Festivals go hand-in-hand with Australian summer culture. When I think about Australian summer, I think about festivals, and when I think about festivals, I reminisce about previous Australian summers.
I have very fond memories of my first festival experience. It was 2001 and I was 16 years old at the Big Day Out festival on the Gold Coast.
It was a classic scorching summer’s day in Queensland, and I was rolling with a crew of older mates that I worked with at a local surf store. They were on a mission to school me in the traditions that come with festival day, such as never to wear pluggers – especially in the moshpit.
The day was a solid ten hour session under the blistering sun, and I got around to as many of my favourite artists as I could, including Pacifier, Foo Fighters, Basement Jaxx, and Xzibit.
Since then, I’ve been attending festivals regularly, taking a solid crew from Barney Cools north each year for Splendour In The Grass. Other events essential to our calendar are This That in Newcastle, Mountain Sounds in Somersby, Return to Rio in Wisemans Ferry, Secret Garden in Brownlow Hill, and Subsonic in Monkerai.
I like to consider myself a bit of a veteran these days – and I probably prepare a little more conservatively and sensibly than my earlier years. But I’ve learnt all this preparation assists in you completing any multi-day festival with ease.
Some of the things you have to prepare for before a festival include: develop a resistance to patting the sniffer dogs (cops hate it), pace yourself and don’t peak too early (even if it’s a single day event), hydrate a lot throughout the day, and eat something – even if it’s a dodgy pluto pup!
Perhaps most important of all, having grown up on the Gold Coast, I have a strong understanding of the damage we face from the sun. According to the Cancer Institute of NSW, Oz has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Anyone can develop skin cancer, even young festival-goers.
My simple advice: sunscreen. I prep myself to be out in the sun all day by getting 30+ sunscreen on nice and thick on my arms, legs, and neck, then I use my favourite tinted zinc stick by Shade to get my ears, lips, and nose. I’ve always got a pair of sunnies, and a hat when the rays are particularly nasty.
Keep some extra sunscreen handy to reapply every 2 hours and you’re good to go.
I can do all of this in about 15 minutes, including the getting dressed bit – and this usually results in all the boys being ready for the festival about two hours before all the girls that are rolling in the posse do (LOL).
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just get ready for Falls Festival.