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Rowany Festival, sleeping and avoiding the chirugeon

Rowany Festival is Coming: are you prepared?

Sleeping and Avoiding the Chirurgeon by Duena Acacia de Navarre

So you have gotten your site and campsite booking worked out, your garb has been sorted and you are well on the road to getting it finished (after all festival is only two weeks away ;-), what else should you be worried about?

Well you do have the major things worked out but there are a few more things that you need to consider – bedding and medical care and attention are the next things on the list.


When you are dealing with sub zero night-time temperatures two of your main areas for loss of heat is through the ground or from your head. While it is simple to put on a beanie to go to bed in, it is also very important to look at your bedding to ensure it is insulated from the cold of the ground and if possible raised off it. What people use for bedding at festival ranges from the most basic air mattresses to the full 4 poster beds (with heraldic drapery).

What I am going to cover here is the more basic end of the scale. Firstly let’s look at air mattresses, while this is the most popular choice it is not always the most successful. The simple air mattress has two main problems, one is they have a tendency to go flat and secondly being full of air they are not very insulated.

If you do choose to use an air mattress then make sure you test it out to make sure it does not have a leak (before you get to festival) and no matter how good your air mattress you should budget enough to buy a new one should yours develop a leak. Second is insulation – air transfers heat and cold, therefore you need to find ways to insulate the air mattress from the ground. There are a couple of simple solutions to this, firstly put something under the air mattress, this can be a rug or old blanket, but a simple and effective form of insulation is a flattened cardboard box, these are usually readily available (just make sure the staples are removed or they may puncture your mattress). When arranging your bedding (sheets blankets etc) make sure at least two thirds of your bedding is underneath you. For example: if you have 3 blankets, at least two of them should be between you and the air mattress. While I have been advised that shared bodily warmth is also a great cushion against the cold I will leave that up to your own decisions.

There is another cheap choice which you might like to consider: this is straw, which is a more insulated base than an air mattress. You can order a hay bale or two to use as bedding. If you are going to use this option then you will need to make up a sturdy container for the hay, canvas is best. The more flimsy the cover the more likely that the straw will poke through or be lumpy (quilt covers are too flimsy). Just break up the hay and stuff into your cover. It would still be advisable to have a blanket or two under you.

Medical Care and Attention

Camping and partying in subzero temperatures will put even the healthiest system under pressure, the reality is that we are not used to being out of doors for extended periods of time and don’t take into account the effect this may have on our bodies. One of the main problems is dehydration – drinking alcohol, walking and just generally being in the open air will dehydrate before you know it. Drink lots of water, you will hear this often, but by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Keep water in your tent and drink regularly throughout the day. One of the key ways you will notice the effect of dehydration is dry lips, a chap stick is your friend!

If you have any existing condition, for example asthma, even if it has been under control for a while, it is still worth talking to your doctor about the effect of camping on it. Make sure that you bring extra medication, and that someone (a friend) knows where you keep it. If there is any chance of an attack you may want to speak to your Chirurgeon (first aid officer) so they can help if you need them.

While at your doctor, don't forget a tetanus booster. We are in the country and the only thing walking on the site between festivals is sheep and various poisonous wildlife (some of which will still be there). Which brings up the next point, cleanliness, dirt is everywhere and lots of stuff is mixed in with it. Take extra care with washing, especially your hands, it can also help to have some baby wipes in your tent to help with clean up.

While many of these points do sound obvious and common sense, every year someone has ignored the advice and ended up needing first aid. I wish you all a safe and fun festival, Thus endeth the lesson…