Festival season is fast approaching, striking equal measures of fear and excitement into the general public. Often a difficult period to navigate for non-drinkers, here are Emma Hill’s top five ways to stay sober at festivals to get you through and ensure you have a great time!
Not drinking doesn’t mean missing out. While your friends are queuing to spend £5 a pint, the world’s your oyster. Do something different that being more sober will allow you to appreciate even more – pay a visit to one of the smaller stages, or see some comedy. If you’re tired of being jostled in the crowd by festival-goers who are enjoying themselves a bit too much, Sober Tents are a safe haven for those who want a break from the chaos. Glastonbury now uses sober areas as a way of uniting like-minded people who want to enjoy their festival experience without alcohol – great reminders that there are more people enjoying the festival sober than you might think. In reality, the only thing you’re missing out on is a thumping headache the next day, which isn’t missing out at all, is it?
With people who don’t feel like drinking a lot either. Not necessarily because they are against drinking, but because they are like-minded and want to experience the music instead. Sober Nation blogger and seasoned rocker Tim Powers says that “the best insurance policy you can have when it comes to not drinking at concerts is having supportive friends, family or those in recovery go with you to the show. As with any social function, these people provide support and encouragement when you may feel uneasy”. With so much to see at a festival, it isn’t as hard as you think to find people who are more interested in doing than drinking.
Stay hydrated. Come rain or shine (one being likelier than the other), water is the festival-goer’s best friend. Alcohol only increases dehydration, which, when you’re right at the front of the crowd waiting for your favourite band, is less than ideal. However, don’t be afraid to party with a drink in hand. When you’re around people who are drinking, you’re likely to unconsciously match their sipping pattern, regardless of whether your drink is alcoholic or not. Join your friends at the bar for something refreshing – treat yourself to a mocktail or an iced latte.
Staying in control does not inhibit your ability to enjoy the music. The excitement of a festival is difficult to match, whether you are sober or not. Blogger Reisa Shanaman was pleasantly surprised to discover that “if anything, it was nice to know that when I was moved by the music it was thanks to a genuine, unadulterated enjoyment”. Other reports go as far as to say that raving sober will change your life forever. Cecelie Pikus says that “when you actually stop and take a moment to think about the intricacies of the sets, lights and graphics, you’ll be a lot more appreciative of your festival experience. I was sober raving this year at Tomorrowworld, and I spent most of my time at the main stage not actually listening to just the music, but staring at the performers and different parts of the stage that made the whole production so mesmerizing”. Throwing all manner of shapes is a given, obviously.
You’ve been looking forward to this festival since January, right? You set your alarm for bang-on 7:00am, pyjama-clad and bleary-eyed, because you were intent on catching the first ticket release. You spent months trawling the internet for headliners, special guests and line-up rumours. Having conquered booking fees, postage charges and travel fiascos, you finally received your long-awaited ticket. By the time you see that band you’ve loved for years, you will have walked, queued and joyfully bounded your way to the best bit of your festival experience. Don’t lose it all in a drunken haze – relish the moment.
Can’t get enough of festivals? We’ve got two more posts from last summer on the same theme: Mali has been to them Drunk, Sober & Everything Inbetween, and here’s her Field Day story with some more helpful tips.