Glitter and… Firewalls? How to stay safe this festival season

Emma McGowan 17 Apr 2024

Planning on hitting up a festival or two this summer? Here's everything you need to make sure you stay safe - in the digital realm, that is.

The air is electric, the skies are clear, and the lineups are out – festival season is upon us! From the euphoric beats under starlit skies to the communal spirit of like-minded souls, festivals offer a world apart, a temporary escape into a realm of music, art, and shared experiences.  

But as we pack our bags with festival essentials – sunblock, shades, and good vibes – it’s crucial not to leave our digital well-being behind. This year, let’s make digital safety a part of our festival essentials. 

You might be thinking: why talk about digital safety when there's so much fun to be had? Well, in today's connected world, our online actions are as much a part of us as our real-world ones. As we document our adventures and navigate the crowds, our digital selves come along for the ride – often more exposed than we realize.  

So, before you zip up that backpack and head out, let’s talk about staying safe – not just in the flesh, but in the digital world too. 

Before the festival 

Before you merge into the sea of glitter, totems, and beats, there's an essential pre-festival ritual that doesn't involve packing your favorite sunglasses – but it's just as crucial for ensuring your time is nothing short of epic. Preparing for digital safety might not sound as thrilling as choosing your outfits or planning the perfect lineup strategy but consider this: just like applying sunscreen protects your skin, taking steps to secure your digital life safeguards your peace of mind. 

 So, let’s gear up your digital armor – it’s time to make sure the only things you bring back from the festival are positive memories and great photos. 

  • Secure your devices: Before you hit the road, make sure your electronic BFFs (yeah, your smartphone, tablet, and laptop) are ready for the adventure too. Update all software to patch up any security loopholes. Lock down your devices with strong, unique passwords or better yet, fingerprint or face recognition. And for the cherry on top? Two-factor authentication – it's like having a secret handshake with your device. 
  • Get your social media settings in line: We get it, you want to shout from the digital rooftops about your festival plans. But pause before you post. Adjust your settings to manage who sees your updates. Maybe save the real-time location tagging for a throwback post. Remember, oversharing can lead to overbearing situations like unwelcome followers or targeted scams. 
  • Financial security: Booking your spot? Do it on a secure network. Public wifi is a hacker’s playground. Keep an eye on your bank statements, too. If your account suddenly starts funding someone else’s festival spree, you’ll need to act fast. 

During the festival 

You've made it to the festival! Music is thumping, and everyone's smiling. But don't forget: staying safe online is just as important as having fun.  

In this lively setting, treat your online space like your wallet or phone—keep it secure. Watch out for free wifi traps and be careful with new friends. Let's keep our digital life as safe as our festival fun, ensuring our memories are protected, just like our belongings. 

  • Beware free wifi: Festival wifi might as well be a giant neon sign saying, “Hackers, come get it!” If you must connect, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep your data disguised and disguised well. 
  • Lost or stolen devices: The horror, the horror! But fear not. If your device goes on its own walkabout, having “find my device” activated is your digital search party. Know how to lock or wipe your device remotely and keep that backup plan handy. 
  • Keep track of your friends: Share your location with your crew—and make sure they share theirs, as well. This will help you keep track of each other in the event someone wanders off. Just remember: Sometimes the cell service is overwhelmed at a festival, so always designate a physical meetup point too. 


The festival's over, and as you settle back into everyday life, don't forget to check on your digital health, too. Think of it like unpacking: review your digital moves, check your bank activity, and update your privacy settings, especially after making new friends. Let’s ensure our digital world is as safe and happy as our festival times. 

Review and reflect: Back home? Take a shower, drink some water, and check your accounts for any suspicious activity and review your device for signs of misconduct. Skim through your social posts too – any regrettable shares can usually still be nipped in the bud. 

Update and upgrade: Change is good, especially when it comes to your passwords. Post-festival is a great time to switch things up. Reevaluate your privacy settings too – new friends might mean new filters. 

As the festival season wraps up, take a moment to appreciate the incredible experiences and the vibrant memories created. But, remember: the end of the festival doesn't mean the end of vigilance. Just as we look after our physical well-being, our digital health demands attention too. 

So here's to living up the festival life – full of excitement and free of digital worry. Keep the music playing, the memories sweet, and your digital footprint secure. Here’s to safe adventures, both offline and online! 

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