We’ve all been there. It’s day 2 of the festival you’ve been waiting to attend since the closing set last year. You shake off yesterday’s hangover or serotonin deficiency by chasing 5-HTP with alternating chugs of beer and Gatorade because you’ll be damned if you miss your favorite techno DJ playing the early timeslot. After what was likely not the most restful night’s sleep in a tent or your AirBnb and a quick, nutrient-lacking breakfast, it’s time to put back on your glittery game face and hit the grounds.
Keeping properly hydrated is likely the last thing on your mind. Or maybe it’s up there because you can’t get your mom’s voice out of your head asking you if you’ve drunk enough water. Either way, it is a huge problem at festivals. The most common cause of collapse and even death at festivals is not drug or alcohol use but overheating and dehydration.
You’re there to have a good time, listen to awesome electronic music, and dance with your friends while meeting new ones. Getting sick and spending the weekend in the medical tent or at the hospital is at the bottom of everyone’s list. So be smart and stay safe this festival season by following these simple ways to avoid dehydration.
Stating the obvious
Yes. You’re going to need to drink water, a lot of it. And while we are stating the obvious, to most, the obvious gets lost in the excitement of the day.
With a majority of festivals going plastic-free this summer, getting your hands on a plastic water bottle from the bar will be near impossible. However, in their absence, most festivals have seriously upped the presence of water bottle refill trucks and ‘watering holes’, which will be plentiful at this weekend’s Habitat Festival. Many festivals will have water stations set up at the bars as well. To keep hydrated, keep a promise to yourself that every time you hit the bar for another drink, you’ll fill that reusable cup with some water and chug it while you wait for your next beer. And yes we know that beer is 95% water, but no, that doesn’t mean that it’s hydrating. For every 200mL of beer that you drink, you urinate 350mL, putting you in a 150mL deficit.
Say no to drugs
Did we lose you? We’re not here to tell anyone what to do but what we do suggest is being careful. Both drugs and alcohol are powerful diuretics. If dancing for 12 hours straight in +30°C weather isn’t enough to dehydrate you, the addition of booze and drugs is. Since you are a green god(dess) and you brought your reusable water bottle or hydration pack, use it! When you’re in that festival state of mind, it can be a little more challenging to remember to fill up and hydrate and it’s likely you simply just don’t feel thirsty. If you don’t trust yourself to remember, download an app like Daily Water Tracker Reminder or Hydro Coach that you can program with a high daily intake target and reminders for you to drink water.
Start your day off right with a good breakfast. If you are camping, cooking a hearty meal may prove difficult, so fill up on fruits and vegetables. They take little to no preparation and are packed with water and vitamins. Most festivals don’t let you bring your own food onto the grounds; however, food trucks and stalls serving countless food options are ready to satisfy your hunger. While a greasy hamburger may seem the most appetizing when you have the munchies, opting for something a little more healthy will not only satiate but also hydrate you. Many festivalgoers like to opt for a midday smoothie: both delicious and nutritious.
If dietary restrictions, cost, or a lack of interest keep you from eating, try electrolyte tablets or drink crystals like Liquid IV or Hammer Fizz. While these are in no way a meal replacement, they will restore your sodium, sugar, and potassium levels. It’s also always a good idea to pack a few granola or protein bars in your bag. They are quick, convenient, and usually clear the security check.
Life (saving) Hacks
Sometimes it takes learning the hard way before we stumble upon genius. With a few festivals under our belts and many trial and errors when it comes to being prepared for those weekend-long endurance tests, ElectricSoul is able to share a few of our staff’s tried and true festival hacks.
One favorite way to cool down is with a reusable mini ice pack. With bars stocked to the brim with ice, it’s easy to ask a bartender to fill yours up. An ice pack to the forehead or other heat spots like the back of the neck, wrists, elbow creases, or behind the knees, can seriously bring down that core temperature.
If you’re cool with channeling ‘prepared dad’ for your festival look, we suggest an umbrella hat. Not only will you avoid heatstroke by keeping your head cool, but your friends will also always be able to spot you on the dancefloor.
We’re also big fans of mini electric fans. There are so many options, but we like the convenience of the USB charging, necklace variety. So many festivals have charging stations across the grounds, it’s easy to power up if you run out of juice. The necklace feature keeps your hands free so you can focus on vibing to the music and high-fiving strangers.
How to spot dehydration
The most telling symptom of dehydration is thirst and dry mouth. However, if you are drinking alcohol, you may not notice this. Headaches and muscle cramps can soon follow. More severe symptoms include dizziness, confusion, fever, abdominal and chest pain, and difficulty breathing. If you or a friend is experiencing any of these symptoms from mild to severe, it’s important to get out of the sun and hydrate immediately. Find some water or a beverage with electrolytes. If symptoms persist or worsen, find the closest medical tent.
No one wants to be or take care of the friend that has to spend his or her day in the medical tent, so prevention instead of treatment is key here. Remember to drink your fluids, have a buddy, and stay hydrated!
Do you have your reusable water bottle to stay hydrated but are wondering how else you can go plastic-free at your next festival? Check out this article and enjoy a green festival season.