Just a short one today, on the subject of the unverified reports of ‘Festival Flu’ currently doing the rounds. Please bear in mind that I am in no way qualified to give any medical advice, and so you really shouldn’t listen to me…
For those of you who have never been to the festival, and those of you who who are experiencing it for the first time, Festival Flu is the undefined illness which tends to affect casts and crews at around this point in the festival.
Symptoms vary, but usually include fatigue, general nasal snottiness, tiredness, lethargy, croaky voices – the list goes on.
In my opinion (unverified and not medical, remember…) the first reason is proximity. Performers are often living in close cramped conditions, and performing in close, cramped venues which are at a great temperature backstage for bacteria to breed. If there’s anything going around, there’s a much higher risk of getting it.
The second reason is often burning the candle at both ends (and sometimes in between). It’s easy to get caught up in late nights, too many beers, cheap takeaway food and smoking like a chimney to deal with the stresses and strains companies are under, both physically and psychologically.
The first one we can’t affect, unless you want to walk around with a mask on your face and a continual supply of antibacterial hand wash in your pocket (the latter’s actually not a bad idea). The second one we can affect.
In my humble opinion it’s the time now, if you’re feeling like you’re coming down with Festival Flu, to be kind to yourself. A couple of normal bedtimes, some decent quality food, easy on the beers and smokes, and chill out a bit with something non-festival related – for many of us this evening, it’s going down to the local pub quiz, followed by a relatively early night.
Be kind to yourself, stay fresh, and by the end of the festival – if all goes well – your mind and body won’t fall apart when you finally return home. Believe me, this happens a lot, and it can be avoided.
Take care of yourselves, one and all.