Whether your bag’s music, books, yoga, vintage cars or even gin, there’s a festival for everyone. From a teenage rite of passage to a reunion for original hippies, festivals are great gatherings for like-minded people keen to celebrate the big passion in their lives.
Once limited to a handful of big-name summer shows, such as Glastonbury and Reading, there are now literally hundreds of festivals to choose from, all year round.
Many are family-friendly, with imaginative activities to keep little ones busy, while a growing number focus on fitness and well-being, offering a quieter vibe and the space to find balance.
But before you head off armed only with a tent and some sun cream, hold up! There’s a little more to it than that - including your personal safety and having the right festival insurance in place - so read on!
The first thing to note is that tickets for the headline music festivals don’t come cheap, and you can expect to pay upwards of £200 for a weekend pass to events such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds (that’s if you can get your hands on one before they sell out, of course).
Some now offer instalment plans, giving you the chance to make payments over the course of several months - Greenman and Camp Bestival are two that spring to mind.
The first instalment, which includes a booking fee, tends to be non-refundable, but this can nevertheless be a great option for cash-strapped students or group bookings.
You can, of course, pay directly from your current account, and a packaged bank account - offering perks such travel insurance, a free overdraft and gadget cover for your mobile phone - can be a good option if you tend to go to lot of festivals and events. Packaged accounts work well for some people, but do make sure that the benefits add up for you.
Packaged bank accounts come with a monthly fee, which tend to vary widely between providers. Also, some impose age limits on the travel insurance, which could leave older festival goers finding they aren’t actually covered should they need to make a claim.
You might also be able to get all the benefits at a lower price by shopping around and comparing travel insurance online.
Taking out travel insurance is a sensible idea for any break, even a weekend festival in the UK. While all reputable events will have first aiders on hand and an NHS hospital relatively nearby should you become ill, you’ll still want to protect your cash, bank cards and personal belongings.
You may find expensive items, such as electronic equipment and jewellery, are covered under your home insurance. For extra peace of mind, Admiral Travel Insurance’s Gadget Insurance add-on covers up to three items to a value of £1,000 that are lost, stolen or damaged in one trip, including smartphones, tablets and the all-important SatNav that'll get you safely to your festival in the first place.
And, should your mobile phone be stolen, our gadget cover will also reimburse you, up to the policy limit, for any calls, messages or data usage in the first 24 hours after it’s found to be missing.
Heading to an event abroad, such as Ibiza Spirit or Sziget Festival in Budapest? A good travel insurance policy should be top of your list - it'll cover you against things like emergency medical treatment, cancelling your trip short, lost luggage and protect your personal belongings, money and documents.
There are three types of overseas travel insurance:
Admiral stretches the boundaries of Europe to include some areas bordering Europe and the Mediterranean, so you might find your festival insurance is classed as ‘European’ even if the location is a little further afield. We cover 50 European countries and stretch to include:
And don’t forget to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it’s no substitute for travel insurance but it can help you get emergency help in participating European countries.
If you’re driving to a festival (or any major event), try not to leave anything that could attract thieves on display in your car.
Some festival organisers advise music-lovers to leave glove compartments open to alert criminals to the fact there is nothing of value in the vehicle. Remember, it’s always easier to make a claim if you’ve been as careful as possible with your possessions.
You should also make sure your car is festival-ready before setting off - you'll have plenty to take with you but can you fit in there too?
A YouGov survey carried out in June 2018 for the Press Association revealed more than a fifth of festival-goers had faced unwanted sexual behaviour, with this figure rising to 30% among women and 43% among women under 40.
Also, sadly theft from tents, and even of tents themselves, is not uncommon at festivals, so it’s always a good idea to leave valuables at home.
Divide your cash and cards into separate areas around your tent when you’re sleeping, in case of opportunistic thieves, keep anything really important with you every time you’re away from your tent and stay in a group.
If you're unlucky enough to fall victim to a crime at a festival, here's what you should do next: