A Black Girl's Guide To Surviving Festival Season, So You Can Have Your Best Summer Yet
Festival season is finally here, and it's truly one of the highlights of a good British summer. It's been ages since those pricey tickets were purchased back in the winter months, and now it's time to start planning outfits, organising travel, and getting that itinerary sorted. But for black women and girls, knowing how to survive a festival comes with a little more thought, especially for newbies to insure you'll have the best time possible with your mates.
There's no doubt that British festivals are some of the best in the world, but they can also be pretty uh... vomity, full of anti-social behaviour, and not that culturally diverse. Between the frustrating amounts of cultural appropriation, which some festivals like Glastonbury have tried to stamp out, and the obvious gender gap in line-ups, on top of not seeing that many faces that look like your own, living your best life isn't always that straight forward. Knowing how to successfully navigate these festivals will essentially dictate your festival experience.
So, whether it's a cultural festival, a camping in the countryside with no shower sort of set up, or a one day city festival, this guide will help you stay looking fresh a well as feeling emotionally ready to take on everything that comes along with festivals this summer.
Get A Protective Hairstyle
I'll never forget seeing all the poor black girls at a rainy Glastonbury one year whose leave-outs had returned to their natural curly texture, no longer blending in with the rest of their weave. Or those like myself, who had presteanly straightened hair-do's but couldn't actually commit to the upkeep in a muddy field. Instead, get a colourful protective hairstyle. Frontal wigs, crochet braids, or box braids are perfect for festivals.
Find A Safe-Space
There's nothing worse than being in crowd where everyone in unison sings along to the n-word and you're one of the only black people for miles around. On top of that, cultural appropriation at festivals and microaggressions can get really disheartening. From bindis and dashikis, to people touching your hair — it can all become super annoying. Find a safe-space for when you need a little respite from it all. Most music festivals have talks and workshops, or quiet corners you can chill out in.
Have A Good Group Of People Around You
Make sure you have a solid group of friends accompanying you to a festival. Nobody likes getting ditched for some random boy, or made to feel like you're unsafe and have nobody to turn to when things get a little overwhelming. Keep a solid group of mates around you that you know will have your back, and you theirs. Perhaps make a meeting point just incase anyone gets lost and swap emergency numbers.
Bring A Pop Up Tent (But Take It Home)
Not everyone is an avid camper and that's okay. Bring a pop-up tent, they will save you so much time and energy, and they're pretty lightweight. But do make sure you take it back with you. Lots of festival goers wrongly believe their tents will be donated to charity if left behind, but according to the Independent up to 90% just end up in landfill. Ask a neighbour with a similar tent for a hand!
Go To A Festival Specifically Made For Black Women In Mind
Why not go to festivals that are created for and by black women just like you. Festivals like Afropunk cater to fashionable, alternative black folks with a large emphasis on making their festivals safe spaces free of discrimination.
Or try a day festivals in a big multicultural cities like London or Manchester. Parklife, Wireless, The Ends, And Black Girl Festival have a plethora of people performing and attending who look just like you.