It’s that time of year again: crop tops and jean shorts, tanned skin, and photos of your favorite bands flooding your Instagram feed. It’s festival season, people! I am a huge fan of music festivals and I am hitting at least 2 festivals per year since I am 18 years old. This year on my agenda: the Grape Festival in Slovakia and the Highfield Festival.
I just love every aspect of a music festival. To me, the whole atmosphere is almost mesmerizing and addictive. Festivals mean I can reunite with my besties from all over Germany. It’s a place where I enjoy seeing people go absolutely crazy. It’s the time to walk barefoot all the time and getting my hair entangled with grass from lazing around in front of music stages. And finally, music festivals are about indulging into lots of different foods.
Admittedly, festivals also often mean I forget about my good food habits. I tend to go overboard with alcohol and don’t allow myself a lot of rest nor sleep. And let’s be honest, for a health conscious person and a plantbased foodie, a music festival can become a bit of a complicated affair.
But there has been a learning curve for me in the last 2 years. I have learned to take better care of my body. And I have developed festival habits which have really helped me to feel more energized and not sleep deprived while enjoying an entire weekend of partying without the need of a detox afterwards. And think about it: Wouldn’t it be great to get some go-to tips for staying well while soaking up the rays at your favorite music festival?
How To Survive a Music Festival as A Health Conscious Vegan
Unlike 15 years ago when there was only grilled sausages and pizza available, there are myriads of festivals out there today offering amazing food choices. Before you pick a festival in the first place, check out the website for healthy food options. There are special festivals like the legendary Fusion Festival in Germany with only vegetarian food being offered. And it might not hurt to email the organizer to ask about healthy vegan options. I am not saying pick your festival according food choices. But I would be lying if that is not one of the first things I double check when considering a music festival.
Go shopping + get packing
+ Preparation is key. If you have delish food on hand, chances are much slimmer to binge on unhealthy festival food. Before you head to the festival, stop at a well-stocked grocery shop or organic store. Shop food that keeps you energized, full and hydrated. Look for items that withstand extreme temperatures, pack lots of nutrients and are easy to carry (see below for shopping list).
+ Bring a cooler to store things like juices, fresh fruit and vegetables. The cooler will be handy for the car ride and the campground!
+ Pack your food into Tupperware and Ziploc bags so food lasts for some days. Oftentimes glass is not allowed on the campsite, so keep that in mind. Don’t forget to take cutlery, a refillable bottle, a small bowl and a knife. You don’t want to sit in front of a water melon without a knife for chopping it up. If you are in the great position to have an Airbnb or hotel, bring your blender for smoothies or soups.
Hitting the camp grounds
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it is especially true at a festival. Eat a big breakfast to fuel up for the rest of the day so you don’t indulge in weird food choices when you hit that energy low.
+ For breakfast overnight oats are a great option that don’t require a lot of prep time. Let oats soak overnight with dried fruits and nuts, nut milk and slices of fresh fruit. Another handy breakfast option are breakfast muffins which you can prepare ahead of the festival and that usually last for 2 days in a ziplog bag.
+ Sugarfree muesli bars + bliss balls are a perfect snack which you can carry around and they withstand high temperatures. They are super easy to prepare ahead of the festival and they slide easily into your small festival handbag and give you energy on the run.
+ Veg + fruit are the obvious choice but pick those that contain a lot of water like apples, carrots, celery and cucumber. Don’t forget to buy a container of hummus to dip your veggies in. I always take a big batch of bananas too which you can also add to your overnight oats. Take lots of watermelons. They are one of the most hydrating fruits and you simply cut them in halves and eat them with a spoon. They help you to stay hydrated and fill up with vitamins, perfect for hot summer festivals. Same is true for Avocados, cut in halves, add some salt and eat with a spoon, no fuss, no waste.
+ Versions of antipasti are great: olives, dried tomatoes and pickled veggies work great. Anything in oil or vinegar lasts long – combine with wholewheat crackers or a wholemeal slice of bread.
+ For a sweet food fix, I love medjool dates dipped in peanut butter. Other great snacks are trail mixes which you can prepare at home. Mix raw almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, mulberries, golden raisins, goji berries, coconut chips and medjool dates.
+ Bring lots of water and a stainless steel bottle which you can refill. In case you didn’t know, festival organizers are obligated to refill your bottles with tab water even on the festival ground. Add some cucumber slices to your water bottle or slices of lemon to add a flavor boost to your drink. I usually pack some coconut water too which is literally nature’s electrolyte drink number 1.
Hitting the festival grounds
If you are allowed to bring food to the festival grounds, that’s great. So pack your snacks (trail mixes, fruits, muesli bars) and enjoy them right there. If food is not allowed, look for food stalls serving fresh unprocessed plantbased food. Asian and Middle Eastern food stalls are always a good bet offering fast but often aslo healthy options like falafel, hummus, salads or curries. Highfield, for example, did not offer a lot of vegan food but you could always rely on a hot falafel wrap, Asian stir fry or a cheese-free pizza. Usually, stall owners are more than happy to fix you at least a vegetarian option. In general, try to sustain your energy by skipping processed fatty foods which will only weigh you down. Try not to eat anything heavy much later than 18.00/19.00pm.
A word on the drinking: Stay away from lemonades, energy drinks and Vitamin Waters! They are laden with sugars and even though they might give you a rapid sugar push they will make you feel even more sluggish later. Drink as much water as possible. Drink more if you choose to drink alcohol. Alcoholic drinks might be the trickiest part at a festival. And yes, you do want to enjoy yourself but alcohol dehydrates and will make you feel worse. Having said that, I still have the odd beer here and there. In the end it is all about keeping the balance and not going overboard. But that only works for me but in general I would take it very easy with alcoholic drinks. Defintely stay away from hard booze, cocktails and alcoholic mixes.
Isn’t it enough to be dancing your heart out during the festival, you might ask? But it’s the right kind of movement that makes the difference. After excessive dancing I often have back pain or pain in my legs from standing the whole day. Keep an eye out for free yoga classes at festivals or other sports activities. If not, easy stretches like the downward facing dog, the sun salutation or the forward bend will do wonders for your body. At Highfield and many other festivals a lake is close by so I tend to swim a little extra round to stretch the body.
Slide some power naps in-between concerts if you can. But avoid sleeping longer than 30 minutes as you will be entering a deep sleep zone. Pack earplugs and an eye mask, they shield you from noise and bright light and let you sleep longer. I also always take my own pillow and bed duvet so it gives me the comfortable feel of my own bed at home. Carry a bottle of lavender oil and add a few drops on to your pillow or sleeping mask. I am also a big fan of taking 3 – 5 drops of CBD oil before going to sleep. This has really helped to relax and fall off asleep much quicker especially in a loud and bustling environment.
In the end, it’s all about keeping the balance. Remember you are at that festival to absolutely enjoy yourself and celebrate life and to go a bit overboard is more than just a part of it. Don’t be too hard on yourself! If you can incorporate some tips at this year’s festival and be aware of what’s happening, that’s amazing! So have fun, stay healthy and dance like there is no tomorrow!
If you have loved my article on How To Survive a Music Festival as A Health Conscious Vegan, you might like my other posts on healthy vegan travels too!