A good understanding of music festival etiquette is a prerequisite if you are venturing to the paradise of plastic beer glasses and portaloos.
In such wild terrain, knowing what isn’t acceptable is as important as knowing what is. With this in mind, here’s a rundown of the ultimate festival faux pas.
1 Not planning your music timetable
If you’re a true music fan, first and foremost you will be there to see bands. Don’t make the mistake of realising when you’re 2,000-people deep into a crowd and half-way through Gordon City’s set that you actually wanted to see Vampire Weekend. To avoid clashes, buy a festival programme and flick through it at the start of each day to decide on your must-sees. If you think your memory might fail you, get a programme lanyard so you can easily check when and where the acts you don’t want to miss are playing no matter where you are. If you’re scheduling as part of a group, you may have to make compromises, but at least everyone will get to see an act they like.
2 Singing so that no one around you can actually hear the musicians
Yes, you know the lyrics. Well done. The problem is that no matter how much the words to ‘Coming Up Easy’ resonate with you, everyone else paid to hear Paolo Nutini sing them. By all means, get involved. Just avoid howling into the ears of those around you. And do not put your arm around the person next to you no matter how close you feel to them as the chorus peaks. Whatever you do, do not close your eyes.
3 Overdoing the PDAs
Public displays of affection, or PDAs as they’re otherwise known, are a divisive issue. While some people are all about declaring their love in the open, the mere sight of a couple holding hands is enough to make other people sick. Toe the line by not doing in front of strangers what you wouldn’t do at a family event. And if you do get carried away, make sure that you’re not blocking the view of a band or adding your own melodies to a quiet, acoustic set.
4 Photographing/recording EVERYTHING
Everyone wants to remember good times, so when you’re at a fun-packed event like a music festival it’s natural to want to record moments for posterity. But please, when your arm is weak from holding your smartphone in the air and you’ve got more footage of roadies setting up then David Attenborough has of animals, you need to stop. You don’t need to remember everything.
5 Wearing a one-piece
A onesie that makes you look like a parrot may be festive, and a playsuit can be cute, but neither has a place in a portaloo. Festival toilets have come a long way in recent years, but they’re still not the nicest of places to be. Reduce your toilet time by wearing something that doesn’t necessitate stripping off to a near-naked state every time you need to go.
6 Being too tall
OK, so you obviously can’t change the length of your legs, and it would be heightest of us to suggest that you should. But please think of your shorter brothers and sisters before choosing your place in the crowd. By all means get close to the stage, but take a look behind you, and if there’s a five-foot-nothing woman standing there with an excellent view of your back, you might want to rethink your position. Moving even a couple of steps to the side will make her experience a million times better. It’s nice to be nice, people.
7 Not cleaning up after yourself
It’s just good manners to not leave your stuff outside your tent for people to trip over in the night and to not leave a trail of empty beer cups and fast food containers everywhere you go. In these eco-conscious times, many festivals operate green schemes, allowing attendees to recycle their waste. Reading and Leeds Festivals run a water bottle and pint cup deposit scheme, a charitable camping gear donation initiative and will give your unwanted food to The Salvation Army. So there really is no excuse for leaving a mess.
8 Where you buy your tickets
The sad fact is that too many people have counted down the days to a festival, only to get to the gates and be refused entry because the tickets they bought online are fake. Worse still, there are many people out there who fork out big money for tickets that they never even receive. The importance of buying from a reputable ticketing website, such as Gigantic, cannot be stressed enough. If you don’t, you may never even get the opportunity to make an absolute idiot of yourself in a field full of thousands of people.