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Going to Your First Ever Festival? Here Are Five Survival Tips!

by Ben Lewis 

Are you heading to Groovin’ the Moo over the next couple of weeks? If your answer is ‘yes’, then woohoo, there’s just something special about the regional festival and 2023’s instalment is poised to be another phenomenal run of shows.

Coming to 6 regional cities over the next two weeks, GTM holds a special place in the hearts of Aussies everywhere and thousands are expected to descend upon the paddocks this year.

As a festival that welcomes patrons of all ages, there are going to be quite a few of you excitedly planning your outfits and scanning the stage schedules for the very first time, and that’s fantastic!

May your first festival foray lead to a lifelong live music addiction!

With that said, keep reading to learn the 5 golden rules for surviving your first festival from TuneFM’s resident mohawked, music-loving, metalhead:

1. Clothing – Comfort Comes First!

When it comes to picking out your festival fit, you want to make sure you’re as comfy as possible. The elaborate studded leather tops and platform boots look phenomenal, yes, but your body will not be thanking you a few hours into moshing.

I totally get wanting your outfit to be as fabulous as possible, but wearing clothes that are breathable, not restrictive, and not too hot will be so much easier on yourself!

As far as shoes go, GTM runs for over 10 hours, and you’ll be spending a LOT of that time on your feet; make sure you’re in sneakers or some other forgiving footwear.

This also goes for makeup. That intricate full-face design will undoubtedly look amazing at first, but after hours of live music on a hot day you’ll just sweat it all down your face – trust me; I speak from experience!

2. Plan for the Weather!

I cannot stress this enough if there is even the slightest chance of sunny weather, MAKE SURE YOU BRING SUNSCREEN WITH YOU! Once again, GTM is a 10-hour+ festival and a great deal of that time will be before sundown – you are not going to want your skin doing battle with the sun for 5 hours straight.

I promise you; your skin will lose! GTM offers free sunscreen stations, but these will be limited and thousands of people need to slip, slop, slap (seek, slide!) Make it easier on yourself by bringing your own – and a hat certainly wouldn’t go astray either!

By the same token, GTM won’t shut down due to rain either and umbrellas are prohibited, so if it’s looking a little bit dark and cloudy outside, throw a poncho or a raincoat in your bag. You’ll thank yourself if the skies open and the venue cops a drenching!

3. Stay Hydrated!

Take this one seriously – dehydration can sneak up on you quickly, especially after a couple of hours singing and dancing under the sun. GTM has free water refill stations throughout the paddocks, and you are permitting to bring in (sealed and empty) water bottles from home, so make the most of it!

Heat stroke and dehydration will be guaranteed to ruin your day, so make sure you’re drinking enough water all throughout the festival.

While you can’t bring in any drinks besides water, there will be vendors and stalls where you can grab whatever thirst-quencher you want. And for all you 18+ groovers out there, don’t go crazy on the alcohol!

4. Pack the Essentials… Only the Essentials!

We’ve already touched on water bottles, sunscreen, and a poncho, but there are a few other things you absolutely should make sure you’ve got on hand:

  • A jumper – once the Sun goes down, it’s going to get chilly!
  • Your ID – Your name and date of birth on your ticket MUST match the details on your photo ID in order to be allowed entry, so make sure you’ve got it on you!
  • A (portable) phone charger – Those of you lucky enough to have tickets to the Udder Mayhem area will have power outlets available, but otherwise it’s best to have a portable charger on hand. You don’t want to run out of juice midway through the show!
  • Bank cards – GTM is entirely cashless so make sure you have your card!

Also, keep in mind that packing light is the best way to go; even though GTM has cloaking facilities, it’ll be a lot easier if you’ve only got a small bag to worry about.

5. Plan Your Day!

The unfortunate truth of the matter when it comes to music festivals is that it’s never going to be possible to see all your favourite artists. There are three stages running at GTM, and stage times can be found online and through the app.

Knowing who you want to see, what times and what stage they’re playing on, and where you need to go for each artist will make life so much easier for you. You don’t want to risk missing part of your favourite act!

Planning your day also means having a pre-arranged meeting spot at the venue for when you inevitably get separated from your group; maps of each venue are also available online and through the app so make sure you know where you’re meeting if one of you gets lost!

And a Bonus Number 6… Don’t be afraid to be COVID safe!

Yes, really. We’re still in a pandemic, and Australia could be in store for another surge of cases, so don’t let anybody make you feel bad about being COVID cautious!

Even though it’s outside, there will be a lot of people mingling and you don’t want to bring a virus home with you. Taking protections like using hand sanitiser and wearing a high-quality mask is nothing to be ashamed of. Wearing a mask won’t lessen your enjoyment of GTM at all and you’re keeping yourself and the people around you safe.

Finally, a few quickfire extra tips!

  • Know what you can’t bring into the venue; read those conditions of entry!
  • You CAN take prescription medication, provided it is in its original packaging and placed in a clear resealable bag along with your prescription/proof of requirement.
  • Set aside a bit of time for lunch; you are going to want to get some food!
  • Use public transport if you can; parking is going to be pretty limited! Check out the Getting Here section on the GTM website after selecting your show for a list of shuttle services.
  • Know where the first aid facilities are, just in case!

Most of all… HAVE FUN!!!