NEWS

Pemberton Music Festival: safety tips for you and your friends

07/16/2015 10:00 EDT | Updated 07/16/2016 05:59 EDT
The Pemberton Music Festival gets underway today, and while thousands of music fans are readying themselves for a rocking good time, festival organizers want to make sure they also have a safe time.

A 21-year-old Regina man died at last year's festival, and his was just one of several other deaths that happened various music festivals that year.

Here are some safety tips from A.J. Niland, one of the principal organizers of the festival.

1. Stay cool and hydrated

"The majority of our safety issues revolve around hydration and the sun," Niland said.

With temperatures of up to 35 degrees in the Pemberton Valley throughout the weekend, take advantage of the on-site free water and bottle-filling stations.

You can also seek reprieve from the sun under one of the festival's shaded structures equipped with misting capabilities. 

2. Seek help if you need it

Safe havens are new to the festival this year and will be set up throughout the grounds, Niland said.

Here, festival goers can seek medical attention and counselling for any kind of health issue, including drug and alcohol-related ones.

"First and foremost is reaching a person and saving their life versus trying to prosecute them," Niland said.

"Though we don't condone [drugs or alcohol], it's there and it's encouraged for people to seek attention. What we don't want to have happen is people not wanting to seek attention because they're scared of authority."

Emergency room doctors, nurses, paramedics and professional counsellors will be on call 24/7 on the grounds.  

"Short of a heart attack or surgery, we can pretty much handle everything on site."

3. Watch out for your friends

The festival is all about community, Niland said, so besides taking care of yourself, make sure your friends and the other people around you are partying safely. 

Agree on a meeting place in case you get split up. 

If you see someone in need of help, alert one of the trained staff on site.

To hear the full interview with A.J. Niland, listen to the audio labelled: Pemberton Festival Safety.

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