Oppikoppi begins this weekend, in Limpopo. After that comes Earthdance in September, hosted in Johannesburg and in Cape Town. Then in October follows Rocking the Daisies. These mega music festivals, many boasting numerous stages with acts all day and all night, are a feast of fun, but they can also be overwhelming, especially if you’re a newbie. If you’re planning to break your music festival virginity this year, we’ve got your back.
We asked two festival junkies, Carly Afrika (21) and Thorne Fisher (22), who have 12 festivals together under their belts, to give you some tips.
1 Drink lots of water
You’ll be sweating your arse off from the dancing, so keep hydrated. “Take one of those 5 litre bottles to the dancefloor, especially during the day and have smaller bottles that you can fill up,” says Carly. Fruit is also handy, says Thorne, because it refreshes and nourishes.
2 Don’t pack too much food
People often bring an overload of food, as if they fear they might starve. Too much baggage, says Carly. “Bring food for the first day, but otherwise, just snacks.” Rather budget for buying food there.
3 No glass allowed
“Never bring glass. Just don’t,” says Thorne. Your luggage will be searched, she says. “You’ll have to throw your alcohol, so rather be safe than sorry.”
4 Say no to drugs
Drugs are a huge part of the weekend festivals, and you’re bound to come across them. Many people, like newbies caught in the moment, take them without knowing the full effects. We suggest you stay away. It’s cheesy, but we’re gonna say it: Don’t do drugs.
5 Scarves are your best friend.
They can be used for more than just keeping warm. “You can wet it to keep yourself cool or wrap it around your face and neck to keep you warm or protect you from dust particles,” says Carly.
6 Jacket required
“One warm jacket is all you need, but bring another because there is always a chance of getting wet at these events,” Thorne says. In fact, keep a set of dry clothes in the car. Bring your wellies, especially if you’re in Cape Town, where it rains in winter. “There was an Earthdance two years ago where the mud was to the knees and a guy was selling wellingtons, best believe I got a pair.”
7 Squad goals: try keeping together
You are bound to lose your friends, whether it’s because you want to do your own thing or because the venue is really big. “Have a meeting place on the dancefloor. Like front left or back right or some kind of landmark so that you can go on solo missions but still know exactly where your friends are,” says Carly.
8 Don’t harm the environment
Black bags can be used to put your rubbish and dirty clothing in. “But they are not always provided,” says Carly. Bring your own to keep order in your corner and the site clean. It also helps the organisers and the planet.”
9 Be aware of petty crime
Although festivals are a celebratory time and everyone’s there to have fun, they are no utopia. They’re a fertile ground for petty crime. “Everyone is there for a good time, but get a lock for the tent. Get a chain and keep the key around your neck… safest place,” Thorne says.