Few things in this world are as goosebump-inducingly vindictive and harrowing as the festival comedown. I mean, its almost not fair is it? The events leading up to that fateful post-festival Monday morning were almost too good to be true. You got those days off work you were hoping for. You scraped together enough cash to grab that earlybird ticket with the VIP camping spot thrown in. Your mate Paul even managed to find a last minute dog-sitter for his hyperactive Labradoodle so he can drive you all down Thursday night. The universe has quite literally aligned to allow for a few days of pure unadulterated, uninterrupted bliss, with liberal quantities of hedonism thrown in for good measure. All just so that you can come crashing devastatingly back to reality the second you walk back through your front door. Life is full of mean tricks and the festival comedown is about as mean it gets. Well, take it from us (we know a thing or two about festivals), there is a way to have the soaring highs and dodge the crashing low. A number of ways to be precise. We’re not medical experts or qualified therapists but you can bet your VIP camping ticket we’re festival fanatics and have got a few simple tips that can mean the difference between warm fuzzy festival memories, or a sleep-deprivation-induced, weepy breakdown in the toilets at work.
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail
This should be an easy one, but for those of you feeling particularly invincible while planning your post-festival work-week, trust us, take Monday off. There’s no argument, Mondays are bad enough as it is. Your body’s way of thanking you for a no holds-barred weekend is going to be with severely reduced motor functions, crushing nostalgia and narcoleptic levels of sleepy. So you’re at home with the day off work but you failed to prepare and now the trip to the supermarket to get those Doritos you haven’t been able to stop thinking about seems like an impossible task. Be smart and stock up on the essentials before you leave for the weekend. Think of it as post-festival packing after you’ve done your regular packing. We’re talking gummy bears, loads of refrigerated water and electrolyte infused drinks, fruit juice, a couple 5-HTP supplements if you can find some, fully charge your laptop for Netflix purposes and anything else that’ll help you stave off the darkness of your comedown.
Don’t overdo it
This is the ‘easier said than done’ section. The guy who says he’s going to ‘take it easy’ at a festival and “not overdo it” usually ends up being the one found wandering naked round an empty field at 8AM. But trust us, there’ll be more festivals to go to. We’re not saying don’t have fun – and if you’re an Olympic level comedown aficionado then by all means let loose. But if you’re the type of festival-goer who experiences comedowns so epic that you cry at that advert with the cute animals in it- then trust us, try and pace yourself. Picking your wild nights carefully and having quiet afternoons every once in a while is a recipe for a smooth comedown.
And now for the big one. You’ve made it back in one piece, you’ve been dropped home and the sense of impending doom that began as you were packing up your tent and struggling to find your mate’s car has crept up on you and is ready to send you into a downward spiral of crushing self-pity. Rule number one is to put-off being alone for as long as you can. If you’re comfortable with having a sleep over in your twenties (which you should be if you’ve just spent the weekend hugging and kissing strangers), then hole up in whichever one of your friends houses is most comfortable and ride it out with company. If your friends are snugglers, even better, get under a blanket, whack on a TV show you know you like and take turns in going to the kitchen to bring snacks.
While we’re on the topic of TV shows, it might be an obvious one but for everyone’s sake, keep it light. No one wants to watch the movie where the dog dies at the end when they’re already an emotional hangover-induced wreck. We suggest comedies and kids animations in the early stages of the comedown and minimal-attention-required B-movie action flicks later on.
As with all existential crises, the need for love and affection is usually through the roof. When you finally get kicked out of your mate’s living room and find yourself at home, resist the urge to text any of your exes asking how their weekend was and if they want to FaceTime. Take it from us, you’re not going to be looking your best right now. Weirdly we’ve found the same goes for current significant other halves. If they weren’t at the festival with you and you invite them over to softly moan into the pillow about how bad your hangover is, they won’t be impressed.
We hope we’ve been able to shed a little light on what to do when the festival comedown rears its ugly head. Everyone’s going to have a different strategy and unfortunately for some it may take a few occasions of curling up in a foetal position on the floor to work it out. But hey, if it wasn’t worth it, we wouldn’t keep going to festivals now would we? We promise that it won’t last forever. Happy comedown everybody!
Written by Nicolas Gordon