With Glastonbury Festival opening its gates in less than a week, Somerset Council’s Public Health team and the UK Health Security Agency are reminding visitors to stay safe and be aware of possible risks to their health when attending the world famous festival between 26-30 June this year.

Festival-goers are being reminded to be aware of health risks including those associated with alcohol and drug use, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), diseases such as measles, and weather related illness.

Professor Trudi Grant, Executive Director for Public and Population Health for Somerset Council and Somerset Integrated Care Board, said:

Keeping yourself safe over the Glastonbury weekend is paramount. Most health risks can be avoided by taking simple steps to help protect yourself and others.

Regular good hygiene can help prevent the spread of most germs and infections, and remembering to keep yourself cool and avoid excess alcohol can help keep you safe during periods of hot weather.

We are encouraging everyone who attends the festival to take some basic steps to protect themselves and others so they can enjoy the festival and other events safely and responsibly this summer.”

  • Familiarise yourself with the health and safety advice on the Glastonbury Festival website before you travel and encourage your friends to do the same
  • Avoid travelling if you are feeling acutely unwell.
  • Stay hydrated and avoid excessive alcohol consumption, particularly in hot weather
  • Wash hands regularly and carry hand sanitiser with you, alcohol gels don’t kill all bugs that can cause diarrhoeal illness
  • Never take a BBQ into a tent – despite being out in the fresh air, carbon monoxide can build up to levels that can kill very quickly in enclosed spaces
  • If you are preparing food – wash fruit and vegetables well and cook meat thoroughly to avoid food poisoning
  • Stay safe in the sun by using sun lotion, wearing a hat and seeking shade in the hottest parts of the day
  • Wear protection if having sex, but recognise that this may not prevent transmission of some infections such as mpox, if you develop symptoms during or after the festival, please seek medical advice
  • Seek advice if you become unwell – there are medical facilities around the Festival site, including two dispensing and retail pharmacies.”

The message from Glastonbury Festivals is not to use illegal substances on the site. The dealing in or use of illegal drugs is not condoned by the festival and drug enforcement laws are as applicable on the festival site as anywhere else in the country – you risk being evicted from the site if found with them.

Festival guests are reminded if they do ignore that advice and become ill or experience unusual effects from any substances taken, to seek immediate help from the medical or welfare services on site who can provide help and support.

Polydrug use – using more than one drug at a time – intensifies the effects of the drugs, making them more dangerous. Mixing alcohol alongside other drugs is one of the most common forms of polydrug use and can seriously increase the strength and impact of those substances, increasing the chances of a potentially fatal chemical reaction.

An overdose won’t always look the same but some of the signs to look out for are:

  • falling unconscious
  • very light shallow breathing or no breathing
  • loud raspy ‘snoring’ or gurgling
  • blue or pale lips or fingertips

If in doubt, seek medical attention immediately.

Hot weather can also pose a health risk for some people. The UKHSA has issued a yellow heat-health alert for all regions except the North East. The alert is currently in place from Monday 24 June to Thursday 27 June. Attendees are reminded to stay safe during periods of hot weather, especially when walking around the festival. Remember to carry a refillable water bottle with you and drink it throughout the day, wear sun cream and a sunhat and avoid excess alcohol.

Remember to look out for one another. Keep a look-out for signs of heat-related harm in yourself, your friends, and other people around the festival. The signs include:

  • a headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • being very thirsty

If you experience any of these symptoms, drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate, find somewhere shaded to sit down and rest and avoid excess alcohol. If symptoms have not gone away after 30 minutes of resting, seek help from one of the medical centres at the festival.

Dr Bayad Nozad, Consultant in Health Protection at UKHSA South West, said:

We want festival-goers to enjoy their time at Glastonbury and other festivals this year. Being aware of the current health risks will help those attending enjoy the weekend, and other events this summer, as much as possible.

Measles is circulating across the country, and, unfortunately, festivals are the perfect place for measles to spread. If you are not vaccinated or not sure of your vaccination status, the MMR vaccine offers protection against measles, mumps and rubella and you can have it for free at your GP surgery. If you feel unwell or have been advised isolate as a result of measles or another infection, please continue to do so.

We are also seeing an increase in cases of STIs, with large rises particularly in young people. STIs aren’t just an inconvenience – they can have a major impact on your health and that of any sexual partners.

Condoms are the best defence, but if you didn’t use one the last time you had sex with a new or casual partner, get tested to detect any potential infections early and prevent passing them on to others. Testing is important because you may not have any symptoms of an STI.”

Everyone having sex with new or casual partners before or at the festival should wear a condom and get tested regularly, whatever their age or sexual orientation. Testing is free and confidential and you should get tested even if you are not showing any symptoms.

Photo of the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival

About this article

June 21, 2024

Rebecca Howat

Press Release