3 tips for music festivals

Packing a bag to head for the fields is a summer highlight for the vast numbers of us who enjoy outdoor music festivals. 

A group of people sitting around a table at a music festivalOn the island of Ireland we have an excellent record when it comes to food safety at “mass gatherings”, as the public health experts call them. Nevertheless, the outdoor settings, warm weather, and shortage of washing facilities generally add up to a more risky situation than usual.

Here are three things to keep in mind. 

1.    Expect the same standards from a food truck as you would from a high-end restaurant.

If you’re just going for the day, packing a picnic will save you queueing for hours at a food truck. Just remember our picnic tips and all will be well. If it’s a multi-day event, it’s inevitable that you’ll avail of the many food trucks and caf├ęs on site. Food stalls and mobile trucks are regulated by the food safety bodies in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

So what should you expect?

  • All staff should have clean hands and wear protective clothing where necessary
  • All food should be properly cooked (i.e., no pink meat in minced meat, chicken or pork)
  • All hot food should be served piping hot the whole way through
  • All cold food should be chilled (i.e., cooler than room temperature).

2.    Cleanliness and hygiene are not the same thing.

Staying clean might be difficult in a sea of mud and sweat, but practicing “targeted hygiene” is both possible and necessary.

According to a recent report from the Royal Society for Public Health “The problem is that we have become confused about what hygiene is, and how it differs from cleanliness. Whereas cleaning means removing dirt and microbes, hygiene means cleaning in the places and times that matter – in the right way – to break the chain of infection whilst preparing food, using the toilet, caring for pets etc.”

Clean hands are the most important thing to focus on at a festival, and the most crucial times are: 

  • Before and after eating, especially if eating with your fingers.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After handling your laundry 
  • After handling and disposing of rubbish.

Soap and running water is always best, but may be hard to come by. A hand sanitizer is next best but make sure you’ve removed any visible dirt first. 

3.    Stay hydrated

You are more likely to become ill at a music festival through overheating and dehydration than though contracting food poisoning. So make sure to drink plenty of fluids. 

Also, be careful with sports drinks and alcohol. Most sports drinks contain caffeine, which can make you want to urinate more frequently – which leads to dehydration. Similarly, with alcohol your body will use lots of water to break down the waste that it produces – again leading to dehydration. 

If you are drinking alcohol or sports drinks, remember to drink lots of water as well.

So whether you’re off to the Blessington lakes, Marlay Park, Palmerstown House or elsewhere over the coming weeks, have a great time – and stay well!

Posted: 05/07/2019 11:42:43 by Deirdre Cosgrove

About Me

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Deirdre Cosgrove
Hi, I work in the Communications team at safefood, mostly on the web site. When I'm not at work, I'm at home on Cape Clear island with my two daughters and Teddy, No 1 Doggo and Chief Happiness Officer of the household.