How to stay cool at festivals when temperatures are sizzling hot

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How to stay cool at festivals when temperatures are sizzling hot

how to stay cool
words by Michael Pasahidis

Buckle up, party people.

Music lovers statewide are in for a treat with both the Sandford Bush Music Festival and the Port Fairy Folk Festival looming large, not to mention Pitch Music & Arts, Golden Plains and Esoteric rounding out a stacked weekend of music festivals.

But just like the vibes at the Grampian Plains and the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, temperatures are about to go up like crazy.

Forecast for Melbourne This Weekend

  • Friday, March 8 – Min. 13 degrees  Max. 27 degrees
  • Saturday, March 9 – Min. 17 degrees  Max. 39 degrees
  • Sunday, March – Min. 25 degrees  Max. 34 degrees

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

As a courtesy, and from an abundance of empathetic experience, we thought we would throw together a list of must-do’s to not only help brave the heat but to beat it.

Cover Up

We know this might sound counter-intuitive and many festival-goers would prefer to wear as little as possible to stay cool, but don’t knock it until you try it. It can be as simple as a light scarf to wrap around your face, or even just a wide-brimmed hat.

Sunnies are almost always a good idea too. Don’t forget to watch those shoulders, they’re very vulnerable. At the very least, shrouding yourself in some kind of material will provide protection from the sun’s rays and help prevent that post-festival red ‘glow’. This segues our next point quite nicely.

Go easy on the party favours

Not to be a party pooper, but both alcohol and drugs can wear you and make you extra dehydrated. As temperatures soar, be mindful of what you’re putting in your body, as your tolerance may be lower than it would be on a normal day.

Take it easy and go slow. There’s nothing worse than feeling sick when you should be boogying down with all of your friends.

Wear sunscreen

This is a non-negotiable. Make sure you’re wearing it, your friends are wearing and everyone’s reapplying frequently. Cancer Council’s website recommends reapplying every two hours, and we wholeheartedly agree. The higher the SPF the better, but for the love of God, make sure it’s at least above 30.

Along with drinking water, it is something that can easily slip the mind. A good tip is to set a reminder on your phone for every two hours between sunrise and sunset. You won’t out-mosh the sun.

Bring a fan

Fans are the perfect little instrument to accompany you on your festival endeavours. Whether it’s a simple foldable hand-held fan or one of the elite battery-operated spray ones, fans can help take the edge off the gruelling heat. Everyone in the crowd around you will be grateful and/or jealous.

Fans can even serve as the perfect décor for your tents. Speaking of tents…

Throw shade (the good kind)

Most multi-day festivals include campsites, on which patrons can set up their tents and gazebos to create a home away from home. Festivals will often operate on a first-in, best-dressed basis, meaning get there early to find the perfect camping spot.

Good spots can include near water stations or under shady trees. A reminder, camping under trees should be undertaken with caution, as some trees – like those that border Pitch’s campground – are prone to spontaneously dropping branches. Please don’t find yourself under one of those.

As a backup, a few sun umbrellas or tarps to huddle under never hurt, especially when the sun is beating down like no tomorrow.

Site maps

It’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with sitemaps for the bigger festivals, as some have up to four or five stages. Without wanting to assign homework, we suggest you take note of the locations of water, shade, medical tents and food. Merch stands can wait!


Although it goes without saying, remember to drink water! While obvious, it can be easily forgotten. Festival hours often can fly by and when caught up in the front row of an amazing set, drinking water rapidly slips down the priority list.

If you need to hydrate quickly, electrolytes like Powerade and coconut water are a good option as well. Remind your friends to stay hydrated too – we all need a festival parent every now and then.

Get wet

Water can be used for more than drinking! Bring an inflatable pool, some water guns or spray bottles. Start a water fight.

It is fun, safe and an incredibly efficient way of staying cool. Some have been known to pack bathers to shower and stay in throughout the days. Just be sure to have something dry to change into – the nights can be freezing!

Give yourself a break

Festivals can be LONG. You physically cannot, nor should you expect to, dance your way through every set of a three-day event.

Be mindful of your energy levels, and if needed, find a space to relax and recuperate. Talk to your friends and look out for one another. Fatigue can creep up ridiculously fast, so be vigilant!

Festivals are to be enjoyed safely. Whilst they’re some of the most fun musical experiences one can have, planning ahead to help mitigate the heat is a must. Pack smart, look after each other and enjoy.

For more on how to stay cool as a cucumber, head here.