Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival

7th Jun 2011 | 14:07

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
All you need to know to survive festival season

The festival season is right around the corner, with Download taking place later this week before Glastonbury, V, Sonisphere, Reading and Leedset al take place over the coming months. Anyone heading to any of these weekend-long camping jaunts will need all the help they can get, so here's our (and a few of our drumming mates') top tips for festi-fun!

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Embrace the camping life (or book into a hotel)
Mike Portnoy closes his eyes and hopes for the best

Fancy spending an entire weekend of the Great British summer open to the elements? That’s half of the festival fun right there, isn’t it? Hmmm…it seems no one told Mike Portnoy. “I went camping with my son for his Cub Scouts. It was a horrific experience! We ended up getting a hotel room.”

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Or do it in style
Dave McClain rockin' Download in style

If you can’t stomach four days in a field and the local hotels are all booked up, you could flash some cash and splash out on a mobile home to guarantee the ultimate festival experience. Just make sure you don’t ruin it for yourself by falling foul of rule 3. Machine Head's Dave McClain: “After a week it [the tour bus] starts smelling bad. Somebody always has ‘cheese foot’. Cheese foot overpowers everything.”

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Stay clean
No one likes a smelly camper

Spending four days in a field is no excuse for stinking the place out with your BO. Just ask Job For A Cowboy’s Jon Rice. He said: “I shower as often as possible. If I go two or three days without a shower, I get freaked out.” Jon isn't the only one keen to stay looking, and smelling, his best. Dragonforce's Dave Mackintosh: "We're a clean bunch considering we're a metal band."

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Be blown away
Check out some killer bands

Rob Bourdon (Linkin Park): “The first festival I went to was Lollapalooza and I remember standing in a sea of people watching Smashing Pumpkins. It was incredible. When you’re at a festival and the sun’s going down you know the big acts are coming on. There was such excitement when they came on stage.”

Justin Foley (Killswitch Engage): "We did Ozzfest when Maiden were headling and they were intense. They blew everybody off the stage."

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Sample the local cuisine
Indulge in some festival feasts

With the trips from stage to stage and back to the tent each night you’re guaranteed to burn off some calories, so you can perhaps be forgiven for indulging in the typical festival culinary treats. Gallows drummer Lee Barratt is a big fan: “I’m well into my junk food. I couldn’t probably eat it every day.”

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Sink a few beers
But not too many...

Everyone enjoys a few drinks come festival season, but try not to go overboard on the first night and leave yourself recovering for the rest of the weekend. That goes for punters and drummers. Dragonforce drummer Dave Mackintosh: “Ozzfest was the worst for hangovers. I was sweating booze before I went on. One or two songs in and I’m usually ok though.”

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Avoid the portaloos
The longer the weekend goes on the more dangerous they are

Ah, the dreaded festival toilets. The Achilles heel of many a festival goer. As Lee Barratt said: “Don’t use them. I went to Reading Festival but I managed to keep everything in for about four days. If you need to, go in a bush.” Sage words of advice there. That’s why we’ll be avoiding the toilets and also make sure we don’t camp next to Lee. Or any bushes. Judging from this pic of KIllswitch Engage's Justin Foley, he isn't too keen on portaloos either.

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Forget the technical difficulties
Expect the gremlins to be out in full force

Of course, with so little time between bands, any kind of soundcheck is few and far between, meaning a festival set is like a game of Russian roulette for the poor guy at the back. It’s a problem that Vinnie Paul is familiar with: “To be honest it’s like walking into a maze. It’s like getting onto someone else’s drumset.”

Rhythm's Guide to Festival Survival
Check the weather
Don't forget your suncream. And your raincoat

Pick any weekend in the British summer and you’re guaranteed a mixed bag when it comes to weather. Expect to be sunburnt one minute and absolutely drenched the next. Joey Jordison: “[We played a] 30 degree show with rain in the Slipknot tour. It was brutal.”

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