How to avoid freezing your socks off at Russian music festivals

July 10, 2017 Anna Sorokina
Cold and rainy - that’s the story of this year’s summer in Russia so far. But fear not! RBTH is here to help with some tips for making sure the weather doesn't stop you from having fun at festivals.

Visitors at Alfa Future People 2017 music festival in the Nizhny Novgorod Region. / Evgenya Novozhenina/RIA NovostiVisitors at Alfa Future People 2017 music festival in the Nizhny Novgorod Region. / Evgenya Novozhenina/RIA Novosti

Soft bass, sunshine, cold drinks, sun lotion, and a laissez-faire attitude – that’s how a summer music festival should be, yes? Sadly, this is not the case in Russia at the moment. Unrelenting rain and low temperatures are threatening to write off the entire season. People aren’t happy.

Last weekend, on July 7 to 9, there were several large music festivals in Russia. Among them: The Nashestvie (Invasion) rock festival in the Tver Region, and the Alfa Future People festival (electronic music) in the Nizhny Novgorod Region. Besides the great music, the two events were united by pouring rain, knee-deep mud, and cold, soggy tents. So here are eight tips to make sure the dark skies don’t ruin your fun over the coming weekends.

1. Take warm clothes

Festival-goers in rubber boots walking through mud at the 2017 Nashestvie festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASS Festival-goers in rubber boots walking through mud at the 2017 Nashestvie festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASS

Russians do not usually take much notice of weather forecasts. According to Murphy's Law, even if they promise the sun, it will rain. This may sound obvious, but stock up on a waterproof jacket and a second pair of jeans in case the heavens open up. You’ll be surprised how many people fail to this.  

"I have attended Nashestvie for five years in a row. I like the festival for the positive and friendly atmosphere," said Maria Rozanova. "This year, we were not lucky with the weather. Of course, we watched the forecast and prepared for the worst, but still it's hard to keep in good spirits when it rains the whole day without a break. We also expected mud, but did not appreciated how much of it there was."

2. Wear wellies

Visitors at Alfa Future People 2017 music festival. / Evgenya Novozhenina/RIA NovostiVisitors at Alfa Future People 2017 music festival. / Evgenya Novozhenina/RIA Novosti

Leave your fashionable trainers at home, as you risk ruining them in the mud. Rubber wellies may not be the most stylish accessory but they can be a lifesaver. High rubber boots with tucked in trousers = ultimate festival fashion, especially in 2017.

“Usually a raincoat is enough, said Maria. "But this time I clearly needed rubber boots and waterproof pants."

3. Take a car towing rope

Festival-goers pushing a car out of mud at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival.  / Alexander Ryumin/TASS Festival-goers pushing a car out of mud at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASS

If you plan to go to the festival by car, don’t forget to throw a rope and a couple of wooden planks in the boot in case your wheels get bogged down in a quagmire.

"This year drivers were very unlucky  – many cars got stuck in the mud," said Maria. "On Sunday, a tractor pulled them out for free, but on Saturday other tractors pulled them for 5,000 rubles ($80)."

4. Think ahead about your sleeping situation

Festival-goers at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASSFestival-goers at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASS

Dancing for three days straight on a diet of burgers and not much else takes its toll, and at some point you’re going to have to lay your head down. Most likely you’ll be sleeping in a tent, so make sure it doesn’t have any holes in it beforehand, or contains dried mud from last year’s festivals. Aside from a decent sleeping bag, bring a sleeping mat, torch, and pillow.

5. Protect yourself from insects

A visitor at Alfa Future People 2017 music festival. / Evgenya Novozhenina/RIA NovostiA visitor at Alfa Future People 2017 music festival. / Evgenya Novozhenina/RIA Novosti

People usually don't like the rain. But mosquitoes love it. They also enjoy feeding on humans, often when we sleep. Don’t give them the pleasure of a belly full of blood. Take insect spray - which will also ward off ticks living in the high grass.

6. Forget about valuables

A festival-goer carries a mannequin glasses at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASSA festival-goer carries a mannequin glasses at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASS

Leave your expensive watch, laptop, tablet - whatever - at home. All you need is your wallet, phone, and perhaps a portable phone charger. Festivals are for enjoying the outdoors, not for staring at screens - and there’s always a chance someone might steal stuff from your tent when you’re dancing like an idiot next to the stage.

7. Forget about alcohol

The 2017 Nashestviye music festival. / Iliya Pitalev/RIA NovostiThe 2017 Nashestviye music festival. / Iliya Pitalev/RIA Novosti

In Russia, it’s forbidden to bring alcohol and sometimes even water to major events. Naturally, people try to smuggle in booze (257 bottles of alcohol were confiscated at Nashestvie). They were found by police last Friday buried right in the middle of the camp site. Forget about the sauce and enjoy the unadulterated company of friends and family. You’ll also wake up without a hangover!

8. Take your best friends

Festival-goers covered in mud at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASS Festival-goers covered in mud at the 2017 Nashestvie music festival. / Alexander Ryumin/TASS

The weather might be bad, the headliners disappointing, and the hotdog cold - but if you are with your best friends you’ll always find a way to have fun, even if it means simply laughing off the bad luck.

“We realized one thing. That the weather and mood are not linked. People relax no matter what,” the head of the Alfa Future People festival said

Read more: How to be a Russian? A user’s manual

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