Top Self-Care Tips for Summer Music Festivals

What better way to celebrate the arrival of warm weather by spending the weekend at one of Nova Scotia’s myriad music festivals?

Whether you’re getting in touch with your folk roots at the Stan Rogers Folk Fest in Canso, kicking up your heels at a Cape Breton ceilidh or head-banging with your friends at the Maritime Metal Fest, there are a few easy ways to ensure that you have a happy, healthy weekend.

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Think carefully about what you’ll be eating and when. Starting your day with a healthy mix of protein and carbs means you’ll have the energy and endurance you need to get to the festival grounds. Make sure to pack snacks, too – protein-rich treats like nuts, individual peanut butter packets and boiled eggs keep you feeling full, and juicy fruits and veggies (think watermelon, grapes and cucumbers) can help you stay hydrated.

If buying food at a concession stand, look for a healthy mix of protein, vegetables and grains – a burrito bowl or grain-based salad is a good place to start.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated can mean the difference between a great weekend and a disaster. Before you leave, check the festival’s water policy – if they allow reusable water bottles, bring your own and take a minute to figure out where the refilling stations are.

Don’t waste money on energy drinks – water is your best bet. If the weather is extremely hot and humid and you’re planning on dancing all day, consider bringing electrolyte tablets that you can dissolve in your water bottle.

Be sun smart

Apply broad-spectrum high-SPF sunscreen before you get dressed, then reapply it regularly. Don’t forget your hat! Remember that it’s easier to stay cool in loose, light-coloured clothing made of natural fabrics. If the sun shows no sign of abating, take frequent breaks in the shade and rehydrate often – it might even be worth taking a siesta during the hottest part of the day. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Be prepared

It’s worth packing a few extra essentials to help you stay comfortable at the festival. A travel pack of baby wipes is great for a quick refresher; hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and a basic first-aid kit might also be a good idea (nothing kills the festival vibe faster than a blister). If you’ll be in a heavily wooded area or a place with long grass – typical homes for pesky ticks – pack an insect repellent that contains DEET or Icaridin. Other essentials – such as ear plugs, condoms or any important medications – will depend on the festival-goer.

Stay safe

The same common-sense safety tips you employ on a Friday night at the club apply at music festivals. If you’re drinking alcohol, match your drinks one-to-one with glasses of water. Never leave your drink unattended and don’t accept drinks from someone you don’t know. When you arrive, do a quick recce to find the first aid, women’s safe space and harm reduction tents, and find out if allies like the Consent Kitties are onsite and how they’re dressed – that way you’ll be able to find them quickly if you need them.

Finally, if you’re going to consume marijuana or other drugs at the festival, review these tips from Health Canada. If you’re not consuming substances, but your friends might, consider taking a naloxone kit with you. Kits are available for free from pharmacies across the province and can help save a life while you wait for first responders.

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