Naturally, you’re free to enjoy life, but go easy on yourself and your body. At the risk of sounding like your Mum: take a sensible approach to the drugs you’re taking. Keep a close tab on how much you’re taking and how your body is responding, regardless of whether you’re taking alcohol or drugs. After all, using alcohol and drugs is never completely without risk, and every drug has a different effect. Risky situations can occur depending on what you’re taking, where you’re taking it, how many you’re taking and how your body is responding to whatever it is you’re taking. Some people get tipsy after just three beers, while others can drink ten beers before getting drunk. This being the case, your best plan is to do your own thing and be aware of what you’re taking. Find your own information about the drugs you’re offered and don’t believe everything you’re told. Partying till you drop is great, but know what you’re doing. The best nights are those where you feel just right. It’s perfectly possible to get that feeling without indulging in booze and drugs.
Also, a quick reminder – Class-A drugs are illegal in the Netherlands, however tolerant our society may seem to be of them, and most event organisers take a zero-tolerance approach to them.
A party without music is like a carbonated drink without fizz. But going deaf, or worse, having ringing in your ears that simply won’t go away, is a very sad memento of a good party. So go easy on your ears and be sure to wear ear plugs if the sound level exceeds 80 dB(A). Ear plugs can be obtained at every event from designated dispensers, the information desk or special hearing loss prevention stands.
Also, while we totally get that you want to feel that bass, dancing in front of a speaker is a spectacularly bad idea. Even if you’re wearing ear plugs.
At good events, crowds become one. There’s an atmosphere of togetherness, of sharing in a special experience. So do look after each other. Look after your friends, but look after other revellers, too, so that everybody gets to enjoy the party.
Don’t leave your friends, especially when you know they’re on something. It’s generally a good idea to agree on a meeting point beforehand – a place where you’ll find each other in the event that you become separated.
Are you on something? Then be honest and tell your friends. Don’t try to convince others to take something with you, and don’t allow others to talk you into taking something you don’t want to take. Don’t do something that would ruin your party experience. Be yourself and follow your instincts.
All large events come with first-aid booths. You can go and see a first-aid team about just about anything, even if it’s just a blister pack you’re after. Just be nice to the persons manning the stands and be up front about what you’ve taken. Remember: these people are here to help you!
And remember: you’re in this together. Be sure to appoint a designated driver beforehand, and remind him or her to remain sober!
You’re not a robot. So no matter how much you’d like to be able to go on partying all weekend, you won’t be able to. Give yourself the opportunity to recharge your batteries. Of course you want to go on dancing forever while you’re having fun. But you know what? Sleeping feels pretty good, too, and your body needs it! So don’t forget to catch up on some much-needed sleep, to prepare yourself for your next party. And treat yourself to a nice breakfast while you’re at it. You’ll have earned one, after a night’s raving.
Be aware that dancing dehydrates your body. Therefore, it is vital that you drink enough water. But drinking too much water is as bad for your body as drinking too little. So don’t drink more than 2 glasses of water or one bottle of water per hour. Take a little break from dancing once in a while and take a quick bite, thus replenishing your salt and energy levels. Trust us – it will help you go on dancing a lot longer.
You know your mother loves you, right? So do look after yourself. Decide in advance what you’re going to do, what time you expect to leave the party, how you’re going to get home, whether you want to take something or not, and be sure to discuss all these things with your friends.
When it comes to alcohol and drugs, your mantra should be: ‘less is more’. It’s better to take one too few pills than to take one too many. After all, taking one too many pills would make you feel shitty and ruin your party, which would be too bad. It might ruin the night or day of the people you’re with, as well.
By all means celebrate, live, dance and go crazy, but within your own comfort zone.
Welcome to the Netherlands, a country where you may experience four seasons in one day – tropical sunshine one moment, a thunder and hail storm the next. So always check the weather forecast before leaving for a festival, and make sure you’re prepared for anything.
Wear something which is neither too hot nor too cold. It’s generally a good idea to wear layers which you can peel off as needed. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight; your body must be able to breathe, so as to prevent overheating. Wearing a hat might not be the cleverest idea. Sure, it will protect you from the sun, but it will also keep your head rather hot. Oh, and while we’re at it – don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
If you’re attending a multi-day festival and camping, be sure to put on warm clothes before burying yourself in your sleeping bag. Remember to put on socks and a jumper. Because if you go to bed with a lot of alcohol in your belly, you won’t feel your body cool down. Putting on warm bed clothes will prevent you from feeling cold in the middle of the night.
Of course non-stop partying and dancing is fab, but sometimes your body needs a little time to cool down. If you’re in a warm and humid hall, your body won’t be able to get rid of its own heat and sweat, thus causing you to overheat. So take your time to chill every now and then.
Chill. The word says it all: stop dancing for a bit and allow yourself to cool down. It’s the best way to prevent overheating. It beats drinking water. At regular intervals, spend some time at a cooler spot (for instance, a chill-out zone). If you’re attending an outdoor festival, find yourself a shady spot where you can take a break, cool down and recharge your batteries.
If you’re beginning to feel a little nauseous, stop dancing and find yourself a quiet spot away from the crowd, or find a first-aid booth. Take some time to chill every once in a while, and you’ll be able to keep on going for longer.
There’s more to partying than dancing. You’ll want to go flirting and go on the pull. And the less sober you are, the more attractive the people around you will seem. So there’s every chance that you’ll get lucky and find the love of your life – or at least of the next few hours – and you’ll want to take him or her home, or back to your tent. Wouldn’t it be a pity if you had to be treated for an STD at your local hospital two weeks later, as you got a little more than you bargained for?
So always take condoms with you, ladies as well as gentlemen. Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t allow yourself to get talked into something you don’t want. Because if the other person really likes you, he or she will respect your limits. And gentlemen, it’s far from nerdy to insist on having safe sex. At the very least, it will stop you from being presented with a little mini-you nine months later. Don’t you think sex is more fun if you know you’re not going to regret it?
Are you feeling uncomfortable? A little nauseous? Or can you tell that one of your mates is not doing too well? Then don’t hesitate to find a first-aid team. You can contact them for pretty much anything. Don’t be afraid you’ll get into trouble if you seek help. Always be up front and honest about what you’ve taken. Remember: first-aid teams can’t properly help you if they don’t know what you’re on. So be sure to tell your friends, too, what you’re taking. And remember: you will not be legally prosecuted if you go and see a first-aid team after taking drugs. Nor will the person taking you to a first-aid team.
If you can’t find a first-aid booth, or if you feel you won’t be able to make it there, ask a security guard or another crew member to call for help. And if you know someone else is feeling unwell, don’t leave them on their own.
Of course, you can also see a first-aid team to get a paracetamol, a blister pack for that enormous blister you caught dancing, or a glass of water in the event that you’re feeling a little shaky. Anything you discuss at a first-aid booth, and any treatment you may receive, will remain confidential.
Be nice to the first-aid teams. They’re here to help you. They’re your friends. However, they’re also professional healthcare providers. Trust their professional opinions and show them the respect they deserve. They’re working really hard to help you.
Allow us to share a few sobering figures with you. Some 250 persons die in the Netherlands each year due to alcohol-related accidents. Some 3,400 people get severely injured each year due to alcohol-related accidents. Furthermore, some 80 persons die in traffic accidents each year due to drug abuse. Young people, heavy drinkers and people who have taken both alcohol and drugs are at a particularly serious risk of dying on the road.
If you’ve had a few drinks or taken a few drugs, you are likely to overestimate the extent to which you’re still able to drive. You should know, though, that you’re a danger to yourself and other road users. So don’t do it. Don’t drive under the influence. It’s a felony and may result in the loss of your driving licence.
Also be aware of another danger to drivers, which is often underestimated: fatigue. There is only one cure for feeling tired after partying, and that’s sleeping. Energy drinks and other stimulants will not refresh you.
In other words, make sure you’ll be able to get home safely. Never get into a car with someone who is not sober. Get yourself a sober driver, call a cab, find yourself a hotel, ask a pregnant girlfriend to come and pick you up, or even better, use public transport. Plan your trip home in advance! If you do decide to travel by car, be sure to appoint a designated driver and remind him or her to stay sober. And don’t distract your driver while he or she is busy driving. Keep your hands above your seatbelt and make sure you get home in one piece.