Summer is here and the festival season is upon us! The next couple of months are jam-packed with all-day festivals, weekend offerings and the longer five-day camping extravaganzas, providing the music lovers amongst us the opportunity to enjoy the glorious weather while listening to their favourite tunes.
Unfortunately, a gathering of 100,000 people in a field can sometimes bring out the worst in society, and despite thinking, "It won't happen to me", theft is a very real problem at festivals, day and night. As a result, it pays to keep on your guard and take every precaution to ensure your valuables don't fall into the hands of thieves.
Here are some ways to ensure you come home with all of your valuables.
- Padlocking your tent might seem like an effective security measure, but it is actually the opposite; it advertises that you have something to hide. Padlocking tent zips won't stop determined criminals from entering your tent as a sharp blade will be able to pierce the tent's material
- A great rule of thumb is to leave valuables at home. If it's expensive, leave it where it's safe
- Most festivals tend to have locker facilities on-site, meaning you can lock your valuables away for the day as opposed to leaving them in your tent. This may set you back a few pounds, but if your possessions are pricey, it's a better option
- If you'd rather stash stuff in your tent, which you may choose to do, think about tucking your valuables away in your sleeping bag or in your pillow
- Some people place smaller, flatter items underneath their tent, but there's no failsafe way of keeping your stuff safe. If in doubt, leave it at home, pop it in a locker, or carry it with you at all times
Be careful when you're in a large crowd. If you're facing the stage, enjoying the show without a care in the world, your back pockets - and anything in them - are left exposed to the audience behind you. This makes it easy for pickpockets to nab your wallet, phone, cash or anything valuable.
- Try and move all valuables to your front pockets instead
- Failing that, put your dignity behind you and invest in a bumbag. There are plenty available, from plain to jazzy!
- If you've got a new phone, make sure it's properly insured and that it's got a protective case. Avoid throwing it about and showing off; you may impress a lot of people, including nearby opportunists
- Bad things do happen to good people, in the unfortunate event that you do have something valuable stolen from you, be sure to report it as soon as you realise, and get a written report to send to your insurance company to make a claim
Here are some more handy hints and tips we've learned over the years...
- If you've had a heavy night, pop your wallet and phone in your sleeping bag before you go to bed. That way, even if you're dead to the world, a thief will have a tough time getting to your valuables while you sleep off a night of excess
- On the subject of booze, don't ever shout and scream about how drunk you are - thieves love an easy target
- If you spot someone suspicious going from tent to tent, stop and ask them if they're OK - a genuine person will gratefully accept your offer of help. Report anyone dodgy to on-site staff; never attempt to challenge them yourself
- Don't take huge wads of cash with you. Lots of on-site shops take cards; plus, you shouldn't need to spend more than £20 a day, especially if you've brought your own booze and snacks
However, it's not just crime that can put a dampener on your festival experience. Mother Nature has an annoying habit of changing the weather from sun to soaked in a matter of minutes, ensuring your phone, iPod and laptop become suitably drenched if they don't have the proper protection. In addition, mud can become your mortal enemy, making the walk from tent to arena a colossal task. Slips in the festival sludge are inevitable, ruining our favourite clothes and breaking our expensive gadgets.
Before going to a big festival, it's worth checking if your valuables are included in your home insurance policy. If you do slip in the mud and your expensive phone stops working, your policy might cover your valuables even when they aren't at home. This way, the insurance will cover the cost of replacing said item and you can carry on enjoying the festival without worrying about finances.