I read an article the other day about top safety tips for teenagers at festivals and got so cross with it I felt I had to have a rant. (Not like me, I know!)
Having spent the last 20+ years in various fields across the UK at some of the most amazing summer festivals, the closest I have even come to danger was almost getting knocked over when I was 6 months pregnant at Glastonbury (or was it the Big Chill?) A small fight between two blokes kicked off but a friend stepped in the way and the security quickly sorted it out.
That’s it. One slightly dangerous situation, probably fuelled by a few too many bevvies.
I’m not saying there aren’t dangers at festivals, but the person that wrote this article has a lot to answer for. She has basically listed lots of things that are far more likely to happen to you on a Saturday night on West Street than at a festival. Any parent of a teenager that hasn’t been to a festival themselves and is thinking about letting their child go is going to be terrified by her list of dangers.
I have probably attended around 100 festivals in the last 20 years. Maybe I have been lucky, maybe I am just not the sort of person that gets spiked, alcohol poisoned, abducted, crushed, raped, stolen to run away with a travelling circus – but as far as I am concerned, with a bit of common sense, festivals are pretty safe.
Last summer I attended a fabulous weekend at Blissfields. Hats off to all the young people there for having so much fun and being pretty sensible with it. There are a huge number of teenagers at this event and we saw very little trouble. A couple of security confiscating things, 1 guy with a bong the size of a double bass (subtlety is key dude), and another being wrestled to the ground by officials – clearly done something he shouldn’t have.
Let’s compare this to a walk down Brighton seafront on any Saturday night. I could guarantee at least:
- Girls in tiaras throwing up on their shoes
- Hooded teenagers dealing drugs
- Random strangers having sex on the beach
- Police shoving teenagers into the back of vans
- Someone unconscious in a gutter
- At least 1 young couple having a high volume public domestic
- Bouncers manhandling human beings like farmers sheering sheep
- Hippy kids smoking drugs (and playing annoying drums)
- Gaggles of girls swigging neat vodka from their handbags
And don’t get me started on the mess they all leave on our beaches!
So, to the author of this ridiculous articles: Stop scaring people half to death with your stupid list.
Here’s my very short but handy list of tips for Singles at festivals:
- DON’T BE SINGLE! Festival are much more fun with friends. Safety in numbers is the biggest advice I can give. Go with really good friends and make a pact to stick with at least one of them WHATEVER. You will know that someone is always looking out for you and you have the responsibility to look out for them too.
That’s it really. If you follow this single rule then none of the other stuff matters. You are unlikely to get an STD, unless you’re happy having sex in front of the friend you are stuck to (you’ll regret it), then it’s not going to happen. Festivals are dirty anyway, sex and dirt don’t mix that well and you’ll feel so much better sobering up next to your mate than some random stranger you thought was super sexy the night before, but turns out to look like Mr Bean in the light of day. Just get their phone number. There’s always another day, and the chase is far more fun. Sex at festivals is generally crap anyway!
As far as drugs and alcohol go. Perhaps I have grown up in a different generation. I’ve seen plenty of friends at festivals take it too far, but that’s what friends are for. Look after each other. Stick together and don’t be afraid to speak to the crew on site if someone needs help or just a space to chill out. That’s what they are there for, and you don’t get that kind of service on Brighton seafront on a Saturday night.
Oh, and choose your festivals wisely kids. Some are full of total twats so read the reviews, check out forums and sites like festivalkidz.com which are written by experts who have been there, bought the t-shirt, stripped it off and danced naked at 6am till the sun comes up!
Festivals are an amazing experience for young people. It’s not all about sex, drugs and rock & roll. There’s fancy dress and glitter too!
For further info on Best festivals for families click here.