Alright kids, we’re up here in a quiet spot far away from the throb of the main stage stage, enjoying a moment’s peace to converse, relax and rehydrate. Come sit with us elders. Drink this non-adulterated water, spit out that decimated piece of gum, and for God’s sake snuggle into this spare hoodie I brought! You’re trembling like a lamb, child! Now come sit on Rave Grampa’s knee, because it’s time we have a conversation about how to not die at a music festival.
Some of you will be heading off to your first festival this summer, and will be excited about making new friends, seeing whatever garish EDM artists you love dearly, and, most likely, indulging in Class A recreational drug use for the first time. And that’s okay. We’re not here to judge. Rave Grampa has been there himself, you know. All the way back when people put CDs into CDJs, and Molly was just a person’s name. Rave Gramps knows a thing or two about partying, and he’s here to impart some wisdom onto you, the next generation of mad bastards that are about to go headstrong into a glorious life of clubbing and rinsing.
Slow down Rave Baby! You’ve got three days!
The number of faded people that Rave Grampa sees on Fridays at music festivals never ceases to amaze him. At Coachella a few of weeks ago I saw a young man laying face down, huffing and puffing on the grass outside of the Do LaB stage. One of his friends picked him up and dropped back down like sack of coal, resulting in him unloading the contents of his stomach onto the lush Coachella polo grounds. The sun hadn’t even set on the first day.
Rave Baby! Cool it. You have three days to enjoy yourself. Don’t get destroyed on the first night and become a situation that people have to deal with. Sack up and be an adult.
Beer is not water. Molly water is not water. Water is water. Drink water. All the time. You’re indulging, drinking booze, dancing, often in the ungodly heat of some desert somewhere. Be smart.
Rave Grampa drinks so much water he makes regular trips to the portaloos to empty his piss bag. Be like Rave Grampa.
You Can Always Take More, You Can Never Take Less
“That Molly was amazing! The rush was out of control. I want to do that again!” said the Rave Baby, fifteen minutes after he leveled out into a squidgy gurn and stopped feeling like he was about to vomit on his naked yet fabulously chiseled torso.
Whoa there Rave Baby! Don’t take any more drugs for a couple of hours. The rush is just one part of the experience, and one which gets a lot less enjoyable the older you get. The next couple of hours will be like a nice ride on a swing set. Enjoy this, it’s very pleasant. When you feel like you want to take more, take a little more. Nibble on the corner of a pill, take a single grain of cocaine, and be very, very wary of the Ketamine...
K-Holes Are Much Easier To Get Into Than Out Of
Rave Gramps understands. You’re here to “get fucked up!” But there’s a reason almost nobody over 25 does regretamine anymore, and those who do portion it out like the final bits of human remains to an Argentinian rugby team stranded in the Andes. Rave Gramps knows better: that a little K goes a long way. And much like that useless sack of coal who couldn’t make it past day one, smash too much ket up your nose and suddenly a fun night turns into a terror-fueled trip through the fifth dimension talking to dead people in the puddles on the club floor.
Nap time Rave Baby!
Sprinkling substances all over the surface of your brain and not allowing yourself time to sleep the damage off will result in your skull feeling a shelled peanut, and your thoughts darker than a coal miner’s hankey. Rave Grampa aims for a solid eight hours every night, but can soldier through on five is needs must. Be like Rave Grampa.
Do not Xanax yourself into a coma. The push and pull on your heart isn’t safe. Just stop taking substances at least two hours before you plan to go to sleep.
It's Feeding Time Rave Baby!
Even us veterans have a tough time with this every now and again. Food and drugs don’t go together (we’re not counting weed, the drug that will all but guarantee you don’t wind up like like everyone else on the list), but actually putting something in your belly besides powders and booze will truly make a difference in your festival experience. So grab that cheap slice of greasy pizza and eat up.
The Conclusion to Rave Grampa’s Questionably Responsible Advice
Young ‘un, you came here to have fun with your friends. You’ve been counting down the months, weeks, days, listing every act you want to see, planning your outfit and doing burpies to get your shit ‘swoll as fuck’. You each spent hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars to get to the festival and have the time of your life. So don’t fucking die, please.
99.999% of people that indulge live to tell whatever details they can remember from their sordid tale. And you can be one of those happy people by being smart, pacing yourself, and listening to your body. And it’s actually considerably more fun than getting annihilated and becoming a burdensome waste to your group of friends.
It's imperative that you babies stick together, and start crying for help if you see another baby struggling. The medical and security staff are there to help you. They will not judge you or reprimand you for taking drugs. You will not get a bill from the festival if you have to go and calm down under the doctors' watchful eye. These resources are in place to make sure that everyone walks out of the festival alive. Use them if you need them.
Don’t become a statistic Rave Baby, aspire to one day be a curmudgeonly old pot of fuss and bother like Rave Grampa!
Cover image via The Guardian/Yui Mok/PA