Festival emergency

Maybe your money has gone walkabout, your tent's been turned over, or you've lost everyone you came with. It's bound to be gutting, but you can take steps to make yourself feel a little bit better.

Girl wearing hat looking sad in festival crowd

Don't feel like joining in with all the mandatory fun?

I’m lost and I can’t find my friends at the festival!

Too much sun, alcohol, drugs, absent partners or even crowds can leave some people feeling distressed and in need of support. Whatever the reason for your emotional wobble, even if it’s a pre-existing condition, help is always on hand.

  • Stewards and security staff are a familiar sight at any festival and are there to uphold the safety and happiness of every reveller. Whatever state you’re in, they’ll make your welfare a priority.
  • Alternatively, find the medical tent yourself and let them know what’s going on.
  • Avoid (further) drink/drug consumption, apart from medicines prescribed to you by a doctor.
  • Deal with too much sun by seeking shelter and sipping regularly from a non-alcoholic drink.

This isn’t as fun as I thought – I’m feeling down and emotional

Samaritans has a special festival branch, dedicated entirely to providing a 24-hour Samaritans service at events around Britain. If you are feeling upset, depressed or even suicidal at a festival, head to the Samaritans tent for round-the-clock emotional support. Find out what festivals the Samaritans will be attending this year.

I got caught with drugs at a festival

So you’re the unluckiest festival-head in the field. Don’t panic. Even if you’ve been caught red handed – for possession or possession with intent to supply – you still have rights. Just remember that the law applies at festivals too.

  • Give your name and address when asked, but if you’re in any doubt about further questions then get a solicitor. You won’t lose any rights: nor will it cost anything.
  • The police will provide you with a list of independent solicitors. You can pick one and call them. They may advise you over the phone, or visit you on site in person.
  • Alternatively, call Release on 020 7605 8654 or 0845 4500 215.

I’m stuck in a crowd crush!

UK festival security standards are high. Even so, if the squeeze is on, whether you’re at the front of the stage or simply stuck in a bottleneck where festival paths collide, it’s good to know how to take care of yourself.

  • Stay calm. Freaking out can be infectious and risks adding to the chaos.
  • Identify which direction the crowd surge is coming from and move away from it.
  • Don’t be tempted to try picking up any personal possession you may have dropped in the crush. It’s more important you stay on your feet.
  • If you’re in serious trouble, let people around you know. If you’re finding it hard to breathe because of the crush use your arms to attract attention.

Emergency contraception and STIs

Panics about emergency contraception or STIs shouldn’t be ignored just because you’re at a festival. If you have had unprotected sex, or are concerned about any aspect of your sexual health, if you are under 25, you can get in touch with Brook via their digital tool, Ask Brook.

Crime at festivals

You’ll find a police presence at most festivals. Their main aim is to keep on top of crime, so if you are a victim of theft or abuse, be sure to report it to them as soon as possible. Most festivals will have a static police base so ask a steward for directions if you can’t find them.

Sexual assault and rape at festivals

If you have been a victim of rape or assault at a festival, it’s likely you’ll initially be in a state of shock. Read our article on rape here. As for reporting the attack, the following advice should apply to most major UK festivals.

  • Find a member of staff/police officer and ask them to help you find the welfare tent. Take a friend.
  • Go to welfare tent for support
  • Welfare will contact police if that is what you want
  • Police will then deal from there on, including taking forensic examinations etc.

My mobile’s been nicked

Lost your phone or had it stolen? Call your provider straight away and let them know. They should be able to block calls so you’re not charged for Mr Thief’s long-distance calls.

My bank card has been stolen

If your card has been lost or stolen, all banks offer emergency 24-hour services. You can get a list of your bank or building society’s numbers here.

Ask Brook

If you’ve got a problem with your sexual health or a relationship that you’re worried about before, during or after a festival, sexual health charity Brook can help.


Next Steps




Updated on 29-Sep-2015

Photo of girl at festival by Cloud Mine Amsterdam / Shutterstock.com