Summer means music festivals. We’re in the thick of it at the moment with plenty of amazing events happening such as the Big Day Out, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival and Soundwave. They’re a chance to head into the sunshine with your friends and enjoy some amazing tunes from your favourite artists.

An all-day outdoor concert can be a lot of fun, but it can pose a few challenges for those with health conditions. The day can be very draining, it’s often hard on your feet (especially if you don’t wear sensible shoes!) and the combination of sun, fun, dancing and alcohol can quickly lead to dehydration. On top of this, many festival venues are a little makeshift with popup food stalls and a block of port-a-loos (with loooong queues) instead of regular facilities. This can make the prospect of a day-long festival a bit daunting for someone with digestive issues.

If you’re in this boat it helps to prepare for tricky situations in advance. Here are some ideas to make the most out of the festival season, with the least disruption to your GI tract.

Eat bland food and avoid festival food
Stick to a bland diet in the lead up and on the day to try and maintain some equilibrium. Foods offered at festival venues are often greasy, acidic and just generally not great for your health. You’re better off bringing along your own meals and snacks so you can avoid the deep fried nasties.

Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can put a major dampener on your festival experience so it’s essential to stay well hydrated throughout the day, especially in the heat. Try taking time out every few hours to chill in the shade, down some fluids to help you keep cool.

Avoid alcohol
A few drinks in the sun can seem like a great idea, but if your condition is sensitive to alcohol it’s a big no-no. Alcohol can irritate sensitive GI tracts and dehydrate you. On top of this, after a couple of beers your self control might slip and you may end up indulging in greasy foods that won’t do you any favours. Be kind to your gut. Stick to water.

Take your medication with you
If you take medication to manage your condition, make sure you take it along with you on the day. Also pack any boosters or remedies (such as mint tablets or antacids) you like to have on hand to alleviate symptoms during a flare-up.

Do venue recon and have an escape plan
When you arrive make sure you check out where the toilet facilities are located along with first aid, information, exits and water stations. That way if you need assistance (or need to leg it to the loo) you’re not wasting time with directions.

You should also have an escape plan in mind. If you’re struck down with severe pain or a sudden onset of symptoms, you’ll want a hassle-free exit option. This is especially important to consider if the festival venue is in an out-of-the-way location or if transport is an issue.

As always, it’s important that you put your health first. With a few precautions and some advanced planning, this festival season should have you boogieing in no time.

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