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My top tips for anxious festival goers

Well, it's been a hot minute. I didn't intend on taking a hiatus from my blog, i just sort of ran out of juice and didn't want to force it. As expected, i've missed it like crazy and i'm ready to throw myself back into it.

So, to kick things off again, i want to talk about my recent festival experience. For those of you who don’t know, i suffer quite badly with anxiety surrounding crowds and loud/busy places, so you’re probably wondering why the hell i even bothered going.

I think it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes. We were kindly gifted tickets to TRNSMT festival in Glasgow and i had never been to a festival before; i wanted to know what it was like and this was the perfect opportunity.

I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that helped me get through the weekend in the hope that other anxious introverts who want to try out festivals know how to ease the blow. I’m no expert at giving advice, but these are the things that helped me out the most.

Have a safe space to retreat to.

We were lucky enough to be gifted VIP tickets, meaning we had access to the quieter VIP area which became my safe space across the whole weekend. When things out in the main area got too much, we could retreat back in there.

Festivals are busy, there’s no denying it. There’s people EVERYWHERE and you won’t find anywhere totally empty to chill out. But there will be small areas of quiet, away from the loud music and loud people that i would advise you seek out immediately.

I don’t think i would’ve coped as well without having the quieter VIP area. However, these tickets are super expensive and not available to everyone so i appreciate how lucky we were. The further you move away from the various stages, the quieter it’ll be.

Don't drink alcohol.

I know, i know, “YoU’rE sUpPoSeD tO dRiNk AlCoHoL aT a FeStIvAl”…but it mostly doesn’t help with anxiety. I will admit in some situations it eases me and makes me feel better, but a festival is not one of them.

I had some alcohol on both the Friday and Saturday, then decided not to bother on Sunday. Surprisingly, i found Sunday to be the best day and the easiest on my anxiety. I’m not sure if it’s just because it was the last day and i knew i didn’t have to come back, but not having alcohol definitely helped.

Feeling so anxious anyway, the alcohol didn’t make me feel anything other than indigestion. I didn’t get a buzz from it, i just felt ill and heavy which made me want to go home so badly. I actually had a lot more fun sober.

Make sure the people you're with know how to help.

Not everybody understands anxiety. Hell, i don’t even understand it sometimes. And Max, bless him, tries his hardest but you won’t know how difficult it is until you’ve experienced it yourself.

However, Max knows how much i struggle and knows i was really nervous about this festival. I told him i might not be able to spend a lot of time in the main area and i might have to leave early, and he totally understood.

He was happy to come back to my safe space with me when things got too busy for me, and always offered to leave early if it would make me feel better. If you can, make sure at least one person you’re with will accompany you to your safe space or leave early with you. It helped me so much.

The thing i struggled with the most was the other people there. I was so worried i’d be surrounded by people doing drugs and acting crazy, and i wasn’t totally wrong but it actually wasn’t as bad as i expected.

The majority of girls at TRNSMT were super rude and would just barge right into you without as much as a ‘sorry’. People don’t care if they spill your food or drink, or if they spill it over you. In fact, i think they try to. It’s one thing that really put me off being out in the main area.

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It also really distressed me seeing how much people littered. It was so unnecessary. There were bins everywhere, and people still thought it was okay to just dump their cups, cardboard boxes and wipes on the ground. I have very low opinions of these people.

It wasn’t all bad though, honest! The sun was shining and it was beautiful, we lay on the grass in the VIP area for hours between main stage acts just chatting and watching people go by. I loved seeing what everyone was wearing – i think festival style is my favourite!

It was also really lovely to spend the time with Max. We’ve never done anything like that before and experiencing something new with him was just amazing. I always joke that we’re quite a boring couple because we just stay in and watch X Files all the time, so i feel like i love him even more now.

And of course, the music was great. The line-up did have a few issues which were raised beforehand, but regardless, i enjoyed seeing some artists that i would have never gotten the chance to see. Lewis Capaldi was amazing, Example took me right back to high school, Catfish and the Bottlemen are my new obsession.

Special mention to Deni Smith, who played the Queen Tut’s stage on Sunday afternoon. I went to school with Deni and she was always such a talented musician, so seeing her play TRNSMT was surreal! 

Admittedly, i wouldn’t pay to go to a festival again. I’m really proud of myself for giving it a go, and there were things i would definitely do differently next time, but overall i don’t think it’s worth me paying for.

I would likely need to have VIP tickets to ease my anxiety, and they’re normally way too expensive. I am so, so thankful these were gifted.

What are your top tips for festival anxiety?

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