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Personal Safety

Familiarise yourself with best practices for personal safety

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Site Layout

The ground is farmland, normally used for grazing and generally level but uneven terrain. It is likely that the site may be muddy, water-soaked or dusty – it is not a stadium or hardcore flooring. The Festival arena is a large space with stages, food, bars, merchandise, and market stalls, plus many more facilities within the campsites and around the arena.


Being found in possession of a flare or firework at a music event is now a criminal offence. Anyone found in possession will be removed from site and could face up to 3 months in prison and / or a fine.

Who to ask for help


In an emergency: Alert a steward or a security person who will know the way to the nearest medical facility and will be able to contact Medical by radio. Depending on the problem, you may be advised to go to a medical point, or a medical response may be sent to you. This could be an ambulance, paramedic or first responder.


Main Medical Centre (24 hours)

Yellow Area, not far from the main Arena Gate
Staff at the medical centre are fully qualified professionals who are experienced in working at festivals. The centre is equipped to deal with everything from cuts and bruises to major trauma and cardiac arrest. Whenever it can be done safely, people are treated on site and very few have to be sent to hospital.

As well as doctors and nurses, the medical team includes physiotherapists, podiatrists, a mental health team and an X ray unit. There is a 24-hour pharmacy.

White Campsite Medical Unit (24 hours)

White Camping across bridge over the River Thames
This is a smaller unit staffed by nurses, paramedics and first responders. It is set up to deal with minor injuries and illnesses; more serious conditions may need to be referred to the main medical centre.

Arena patrols (during Arena opening hours)

Teams of first responders in Hi-Vis jackets patrol the arena, providing first aid, advice and basic life support.


At other events this year, FMS have encountered very serious problems caused by drugs of unusually high strength and purity. The effects of these, particularly when mixed with alcohol and other substances, are unpredictable and have resulted in sudden, life-threatening reactions.

If someone you are with seems to be having a bad reaction, GET HELP QUICKLY. They may need immediate treatment and a brief delay can cost a life.

The team at the main medical centre is experienced in dealing with the effects of drugs and alcohol and works closely with the welfare service next door. All help is provided in a confidential and non-judgemental way, so don’t worry about coming.


If you are worried about pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, the medical centre team can give you help and advice and emergency contraception if needed.

If you think you may have been the victim of sexual assault, come and see us, even if you don’t want to report it. You will be treated sensitively and given all the help and advice you need.

All medical services at the festival are operated by Festival Medical Services. For further information on keeping safe and well at the festival, visit us at and click on Festival Health.

Where to go for help

At Reading 2022 we have a number of services in place where you can go for help 24/7. Maybe you or the people you were with had taken something or were too drunk and you felt uncomfortable in your situation.

The services we offer onsite are there for you to ask for help, without being judged and the appropriate help will be given.

All of the services listed below are here to help you. You are our primary concern and we want to ensure you are safe and well first and foremost. These services are confidential and we will put you first, so please don’t be afraid to seek help no matter what your problem is.


At Reading many people will be having a great time but inevitably there will be some who are not. Sometimes people can arrive hoping to forget about their problems, but being at an event can sometimes make them feel even worse. Others can arrive feeling relatively OK, but something happens during the event which leaves them feeling low.

That’s where Samaritans fit in. Samaritans will give you the time and space to talk things through, so you can find a way through your problems.

Samaritans help you to explore your options so you can make decisions that are right for you.

Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you.

If you feel you need to talk, in complete confidence, please come by and see Samaritans in the Green Campsite by the Captains Cross Roads or call 116 123 for free.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army marquee is located at the end of Scott Street (Green Campsite) and will be open during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 26th August and then 24/7 from 7am on Thursday until mid-morning on Monday 31st.

Our volunteers will be selling tea, coffee, soup and a roll and muffins at ‘not for profit’ prices. For a small donation, we’re happy to fill up your Pot Noodles (other brands are available!) with hot water. We also have a small stock of blankets, sleeping bags, tents and socks that we can hand out if needed.

As well as serving reasonably priced refreshments, we are also open as a safe space for festival-goers who just want to come along and have a chat. We are good at providing a listening ear and will do our best to help sort out any problems and if we can’t help, we’ll use our knowledge and experience to signpost people to someone who can.

Street Pastors

Street Pastors are on site to care, listen & help anyone that comes our way. We will have two tents, one in Orange campsite and the other in Brown. We are open from Wednesday 26th August through to Monday 31st August. Our tents are seen as “chill out” areas where people can relax and come and have refreshments and snacks. It is a safe place for people that are often feeling overwhelmed by the number of people on site or just need somewhere to go and sit. We have various games on offer including a football table and Connect Four. We will happily fill up pot noodle pots too!

We patrol the campsite from Thursday lunchtime through to Sunday/Monday 2am, looking out for vulnerable people and signposting them to the right places.


Reading Festival Welfare – Operated by TLC Welfare We hope you have a fantastic festival but sometimes people do need some help and advice. Our friendly team of staff from TLC Welfare are dedicated caring professionals who offer information, advice, health, wellbeing and emotional support. We will be open 24hrs from when you arrive until 1pm Monday 29th. Our staff and volunteers will make you feel welcome and provide a listening ear. If you just need a place to sit and relax or are feeling anxious, unwell, overdone it from the night before or have lost your friends then come to welfare. We are happy to help. Other services on offer include free sunscreen, earplugs, condoms and a rest area. Welfare is also the place to come to for lost children and crime reporting. The welfare tent is located in Yellow Campsite on Baker Lane. We will also have a welfare team based in the Main Arena Friday – Sunday located near the Main Stage – just look for the welfare sign or ask stewards for directions. Want to find out some more about TLC visit

Safe Gigs for Women

Safe Gigs for Women is an initiative established by regular gig goers with the aim of creating a safer environment for women at gigs. Our aims are to work with gig-goers to spread the word that it is not okay to grope, threaten or harass others. Encourage victims to speak out, and supporters to advocate that this behaviour will not be tolerated Safe Gigs for Women will be based in the Green Campsite and will feature heavily on the Festival Republic help map. They will tackle all sexual harassment, not only against women.

Care And Safety

We don’t accept any discrimination towards any individual or groups of individuals.

Irrespective of the background of the individual, be that gender, race, disability, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity. We are proud of the diverse nature of our festivals and their customers, if you see or experience anyone undermining this – no matter the severity – please report it immediately to one of our onsite staff.

Take care of yourself at Reading

  • Decide on a meeting point with your friends. Choose a time and place to meet up later in case you get separated from each other.
    Learn the layout of the site – particularly your camping area so you can easily find toilets and stewards
  • Pick out memorable points near your campsite to help remember where your camping spot is located. Are there landmarks nearby that can help you find it?
  • Get to know the people who are camped around you. It makes for a nicer environment and it means you’ll be familiar with who should be coming and going in your area
  • Keep your phone charged in case you’re separated from your friends.
  • Stay hydrated. There are tested drinking water points throughout the Arena which are free to use
  • For a full list of what you can and can’t bring into the campsite, please view the What You Can and Can’t Bring chart under Camping.
  • Keep your wits about you. Drink responsibly and know your limit.
    Carry a torch with you or enable the torch on your phone to use for when it gets dark
  • Festival stewards are here to help you. Don’t be worried about asking for help in any situation, whether it’s asking for directions or to report something or someone you’re worried about
  • Don’t leave valuables like your phone, purse or car keys in your tent or unattended vehicles. Lockers are available to rent to store your belongings
  • The Welfare Tent is open 24 hours and is staffed by experienced and supportive people. They can provide confidential advice about drugs, alcohol, legal highs and sexual health, and offer support if you need to talk. They offer a monitored rest and recovery area if you’ve overdone it. Please go to the Welfare Tent if you experience any problems or need to talk to someone for any reason
  • Those with chronic conditions such as epilepsy, asthma and diabetes should bring all their usual medications to cover the festival period, and to be aware they may require hospital treatment if they don’t take it
  • Strobe lighting – pyrotechnics, lasers, smoke machines, strobe lighting/special effects may take place during some performances


Campfires are no longer allowed anywhere at the festival, including the campsites. This is to support the Air Quality Action Plan and in consideration of local impacts as set out in our Green Nation Charter.  Anyone seen creating or fuelling a fire will be evicted from the festival site. We have to continue to protect our future on this planet.

What To Do In An Emergency

There are over a thousand security, stewards and campsite staff on duty, all of which wear our festival tabards. Locate a member of staff for any emergencies, who will be able to assist or locate the correct assistance.

If you need to contact Thames Valley Police to report a non-emergency crime or to provide information on a crime while at the festival, please go to the welfare tent (located on Baker Lane or in the Arena by the main stage).

If a serious or life-threatening crime is being committed, please contact a member of staff or police officer immediately. If in the unlikely event you cannot find someone, please call 999.

Lost Children

If you have lost a child, please contact a member of staff or police officer immediately who will be able to help you. Alternatively, go to the Welfare Tent on Baker Lane or in the arena by the main stage. If you do bring young children please ensure that on entry you get a child’s wristband to write your contact number on so that if you are separated you can be quickly reunited.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, highly poisonous gas that can kill in minutes. Never take a portable barbecue – or lit charcoal – into an enclosed space like a tent or caravan. Make sure exhaust fumes from generators are properly vented away from occupied areas.

If you think you have potentially be exposed to carbon monoxide gas from a BBQ or gas powered heater whilst at the festival, please contact a steward immediately.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness and confusion
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
Carbon Monoxide Warning

Bridge Jumping

Bridge jumping is an extremely dangerous thing to do. If you are found attempting to jump off, you will be taken to the police immediately.

Drug Use And Legal Highs

Do not bring illegal drugs or ‘legal’/psychoactive substances to the festival. You may be ejected from the event and be handed over to the police.

There will be a gate review policy in place. Drugs dogs will be searching at all gates and anyone found attempting to bring drugs into the site may be refused entry via our new gate review teams.

The contents of legal highs are toxic, even plant-based ones. They are untested on humans and they do kill.

The use of any gas canisters or nitrous oxide (NOs) is banned across our entire festival site. If found with them, or using them, you will be evicted from the site immediately and potentially banned from other events promoted by Festival Republic and Live Nation. This includes if you’re found throwing them onto any fire, or near any heated source, which can cause extremely serious injuries to you, your friends, or anyone nearby.

Read our drugs policy.

All drug taking is dangerous, the best advice is not to take drugs. Taking any drugs when you don’t know what is in it is a big risk and the effect on your body is unpredictable. By mixing different drugs together, the chances of having a bad time and needing hospital treatment are increased, as some drugs work in the same way and this can cause an overdose.

In a previous year, an 18-year-old needed intensive care treatment after being found collapsed by his friends at the festival. He had taken several different drugs, making him unconscious. Over the next few hours, his heart rate and temperature went up to unsafe levels, resulting in liver, kidney and muscle failure. Following prolonged treatment, he recovered but needed repeat blood tests for some time. He was very unwell, but luckily his friends got medical help. He now has no memory of his four day stay in hospital. The most important lesson for him was seeing the effect his drug-taking had on his friends and family, who thought he was going to die.

Please think twice before taking drugs, as sometimes, despite the Doctors best efforts, the drug effects are too severe, and they can’t stop the multi-organ failure resulting in death.

Please visit Talk To Frank for more information.

Drugs Policy

Drugs Policy

  • Festival Republic does not condone the use of drugs. Drug enforcement laws are as applicable onsite as anywhere else in the UK and it is, therefore, illegal to buy, sell or possess drugs. All drugs are potentially dangerous, there are no harmless drugs. The only way to avoid risks is to not take drugs at all. This goes for new psychoactive substances (formerly known as “legal highs”) as well.
  • We still want our festival-goers to know that you can come to us for help if you or your friends need it, without fear of getting in trouble at any time.
  • Always be honest with medics and welfare teams about what you have consumed so that they know how best to help you.

Drugs Advice

We do not recommend you take drugs, but if you do please bear the following in mind.

  • You don’t know the strength of what you might be taking. You don’t know how your body will react. You can’t tell what you are taking by looking at it. You can’t tell how you will react by the reaction others have had. You can’t tell how quickly it will take effect. Pills and drugs that look exactly the same can be very different. No drugs are safe and there is no safe dose.
  • Remember that tolerance levels can vary. You may not have the same tolerance level as your friends. It can also vary depending on whether or not you have eaten beforehand or consumed alcohol. You can always up your dose, but you can’t reduce it. Wait at least 2 hours before taking any more. Start low and go slow.
  • There are drugs in circulation in the UK that have very a strong dose of active ingredients.
  • There are drugs in circulation in the UK that can take a long time to take effect – don’t assume they are poor quality – they may contain another substance that takes longer to take effect or may have a tougher outer coating that takes longer to dissolve. If you then take more, as a result, you are at increased risk of overdose when the combined doses do kick in. Start low and go slow.
  • Mixing drugs with other illegal drugs / alcohol / prescription drugs can be very dangerous and mixing is behind many drug-related deaths.
  • The main factors in overdose are taking large quantities, very strong drugs, re-dosing quickly, mixing drugs, taking drugs that are not what you thought you were taking or taking drugs with alcohol.
  • Cheap does not mean weak.
  • Pure does not mean safe.
  • Treat all drugs as unknown.
  • Take regular breaks if you are dancing, exercising or in a hot environment and rehydrate with water or soft drinks – take small sips regularly but don’t drink more than one pint an hour. Have a rest regularly to cool down.
  • Having an isotonic drink can help if you have been drinking a lot of water.
  • Use in a safe environment, with people you trust and not alone. You are more vulnerable when you are under the influence of drugs so look out for each other. Be open with your friends about what you are taking. Ask for help if you need it.
  • You can talk to the Welfare Team onsite in confidence at any time and they will have drugs advisory staff to help you. At camping festivals, the Welfare tent is open 24 hours and their location will be advertised on the site maps. Stewards or security will also know where to direct you to.
  • It can be tempting to use other substances to help deal with comedowns but think of other ways to help such as eating well and getting enough rest.
  • If you do use substances to sleep, sleep on your side and avoid alcohol or other drugs which can depress your breathing (like ketamine, etizolam or benzos) as it can be easy to overdose or choke if you are sick in your sleep.
  • If you need help from the medics, we guarantee that neither you nor your friends will get in trouble. Ask for help if you need it and don’t wait – getting help early can save lives.

NPS and Former Legal Highs

  • Our drugs policies include Nitrous Oxide (Nos) and former legal highs which can be dangerous. Just because they used to be legal, this does not mean they are safe or mild.
  • Former legal highs are now known as NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) and it is an offence to sell them. If you take NPS, keep the packet in case you need to show someone what you have taken. However, please note – what it says on the packet isn’t necessarily what is in the packet. Also, chemicals can fall to the bottom of the bag leading to a very high dose.


  • We will take firm action in conjunction with the local Police to arrest people suspected of selling any drugs or NPS onsite.
  • There are covert staff onsite and as a condition of entry you are subject to search at any time. Staff will search for illegal items including drugs.
  • If someone offers you drugs, please report them to the nearest member of security with as much information as you can.


  • Pace yourself.
  • Try to avoid getting too intoxicated in unfamiliar situations. You can lose control, make risky decisions and become less aware of danger.
  • Alcohol and other drugs can impair your judgement. Don’t feel pressured into doing anything you aren’t comfortable with.
  • If you are having a bad time or struggling but don’t feel you need medical attention, visit the Welfare Team.
  • If you need medical attention, visit the Medical Tent or ask the nearest member of staff to help you.
  • If someone becomes unconscious or unresponsive, put them in the recovery position (on their side) and seek immediate medical attention by alerting the nearest member of security.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks.
  • If you are drinking from early in the day, try to stick to drinks with a lower ABV, for example, lager rather than spirits.
  • Alcohol is the most common substance used to spike drinks. Never leave drinks unattended and don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know.
  • Mixing alcohol with drugs has been a common factor in some recent drug-related deaths connected with festivals.

Further Information

Remember if you take drugs and become ill, depressed or concerned, make sure you ask the nearest member of staff to direct you to our Medical Tent or Welfare Tent.

If you or someone you are with has a bad reaction and needs medical help, talk to the nearest member of staff immediately. Let the medics know what has been taken. You could save your friend’s life. We guarantee you will not get in trouble. People who are overdosing can go downhill very quickly so don’t delay in seeking help.

More on Ecstasy deaths

Ecstasy deaths appear to be rising year on year. There appears to be a link with the amount of MDMA found in tablets more recently. In 2005 each pill contained around 80mg of MDMA (an average adult dose is 80-120mg). Average pill strengths are now around 160mg MDMA i.e. twice an average adult dose and pills are frequently tested upwards of 300mg MDMA. In addition, your body weight, hormone levels, using other drugs or alcohol, and your underlying health can all have a significant impact on how you react to a drug. Your friends might have taken the same drug and not had any ill effects. There is no safe dose.

More information on the dangers of mixing drugs

Mixing drugs intensifies the effects of each drug and makes them more dangerous and potentially fatal. Mixing drugs and alcohol is common but alcohol can have a big impact on the way many substances affect you. It could enhance the effects of the first drug but it could also create a dangerous or potentially fatal chemical reaction. Mixing ecstasy with cocaine can increase the high but also increases the risk of cardiac arrest. The more drugs that are used simultaneously including alcohol and including prescription drugs, the greater the risk. DO NOT MIX.

Further information on particular combinations

Alcohol and Ecstasy

Alcohol can moderate the high from ecstasy and increase the intensity of the come down. Both drugs cause dehydration which increases the risk of heatstroke. There is a greater strain on the liver and kidneys which can lead to feeling / being sick. Both drugs impair judgment. Mixing alcohol with ecstasy has played a part in several drugs overdoses at music festivals in recent years.

Alcohol and Cocaine

This combination results in the formation of an entirely new chemical in the body called cocaethylene. This is then associated with liver damage, seizures and immune system damage. Some research suggests that immediate death from cocaethylene is 20 times more likely than from cocaine alone. The impact of alcohol can increase the levels of cocaine in the blood by as much as 30% increasing the strain on the cardiovascular system. There is also an increased likelihood of violent behaviour and suicide.

Alcohol with other stimulants

A combination of alcohol with other stimulants such as ritalin, adderall, amphetamine, some diet pills, some over the counter cold remedies and even some strong energy drinks can also be dangerous. As with cocaine they can obscure the sedating effects of alcohol enabling a person to get dangerously drunk without fully realising. Overheating is more likely which can lead to organ damage and overheating is associated with many drug-related deaths from stimulant drugs including MDMA. A person taking alcohol with these stimulants can lose their inhibitions but be irritable and aggressive.

Alcohol and Ketamine

Mixing alcohol with ketamine or other downers like valium is particularly risky for overdose.

Misuse of Prescription drugs

Prescription drugs are not safe if not used according to the issuing doctor’s instructions. The benzodiazepine (benzo’s) group of drugs – valium, xanax, etizolam, temazepan etc are often used to come down from other drugs such as ecstasy or speed. This is a dangerous combination as the tranquilizers can be numbing and when taken with alcohol the combined depressant effects can cause fatal overdose by inhibiting breathing or slowing down vital organs.