How to survive festival season

Because it's a marathon, not a sprint

Words: Rosie Goddard | Illustrations: Lucy Currie

Ah, festival season; that glorious stretch of summer where fun and frivolity take centre stage and indulging hedonistic tendencies becomes an almost weekly activity. It's the best! But it can be tough on the mind, body and wallet, and if you don't approach it in the right frame of mind, come autumn you'll be wishing you did. 

Here's a collection of cautionary tales and tips to aid you in reaching the other side psychologically whole and with (a little) money in the bank, although neither of these are guaranteed.

Choose wisely 

From the weekly festivals to the ‘Sunday sessions’ and pool parties, summer is a minefield of temptation. Fomo becomes a very tangible problem and if you’re not strong enough to resist, you’ll find yourself strapped for cash for the majority of the month with nothing but your broken dreams and some two minute noodles to keep you company. Decide which parties you think are going to be the best and stick to a select few. You may as well bite the bullet and buy early bird tickets while you're at it; you’ll save around R100 per party and you can always sell them if you don’t end up going. Just do it at face value – don’t be that guy.

Time out 

While excessive partying has its plus sides, weekends off are much needed to rest your body and take stock of your life – read a book, go to the beach, hike up a mountain. The aim is to arrive at each party you go to with renewed vigor and the same level of enthusiasm you had at the beginning of the season. Too much of a good thing can leave you jaded and there may come a time when you find yourself standing alone at the back of some dance floor wondering what you're doing with your life.  

(It only happened the one time)

In it to win it

Look you might not win, but from previous experience and general Facebook observations, it's worth a shot. However, this is no ordinary competition entry. Lots of people are trying their luck so it’s crucial to get creative, whether you opt for offbeat humour, a cheeky limerick or well thought-out meme. Basically, it's time to get weird. I once won two VIP tickets to the Kinky Disco new year party (the only thing I've ever won) with a poem that involved questionable rhyming skills, a total lack of structure and the use of words like ‘jol’. While I may have taken some serious liberties with the English language, I also saved R1500, so in this case, the pros definitely outweighed the cons. 

Leave on a high 

Twelve-hour parties are a wonderful thing. You get to dance your Saturday away in some far-flung field surrounded by your friends, followed by a good night's sleep in your own bed, living the dream! But every so often, the party comes to an end and you're just getting started. While a trip to the club may seem like a fantastic idea, the recovery time will make you realise that it was not. And let's face it, between the crazy eyes and generally disheveled appearance, you probably should have stayed at home. 

Know your limits

I've seen some things in my time. There was the guy who took all his clothes off at Rocking the Daisies and ran up and down the main path for an hour, then there was the girl who locked herself in a portaloo for an unreasonably long time because she forgot how to open the door. The moral of the story here is that it’s important to remember your limits, if you’re a two-glasses-of-wine kind of gal, what are you doing drinking nine vodka Red Bulls and popping a cap of mdma? Obviously, festivals are no place for keeping it casual but it's also fun to return from the party with your pride and dignity in tact. Unfortunately, people remember these incidences and are likely to pass them on. 

Squad goals

The success of your party often comes down to the people you're with. Take it from Superbalist's resident festival expert (besides myself obvs) and co-owner of Sexy Groovy Love, Shaun Michaels. "You'll be doing everything with your crew so surround yourself with friends that know how to make the best of any situation. Sometimes things don't go your way – you could have had one too many tequilas or you missed the bus home because you were having too much fun. If you're with the right people, these mishaps aren't so bad, they become adventures and stories to tell when you get home". 

Similarly, if a member of your clan has disrespected tip no. 5 and launched themselves into orbit (there's always one), their future self will be safe in the knowledge that they've got some true friends to bring them back down to earth.

Pour it up

It takes a seriously skilled smuggler to get alcohol past security at most day parties and chances are, you're probably getting it confiscated. Pre-drinks are therefore essential if you don't want to end up spending a fortune at the bar, as is a buddy system when you arrive i.e. teaming up with a friend and using one mixer between two. You'll save about R30 per trip. 

Let’s talk cellphones

If, like me, you have a knack for losing all valuables after one double drink, why tempt fate? Leave the Instagramming up to one of your more responsible, together friends and get yourself a cheap Nokia pronto. There’s nothing worse than losing your cell on day one of the party and then living with the shame until Sunday, it can really take the wind out of your sails and when it dawns on you that a weekend of fun essentially cost you upwards of R10000, it starts to make serious economical sense. 

While you’re at it, a disposable camera might be a good option too.

Fully charged

On the other hand, if you are one of those people who manages to hold onto your possessions, then a portable phone charger is exactly what you need. It’ll mean you’re connected from Monday to Sunday and you can smugly snap away while the rest of your friends have to occupy themselves making drinks etc. As the old proverb goes, an event never happened unless you have the photos to prove it, so always be prepared.

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Healthy body, healthy mind

From the dancing to the alcohol consumption, festivals often involve pushing your body to the limit, meaning you might need a little more than a shower upon your return to society. Lots of party goers swear by natural Sceletium supplements for their mood lifting, Serotonin-boosting properties. However, recovery is largely dependent on your water consumption and choice of food. After speaking to my nutritionist friend Thomas, who incidentally loves to party, I got the lowdown. "At festivals you're doing a lot of dancing which means you're using up fats and proteins. In the days after a party, I drink a simple superfood smoothie that works wonders. It contains hemp which is full of protein, plus raw cashews (healthy trans fats), bananas, honey and then raw cacao which is amazing for energy levels. Green juices also work really well".

He forgot to mention pizza; I always include one in my post-party eating plan – mainly for its morale-boosting properties. 

I could carry on for days, but for the sake of my self esteem, I'll leave the stories of how I got stitches at Earthdance (wellies + running = a bad idea) and the time when I almost fell asleep in somebody else's tent for another time.