Back to: Information
Personal Safety - Icon

Personal Safety

Familiarise yourself with best practices for personal safety

Browse All Categories

Care And Safety

Click here for Health Advice at Reading Festival.

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


For 2018 festival-goers will no longer be able to bring their own firewood into the campsites.

This does not mean we are banning campfires as we know how much you love them! You will still be able to purchase firewood from our onsite sellers and enjoy your campfires as usual.

Campfires lower than knee height, and less than one pace wide are permitted in the campsite. Any fires larger than this are not allowed.

There are no campfires or BBQs permitted after 20:00 on Sunday. No firewood will be on sale from 18:00 on Sunday.

Fires are not permitted in the arena at any time.

Unauthorised bonfires are not permitted anywhere at all at the festival.

Anyone seen creating or fuelling a bonfire will be evicted from the festival site on the spot.

Anyone found burning any unsuitable materials such as toxic materials, other people’s possessions or the fencing, trees or hedges onsite will be liable to eviction/prosecution.

Fire Safety Tips

  • Candles are dangerous; torches are far less of a fire risk in and around tents
  • Watch out for flying embers and sparks, as they could start a fire, even from some distance
  • Don’t burn plastic or any other toxic materials. Anyone burning toxic materials is liable for eviction
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive a fire
  • If you cook, always do it outside your tent, ensure that there is constant supervision and keep well away from any flammable materials​

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 call 101.

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 or go to the Welfare Tent on Baker Lane.

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.

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.

Welfare Tent

The Welfare Tent is open 24 hours and is staffed by experienced and supportive people who understand festivals. They can give confidential advice about drugs, alcohol, legal highs and sexual health and offer support if you need someone to talk to for any reason. They offer a monitored rest & recovery area if you’ve overdone it and can arrange a place to crash if you find yourself stranded. They also care for lost children & vulnerable people. For more information visit

If this is your first time going to a festival then check out this festival guide for tips.

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.

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.

Last 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

  • This festival does not condone the use of drugs. It is illegal to buy, sell or take drugs. Drugs enforcement laws are as applicable onsite as anywhere else in the UK
  • We want our festival-goers to know above all else that we are here to help and you can come to us for help without fear of getting in trouble. Drugs Advice

Drugs Advice

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

  • There are drugs in circulation in the UK that can kill with one single pill. Click here for more information.
  • There is no way to know what drugs contain from looking. Even pills that look the same can have different strengths. Know the facts.
  • If in doubt, get checked out. Do you know the signs of an overdose? Know the facts
  • Mixing drugs with other drugs / alcohol / prescription drugs can be very dangerous and mixing is behind many drugs deaths. Click here for more information.
  • Cheap does not mean weak.
  • Pure does not mean safe.
  • 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 always up your dose but you can’t reduce it. Wait at least 2 hours before taking any more.
  • If your powder or pills don’t take effect as quickly as you would expect, don’t assume they are poor quality – they may contain another substance that takes longer to take effect. If you then take more as a result you are at increased risk of overdose when the combined doses do kick in.
  • Treat all drugs as unknown.
  • Take regular breaks if you are dancing or exercising or in a hot environment and rehydrate with water or soft drinks – take small sips regularly but don’t have more than one pint an hour.
  • Having an isotonic drink such as Lucozade can help if you have been drinking a lot of water.
  • Use in a safe environment, with people you trust, look after each other and make sure you are with someone at all times. Ask for help if you need it.
  • You can talk to the Welfare Team in confidence at any time and they have drugs advisory staff to help you. They are open 24 hours and based in the Village next to the Medical Tent.

NPS and Former Legal Highs

  • Our drugs policies include Nitrous Oxide (Nos) and other former legal highs all of which are dangerous. They are not safe or mild because they used to be legal.
  • Former legal highs are now known as NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) and it is an offence now to sell them. If you take NPS, then keep the packet in case you need to show someone what you have taken but note that 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 Thames Valley Police to arrest dealers.
  • 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.

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 Welfare Tent in the Village which is open 24 hours.

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. 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. Some recent pills have tested upwards of 250mg MDMA. This could be firmly in the fatal overdose range.  A combination of factors are at play such as bodyweight, hormone levels, mixing with other drugs including alcohol, underlying health and so on. 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 also increase the intensity of the come down. Both drugs cause dehydration which increases the risk of heatstroke when dancing in a hot environment for hours. 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 resulted in a number of 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. 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. A person taking alcohol with these stimulants can lose their inhibitions but be irritable and aggressive.

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, xanex, tamazepan 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.