Essential Tips to Stay Well Hydrated at Summer Festivals

For many, the quintessential experience of summer is dancing to their favourite music with their mates at an open-air festival. Hopefully the weather will bless us with some warm sunshine as we gear up for Glastonbury, Parklife, Bestival, Latitude, and the myriad other vibrant musical celebrations that take place around the country each year.

Enjoying music with a crowd can be a euphoric and life-affirming experience, and it’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment and not pay attention to how much water you are drinking. You may not even notice until the tell-tale signs of dehydration set in, including a headache, a dry mouth, and a feeling of nausea or dizziness.

If you are enjoying a pint of cider or beer at the time, it may be tempting to push these symptoms to one side and hope that they will wear off. However, alcohol will soon prompt a trip to the toilet, leaving you even more dehydrated than before. This can lead to more severe dehydration, where you may be at risk of fainting, heatstroke, or even a seizure.

Here are some tips on how to manage your festival hydration and avoid missing your favourite band while you sit in the medical tent. 

Carry a refillable water bottle

Most festivals now provide water refilling stations where you can top up a refillable water bottle. This saves you having to queue at a refreshment stand and pay for more water each time, and is also more environmentally friendly. Use a plastic water bottle rather than a glass one, and attach it to your bag or belt with a carabiner clip.

Alternatively, you could use a foldable pouch that can be stored in a small bag or large pocket if you do not want to be encumbered by a larger bottle as you dance. Consider adding a rehydration tablet to your water bottle to help your body absorb and retain fluids more efficiently. 

Set reminders to drink 

Drinking enough water is easy enough when we are going about our usual routine, because we generally know where we will be and what access we will have to water. However, at a festival your schedule will be looser and it can be harder to keep track of your fluid intake. 

Make sure that your tent is stocked with plenty of water, and drink a couple of glasses at the start of the day. Carry your refillable water bottle with you and set a reminder on your phone or watch to drink at regular intervals. How much water you need will depend on variables such as how active you are, your BMI, and the weather conditions.

For example, if you are dancing and the weather is warm, you will lose more fluids through sweat. Remember that most festival sites are large, and even just walking around, being on your feet all day and chatting with your friends will mean that you are using up more fluids than normal. 

Balance out alcohol intake

A few pints can help you get in the mood of the event, but alcohol is dehydrating. Balance out each alcoholic drink with water to prevent dehydration and the hangover from hell that could cause you to miss your favourite band the next day.

Plan some time out

Festivals are fun, but they can be intense and physically and mentally draining as well. Plan some breaks in between bands to take some time out and have something to eat and drink. Pick a shady spot such as under some trees, and take the opportunity to replenish your water intake.

Avoid eating too many salty or sugary foods, as these can deplete your fluid levels further and hinder the rehydration process. If the weather is hot and sunny, take the opportunity to apply more sunscreen and make sure you wear sunglasses and a peaked cap to help you stay cool and protected from UV rays.

This will not only help you avoid skin damage, but also reduce the amount of fluids you lose through sweat. An electrolyte tablet can help you to replace the minerals and salts that are lost through sweat more easily and quickly.

Remember that staying well hydrated is not just about staving off thirst and headaches; it will also help you to maintain your energy levels and mental focus, allowing you to enjoy the festival experience to the max.