This past week, I took a hiatus on blogging while I traveled to Dover Delaware to enjoy Firefly Music Festival. My best friend from Appalachian State and a group of her friends from Temple University met up with me and my boyfriend at a Wawa to combine our camping gear and head into the early camping lot together on Wednesday Morning.
It was scorching hot while we set up the campsite around 11 am, and did not cool down until 7pm that evening. Even though we were continuously drinking water, we were constantly parched and in search of more shade. We ran out of water fairly quickly, and my boyfriend and I set out for the water refill station. On the way, we noticed the excessive drinking and other methods of intoxication had already begun. As I walked with my boyfriend I felt elated by the festival atmosphere. I felt the excitement in the air. I heard people yelling out of anticipation for their favorite headliners to perform. I heard Arctic Monkies blaring on more than one speaker as I walked down the hot dirt path to the water refill station. I felt giddy. However, in the back of my mind, I was running through a checklist of supplies and reminders that would keep my campsite healthy and safe such as staying hydrated, using sunscreen, keeping an eye on anyone if they had consumed more intoxicating substances than intended. I knew everything was going to be fine as I was camping with a close-knit group of friends that had each other’s best interest at heart as well as my boyfriend. However, I wanted to make sure I was well prepared since accidents can happen at any time and anyplace.
Unfortunately, an accident did happen on Sunday morning at my camping lot, but fortunately for my friends and I not at our campsite. Sadly, a 20-year-old women from Philly was found unresponsive in her tent early Sunday morning, and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:55 am. Seeing that no foul play was suspected, many people are assuming her death involved dehydration, alcohol poisoning, or abuse of a substance. While I have no idea what caused this young woman’s death and the fact that it may have not involved any sort of intoxicating substance of dehydration I want to offer helpful advice to future festival goers that are planning to camp.
- Drink Water! Drinking enough water to fight off dehydration in hot weather is common knowledge. However, many people do not realize that alcohol dehydrates the body. In repsonse, a person that is consuming alcohols needs to drink way more water than normal, especially in hot weather conditions.
- Bring a canopy! (or two) Being able to escape from the blistering sun is a saving grace. It helps to prevent heat exhaustion, sunburn and slows down the process of dehydration. It also makes camping much more enjoyable since the tents feel like saunas once the sun is shining. Canopies are the only source of shade when camping out in an open field, and are worth every penny.
- Sunscreen! Suffering from a nasty sunburn or sun poison is enough to ruin anyone’s festival experience. Applying sunscreen often is so super important to prevent sunburn. Day two while camping at Firefly, I saw many people looking like lobsters and saw a man with a horrible case of sun poisoning at the medical tent.
- Electrolytes! When sweating a large number of electrolytes can be lost, which makes it more difficult to rehydrate with just water! This can lead to many health complication, odd symptoms, and illness. Drinking an electrolyte drink can help in keeping hydration levels high, and electrolytes balanced. Overall, it made me feel rejuvenated after waking up in a puddle of sweat in my tent after a long night of jumping and dancing to my favorite songs.
- Cool Clothing! (pun intended) My first morning at firefly I woke up and walked to the bathroom trailers in a cotton t-shirt and shorts. By the time I walked back to the campsite 20 min later my t-shirt was drenched in sweat. I recommend wearing clothing that wick’s moisture or join the bralette trend that is very popular at festivals.
- Use a buddy system! I personally am not big into drinking or any other substances, but many people enjoy these activities! I recommend having a buddy that will keep your well-being in mind while drinking and partying. This reduces the likely hood that you will be in any dangerous situations or end up passed out in a pile of vomit. So make a plan with your pal to keep an eye on each other!
- Make your health a priority! If you are drinking with your friends and enjoying a concert, but all of the sudden you feel nauseous and dizzy grab a friend and tell them how you are feeling, then ask them to walk with you to the medical tent even if you are underage! The health practitioners in the medical tent are only concerned about your health and well-being and are very used to seeing alcohol poising and dehydration at festivals. They are not going to interrogate you about your age, and your sources for getting alcohol if you are underage. They are most concerned about helping you feel better and making sure you aren’t seriously ill.
Festivals are an amazing atmosphere to hang out with friends and enjoy amazing music. They offer so many unique experiences such as getting to play on stage with your favorite bands and riding in a hot air balloon. ( No joke! This year a percussion student from PA was invited up on stage to play the drums with the Killers, and he killed it) If you party responsibly it will be one of the best memories you have. I have attended Firefly two years in a row, and every year I leave excited for next years festival. I always feel mentally refreshed and enlightened! I encourage everyone to attend at least one music festival if you have a passion for music! It is truly an amazing experience.
Stay safe and healthy friends!