Swedish music festivals: A survival guide

Swedish music festivals: A survival guide
So you've decided to attend a Swedish music festival this year but you don't know how it all works. No matter, The Local's Sanna Håkansson gets the lowdown from avid festival-goers and finds out the top tips to surviving the chaos.

You’ve probably written a list of things to bring on your festival trip: clothes, tent, sleeping bag, water bottles, food… the list seems endless. You’re probably even thinking that you’re really clever as you pack the mountain of stuff into the biggest suitcase you can find.


First tip for going to a festival: travel lightly. Some festivals make you walk between the station or parking lot and the camping area. Too many bags will not only slow you down, but may even require some back-and-forth trudging that will spoil the mood before the music has even started.

The last thing you want to do is to carry around a portable home. And don’t forget, you’ll have to make the same trip when the festival is over.

It’s also a good idea to bring cash, as ATMs may be hard to come by at some of Sweden’s biggest festivals – which can often be located far outside the city centre.

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As far as clothing goes, Swedish summer is known to rain on people’s parades, not to mention their festivals, so sturdy rain gear is a necessity. And remember, organizers often don’t allow umbrellas either.

“Wellingtons are a must,” Swedish festival enthusiast Ebba Holmberg tells The Local.

“If the festival is early or late in the summer it will rain for sure, but just in case it doesn’t, be sure to bring some other shoes as well.”

Apart from footwear, you have to be particular about the type of beverage you bring, as there aren’t a whole lot of refrigerators at festivals.

“Make sure whatever you drink tastes nice even when it’s warm,” another keen festival-goer, Emelie Rautio, explains.

As for food, stick to things that are easy to carry and quick to cook.

“Canned food is a no-no, go with something lighter,” Holmberg warns.

“Most of the time you end up eating at the festival grounds anyway, they have anything from soup to elk kebab.”

Festivals are not known for providing their visitors with means of keeping their personal hygiene in check, but there are usually taps on the camping grounds where you can wash the worst dirt off. You’d be surprised by how easily food, drink, and even your friends’ vomit stick to your skin. Disgusting, yes, but true.

Bring a towel in case there’s a shower, but the real life-savers here are your toothbrush and toothpaste,” Holmberg adds.

If you’re unsure about going to a festival because the camping grounds are too noisy at night, don’t despair, there is almost always a separate area where they make sure everyone is quiet after midnight.

And lastly, be sure to check out the surrounding area while you’re there. There is bound to be a time when there are no bands you want to see, providing the perfect opportunity to scope out the rest of the city.

“At the Sweden Rock Festival, for example, there is a really nice lake,” Rautio says.

“And the Peace & Love festival is located in a beautiful city.”

So, with a bit of clever packing, an elk kebab or two, and this list of handy hints, you won’t only survive your Swedish festival – you might just have the time of your life.

And one more thing. Don’t forget your tickets.

Sanna Håkansson

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