Snogs, sunburn and no showers: Lifting the lid on the wildest habits of Londoners at festivals

With this summer marking the first time that Covid restrictions have been fully lifted for festival-goers, revellers will be looking to make up for lost time when attending the likes of Glastonbury, Tramlines, Boardmasters and beyond. From festival flings to falling in the mud and avoiding showers, new research* released today by Arctic Coffee has lifted the lid on some of the wildest habits of Londoners at festival.

Nearly half (49%) polled said that their favourite festival feeling is being able to let their hair down and going ‘wild’ – leaving their inhibitions at home. And when it comes to packing on PDAs at festivals, research revealed that revellers aren’t shy of cracking on al fresco.

Over two thirds of Londoners polled (67%) admitted to having a consensual sexual encounter at a festival, with 29% enjoying the relative comfort of a tent. Whilst others couldn’t hold back their sexual desires and got it on in more public spaces, with 27% opting to do it in a car, 24% admitting to getting down and dirty in toilets, 14% backstage and 8% even confessed to doing the deed on the coach on the way to a festival.

What’s more, 21% admitted to having a festival fling with a stranger, while 14% said they had lost their virginity – and 8% claimed to have slept with a musician! A further 4% revealed they had caught an STI/STD at a festival.

Offering a sense of escapism for many, 64% said they enjoyed feeling free and the chance to forget about work (46%) at festivals – while 19% admitted that they’ve had to leave early after going too hard. 28% said they liked to share a tent with their friends, and 22% preferred glamping. Almost one in ten (9%) said they don’t bother sleeping at a festival while 8% admitted to sleeping where they land! However, when packing up to go home, nearly one in five (17%) said they had abandoned a tent instead of taking it home with them, despite the pleas of festival organisers to do so.

With relationships and friendships often put to the test, 19% said they had experienced FOMO after not getting to see the act they wanted to, while 9% said they had fallen out with their friends at a festival. Meanwhile 8% said they had been dumped by a partner. Conversely, 62% said that they enjoy the opportunity to make friends with new people, with 27% saying that they’ve previously made friends with strangers and are still mates now.

A pet peeve for 37% of those polled was the unpredictable British weather, yet some festival-goers appeared to have been ill-prepared for that rare blast of sunshine, with 16% saying that they had been badly sunburnt at festivals. Highlighting the need to wear a hat and regularly slap on the SPF, 18% said that sunburn was the worst thing about going to a festival.

Festival showers and toilets have long-had a bad rap, so what about festival-goers’ hygiene habits? 39% said they don’t like using a portaloo, long-drop or compost toilet and three in ten (31%) said they avoid the toilets at all costs. 9% said they’ve urinated in a cup to avoid losing their spot in the crowd, and a further 18% said they never go for a poo while at a festival, causing them potential health risks. Curiously 13% said that they had found a human poo outside their tent.

Only 24% said they had used on-site showers, with the majority (34%) preferring to have a ‘wet wipe wash’. 18% said they covered up potential smells with deodorant, 17% filled up bottles of water and poured it over themselves and a grubby 3% said they don’t wash at all. Finally, 9% of festival-goers said they didn’t bother cleaning their teeth.

Almost four in ten Londoners (38%) said their least favourite things about going to a festival was the price of food and drink, with people on average spending £69.36 per day. 39% said they regularly overspend, with 16% saying they had to borrow money from family or friends after blowing their own budget. To fuel people’s days, almost three quarters (73%) said they were reliant on caffeinated drinks to get them through a festival – with the average festival goer spending £3.72 per drink.

Arctic Coffee’s poll revealed the top ten packing priorities for festival-goers in 2022:

Money/bank card
Wet wipes
Reusable phone charger
Sleeping bag
Loo roll

Jo Taylor, Brand Manager at Arctic Coffee, said: “The research provides some fantastic insights into what festival-goers get up to at festivals as we head into the summer months! And of course, after so many setbacks over the last couple of years, we know that this summer’s festivals are likely to be pretty wild – especially for those lucky enough to be attending one for the very first time. With a presence at both this year’s Tramlines and Boardmasters, we’ll be there with ice cold Arctic Coffees to help people recover from the night before and get ready to party again.”

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