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How to survive a festival with food allergies

FestivalFestival season is upon us in the UK. Loud music, lots of mud and little sleep means food can take a bit of a backseat, with many people picking up food as they go. More thought is needed if you have food allergies or intolerances, but this doesn’t need to stop you from making the most of the summer and having fun during festivals or any summer camping trips you’ve got planned.

Firstly, get those back up snacks sorted. Especially at larger festivals it might be a while before you stumble across appropriate food so you’ll want some food you can pack in your bag to keep you going. Go for things like packaged snack bars, home made things such as flapjacks in small Tupperware boxes, or some fresh fruit.

You should be able to ask for boiling water from drinks stands so can consider taking gluten-free oats and personalised toppings for an on-the-go free from porridge – simply put the oats into a lidded container, add boiling water, pop the lid on and after a couple of minutes you’ll have a fresh bowl of hot porridge! Add dried milk powder too for a creamier version, or a dairy-free alternative.

Contact the event organisers before going and find out about which food vendors will be there if possible, so you have an idea of what’s available. When you find somewhere suitable at the festival make a note of it on a map so it’s easier to find when you want to go back.

If there’s an accessible town nearby there’s also the option of escaping the crowds for a while to grab food from a restaurant or take out (which should have allergen information) or popping to the supermarket.

Before you go check out the festival information regarding carrying medications so you’re aware of any policies and can avoid any problems. It Festival2might be useful to get a note from your GP to keep with your medication just in case.

A decent bag that you can comfortably carry around with you all weekend is also a must, so you’re never away from your medication, snacks, water and other essentials.

Make plans beforehand with your friends of where to go if you get split up and carry a mobile phone with you. Make sure your friends understand your allergy and know what to do in an emergency. If you do think you’re having a reaction, don’t go anywhere by yourself and don’t get left by yourself – inform your friends and get help from a member of staff who can contact the on-site medical team. If you are by yourself or there’s no one available to help call 999. Don’t delay in taking your adrenaline if necessary.

Most importantly, have fun! A bit of extra preparation and attention is needed, but this doesn’t have to hold you back from having a brilliant experience. We here at Food Freedom hope everyone has a fun-filled free from summer, and if you come across any businesses you’d like to see receive full allergen training, or if you need advice on anything to do with food allergies, intolerances or coeliac disease, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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