But this summer feels set for a promising comeback (knock on wood.) Three New Year's staples in Australia — Falls Festival, Lost Paradise and Beyond The Valley — are all returning this December after a lengthy hiatus.
For live music fans who have also been on a break, you might be wondering if you can still hack it out in that sweltering summer heat. I'm certainly questioning my resolve these days. To put our minds at ease, we asked some seasoned festival-goers for their best tips to make it through a mammoth few days of live music.
From comfortable sandals to hangable toiletries bags and the humble wet wipe, here's what they had to say.
Bianca, 24, she/her
Baby wipes are a must-have. Don't even think about using the showers on-site — you'll leave dirtier than when you arrived. They're an incredible way to freshen up and do a DIY 'tent shower' before heading into the grounds.
My first multi-day festival was Unify Gathering in 2017. It's an Australian heavy music festival that takes place in Tarwin, Lower Victoria, every summer. It gets blistering hot during the day, sub-antarctic at night and rains pretty badly every year too. We had many a baby wipe shower over the four days — there was no way either of us was lining up for a shower on a freezing cold night.
Also, I'm going to sound like the biggest stick in the mud for a second but....don't drink. Seriously, go to discover your new favourite artist, spend time with your most cherished people, soak up the sun, mosh and dress up in your best 'fit. There's already so much stimulation at a festival and it just adds a whole new layer of expenses and stress TBH. I think I've been to at least 30+ festivals over the years and I've had about four drinks between them all!
Ash, 33, she/her
I always need a pair of Dr. Martens and a plastic bag for putting worn underwear in. Shoes that can handle every type of weather and can handle getting filthy without making your feet gross is priority number one.
Priority number two is having my worn knickers protected from stenching up my clean clothes (often you have a small bag and without frequent showers, the last thing you want is to feel like yesterday's smell is on you today).
Bree, 27, she/her
Hear me out: I wear bikinis instead of bras and underwear to multi-day festivals. You can make a bikini top work so many ways with different outfits and it's more comfortable than a bra. It also doesn't matter if you get wet or sweaty because they dry quicker. And, given that most summer festivals in Australia are stinking hot, you can cool down with some water, or a quick rinse under a tap without worrying about walking around in wet clothes. I don't just wear the bikini on its own, but I opt for it over underwear during the actual festival.
Cher, 23, she/her
I always need to have blister band-aids with me! I've been to Pitch Festival, Lost Paradise and Festival Of Life, and whenever you think you have broken in that fave pair of boots, they come in and ruin you.
Maria, 24, she/her
Cover your shoulders! I love a little top as much as the next girlie but you don't want third-degree, bubbly sunburn — trust me. I went to Inner Varnika and wore a flowy overshirt on top of my dress so those UV rays had no chance of injuring me. Also, drink water, pace yourself, wear comfy shoes and find some shade!
Marli, 27, she/her
Wet wipes. There is no way I'm waiting in a shower line in the steaming hot sun for an hour and a half, hungover. Also, adding to the reasons not to shower at a festival, my friend waited for so long only to finally prance into the cubical and step into actual human shit. A little wet wipe 'shower' in the tent and you are cleansed, polished and ready to go.
Tiff, 22, she/her
I don't care what anyone says about festival showers; I like to take one every morning that I'm at the campsite (even if that means waking up earlier to avoid the a long queues), because I'm a high-maintenance girlie. There is nothing worse to me than feeling all gross and sweaty before I've even gotten ready for the day.
If you're the same, bringing a big tote and a hangable toiletry bag to store your products, a change of clothes and undies (because heaven forbid they fall on the communal floor and get wet), is a godsend. You can just hang them up on the hooks instead of having to store them down on the ground somewhere. Don't forget slides or thongs to wear in there and as you walk around the campsite.