance. Find out what services are provided on-site. If you're camping, aside from your cooking/eating/sleeping gear, try to also include a solar powered or gaslight, fold up table and chairs, shade covers, rope, a shovel and a hatchet.
- Plan to take more food and drinking water than you think you'll need. Take mostly non-perishable foods unless you have a good cooler and ice source (dry ice can last several days if stored in a well insulated container). Keep all food in seal-able containers and pack an extra flashlight. Don't forget your health supplements/vitamins and include glucose energy drinks or powder.
- Arrange reliable transport. If traveling with others, ensure your return ride is organized before you leave. As the date approaches also check the venue hasn't changed. Traveling with a sober driver is definitely a good idea. Equally important (especially for the return journey) is that the driver has slept between partying and driving.
- Find out what toilet/shower/swimming services are available onsite. A solar heated bush shower is inexpensive and can be blissful after three days of cold water bathing. Some people find they aren't comfortable with using either chemical toilets or the more natural but smelly long drop type. If the site is remote enough, a more private alternative can be a walk with a shovel. If buried properly and away from water areas avoided, this shouldn't pose a risk to others or the environment.
- Include warm and cool weather clothing. Temperatures can be scorching during the day and freezing at night. Pack sensible shoes/boots, warm blankets and a hat that covers the back of your neck.
- Take a basic first aid kit including aspirin or other analgesic, antiseptic, disinfectant, antihistamine, insect repellant, band aids, tampons, ear plugs, tissue paper and sun burn cream. Don't forget any prescribed medications, and be aware of known interactions between these and any recreational drugs you may be thinking of using.
- If you intend to indulge in illicit substances, try to obtain and test them prior to leaving home i.e. don't intend to buy on site. Generally speaking, sourcing on site puts everyone at more risk, particularly you. If you plan to do this regardless, check Pillreports before you leave and note any recently reported suspect or bad pills. Pack your testing kits.
- Inform someone of when you intend to return home and try to stick to this timetable. Cell/mobile service at remote venues is often unavailable so it can prove difficult to notify friends or family of plan changes.
- Rest, exercise and eat well over the days preceding your adventure. Limit your drug use during this time, or better still avoid using altogether.
- Have some emergency money. There's usually something you'll forget or some surprise expense not planned for.
- If camping, locate a good site position. Try to be close to everything but not too close. Watch out for overhanging tree branches. Old eucalyptus trees and strong winds can be fatal. The perfect site is often a compromise between shade and safety, but don't take unnecessary risks. Your camp will also be your rest retreat, so don't pitch your tent directly in line of the main speakers. Get to know the terrain around your camp while there's daylight.
- Once you have set up camp, locate on-site amenities such as a fresh water source, rubbish drop area and toilets. Visit the first aid and pill testing tents. You may not be anticipating you'll be requiring their services, but say hello anyway. Meeting personnel at the beginning of an event usually tends to make you less hesitant to ask for help should you need it later.
- Pace yourself. Try not to overdo it on the first day. Prioritize your schedule so you are in good form for your favorite performers. Try to get a good night's sleep at least every second night if the festival is run over several days.
- If you do choose to obtain pills/powder etc on site, at the very least try to score from someone you know and trust - test regardless - and ask others who have taken that particular form for their opinions on content, strength etc.
- If you are not eating regularly, try to eat a nutritious meal when you do. In between meals, keep your energy levels up by taking glucose and an occasional multivitamin. Regulate your water intake so it balances your level of activity, the effects of any substances you may have taken, and ambient temperature.
- A greater degree of hygiene is often needed at large crowd events where contamination can pose a greater threat. Keep your food preparation areas clean by disinfecting regularly and boil any water sourced on site before it is used for cooking or drinking.
- Protect your belongings. If possible, have someone from your group be designated camp mother. If you're camping alone, get to know your neighbors and ask them to keep an eye on your stuff. Lock unattended valuables in a car.
- The basic rule for an easy recovery is to have a couple of days free following your return. Rest, exercise and food are the essential ingredients.
- If you take supplements to reduce harm from drug taking, then it's usually a good idea to continue taking them through your recovery period.
- A good chat to supportive friends can be invaluable, particularly if you had some tricky moments or are feeling some post event burnout.
- Get some sunlight, fresh air and plenty of fluids. Take time to reflect on the highlights of your experience and you'll soon be looking forward to attending the next big event.
[Edit: Correct author included. BigTrancer]
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