Remember my list of 30 things to do in the year I turn 30? Well last week I attempted one of the most challenging things on the list: attending a fibro-friendly music festival. Five years ago I went to Latitude in Southwold and, quite honestly, it was pretty hellish. It rained, I camped, I hadn’t yet been diagnosed and I was on a horrendous concoction of drugs from a GP who behaved more like a local dealer than a medical professional. I don’t remember very much of it, but what I do remember involves being carried around a lot and falling asleep a lot. Oh, and rapping to R Kelly’s ‘Ignition’ quite a lot.
This time had to be different and on the whole, it was. There was no carrying, no sleeping, but I did still rap to R Kelly’s ‘Ignition’.
Primavera Sound 2014 in Porto was pretty successful, so here are the five things I did to help me survive festival season at a time when health was not on my side.
#1 – Don’t camp
A city festival in sunny Portugal was so much easier to cope with than camping in the cold, damp British fields. It’s hard enough to sleep when you’re sore, so having a comfortable apartment in a good location near a taxi rank or main bus route is worth paying for in my humble opinion. And if I ever take on the challenge of camping again, I’ll do it in the accessible campsite or maybe try glamping.
#2 – Don’t try and do it all
The down side of a city festival abroad is that you’re abroad, and if you’re anything like me then you want to explore. I’d never been to Porto before and it was a city I wanted to see, but I reminded myself that this was not the time. A little bit of exploring around the local area is fine, but if you want to go on a city break I’d advise doing it with a different set of tips and tricks for survival. This was my first festival in five years, so my focus was on getting enjoyment out of that.
#3 – Surround yourself with good people
Sometimes it’s hard to do the things you want to do, so making sure you have people who understand your condition and can look after you if the going gets tough is essential.
#4 – Factor in lots of breaks
Whether you’re at a day festival or a night one, factor in a lot of breaks. Primavera kicked off at about 7pm each night which meant I had the whole day to sleep, rest and eat – my three favourite things to do. Scattered in between food and rest was the odd bit of sight-seeing in the local area, all by taxi to keep my body rested for the evening.
#5 – Sit down and layer up
Style went right out the window whilst I was at Primavera. I looked like a small Michelin man as soon as the sun set, wrapped up with three jumpers and a rain coat. By day I took advantage of the sun on my bones, but whatever the weather or the time of day, I was always sat down.
I’m not going to lie, I’m really bloody sore now but it was totally worth it to be sat on the grass with a beer watching the sun go down and listening to good music.
Everyone has an opinion on how to cope when you’re in pain, whether that be mental or physical. Some say you should take it easy, do what you can handle and don’t ask too much of yourself. Others (and by ‘others’, I mean ‘me’) say you need to take it easy and make time for yourself, but you also need to live. Sometimes to get to the beauty you need to endure the pain, and this was really beautiful.