Preparing for festivals when you have fibromyalgia

I don’t do festival prep very well. In fact, come to think of it, I’m not sure I do festivals all that well. I’ve blogged a couple of times about surviving festivals with a chronic illness – both at home and abroad – but every time I prepare to go to a four day music festival, I get the fear. Fear that I won’t survive, fear that I won’t have fun, fear that I’ve spent money on something that will have a lasting effect on my pain for the next few weeks – and not in a good way.

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But I keep doing it, and this year I’m doing two – one back in Portugal with a small group of four and one in the British countryside with fourteen girls. With a fairly intense summer ahead, I’ve decided to think about festival prep and aftercare and, as with all good things in my life, I’m going in with a structured plan.

It starts with the clothes

Shallow as it may sound, fashion choices are an essential part of festival survival. Too few clothes and the cold chill makes me sore, too many and the heavy bags have the same effect. Quite frankly it’s a logistical nightmare.

And, whilst I have no desire to look like I’m 19 and at Coachella, I would like to look half decent. I want to be healthy, comfortable and gorgeous – is that too much to ask? Steering clear of short shorts and flower crowns, I will mainly be wearing skinny jeans, striped tops and a chunky knits – with thermals in my bag for after sunset. Warm, light and… well, warm and light. That’ll have to do.

Be okay with being alone 

We all want to come away from festivals with group photos and mosh-pit memories, but survival is the order of the day and sometimes that means stepping away from the action – even if it means being alone. Moving from stage to stage and standing all night isn’t practical for fibro festival folk, so sitting at the back or lying in the sun needs to be an acceptable pastime – at least for some of the day.

People-watching is an excellent and fascinating way to pass the time, and this year I will also be taking a book. Call me boring if you will, but I love to have music in the background whilst I’m reading or writing and, whilst it may not be the way to have a hardcore party, it’s still better than being at work.

Chill, and enjoy it 

If keeping yourself as pain free and calm as physically possible is your number one aim, then I’d probably skip a music festival. It’s never the most relaxing experience but it’s not meant to be. Even for the most physically able it’s a demanding, draining weekend of late nights, too much booze and too much dancing. So embrace it for what it is, do what you can and above all else, enjoy it.

… Wish me luck! I’ll report back.