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girls at a festival dealing with anxiety

Festival anxiety: How to manage post-COVID anxiety at festivals

If you suffer with anxiety regularly, then the idea of returning back to a music festival after the 3 year COVID hiatus could, quite possibly fill you with sheer dread. 

Festival-related anxiety is far more common than we think it is, and this has been particularly hard on those struggling with post-covid mental health issues. 

festival anxiety man sitting far away from a busy crowd

 Post-pandemic social anxiety continues to linger even months following the rules of COVID. The implementations of lockdown have been over for some time now - with many people growing accustomed to post-pandemic life again, and enjoying the company of friends and family as if nothing had really changed in the past two years. 

But for some, the tumultuous changes have been incredibly hard to deal with over the past few years - even positive change. Where it was literally illegal to go and have a party with a few friends, we are now marketing festivals with over 50,000 people all partying in the same field. And if that wasn’t mad enough - can you believe that it was LESS than a year ago when the majority of UK festivals were cancelled due to COVID restrictions?

Festivals: music, food, culture, art, people…anxiety?

Music festivals are literally everything that the government was telling us not to do 6 months ago. So yeah - if you’re still struggling with post-pandemic social anxiety, and you get overwhelmed by large crowds, then it is more than understandable.

Going to a festival this summer? Amazing! The dreaded weight of anxiety-ridden emotions that are caused by large crowds? Not amazing!

Here’s a few things you can do to ease the sting of festival-related anxiety, and how you can best manage your mental health to enjoy festivals.  

First: identify your triggers
Get to know exactly what it is that triggers you at large social gatherings like music festivals. Is it the loud noise of standing next to the speakers? Is it the sheer volume of people? Is it the fact that you’re somewhere unfamiliar? Is it not knowing where everything is? Is it a sensory overload?    

Imagine yourself at a festival and think about all the potential triggers that could cause an anxious or panicky reaction. Write them down and think of logical ways to mitigate the risk of anxiety attacks.

Stand on the outside of the crowd
If you don’t like large crowds, then avoid the epicentre of them and make sure you stand on the perimeter of everyone. This will ensure that you are far away enough from the crowd. That way, you can still enjoy the music and you’re in an easy position to head back to your tent.

Go for the day
Festivals don’t have to be all about drinking in tents until 4am. You can easily just go home at the end, after you’ve seen everything you wanted to see. You can enter them a day later or earlier.

Camp in the quieter areas
Most festivals have designated quiet areas for those who aren’t up for partying til 5am. You can still enjoy the festival without all the madness happening at the centre of it.

Look after your body
Now we don't mean to sound like your grandma, but grandmas are always right. Don't forget to tick all the classic boxes. Don’t drink too much, stay hydrated, make sure you’re eating healthy foods. So simple, but so true.

Put yourself first!
There’s all this pressure to go really hard and party extensively at music festivals. But, plot twist: if you’re not feeling it, then don’t go!

Don’t say yes to things you don’t actually want to do - especially if it’s going to trigger an anxious response.

Want to continue the lockdown traditions of garden festivals? You go for it! Whatever you decide to do - we've got you! 


Feel free to share some of your thoughts by tagging our instagram page. We're always up for a chinwag. 

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