Big Day Out preparation not just about sunscreen and good shoes

By Joanna Hunkin

We'll be covering the Big Day Out this Friday with regular updates, blogs and photos throughout the day at nzherald.co.nz/bigdayout

So you've your tickets, your sunscreen and your camera.

All set, right?

Wrong.

The Big Day Out is all about fun and frivolity, but it can be incredibly frustrating unless you plan your day properly.

First things first - how are you going to get there?

If a group of you are heading in, a taxi van could be the way to go but you will need to prebook it.

Plus, you should be prepared for the extra cost as you sit crawling through traffic from the Ellerslie roundabout onwards.

Those heading from the 'burbs would be best to hop on a train to Penrose station, but be warned, even with the extra services, the carriages fill up fast.

Best head to the start of the line - Britomart - where a return pass to Penrose and back will cost you a mere $7.

If you're transferring onto other lines, you can pick up a Day Rover pass for $10, which gives you unlimited same day train travel.

Also, don't forget it's a good 10-minute walk between the train station and Mt Smart Stadium, which could be a bit of a struggle after 12 hours of music, moshing and mayhem.

Buses are the most cost effective and energy-conserving mode of transport, with a continuous service departing from Real Groovy Records on Queen St to the stadium from 9.15am.

Return buses will begin leaving from 9.30pm, from O'Rorke St and drop punters off outside The Civic on Wellesley St. Tickets are $5 each way.

Once you've figured out how to get to the stadium, you need to plan what you'll do once there.

Print off a timetable from the Big Day Out website and figure out which acts you really want to see, but don't be over ambitious.

When you take into account the time it takes to round up the crew, move through the crowds and stop for toilet breaks, water refills etc, you're kidding yourself if you think you're going to get from the Essential Stage to Blue Stage in under 10 minutes.

Also, if you're planning on camping out at one stage to get a good possie for the headliners, you need to be prepared.

One application of sunscreen before you leave the house will not cut it.

You'll need sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, food and plenty of water.

And even then you're at high risk of suffering heat stroke.

If you are determined to stake your place at the main stage, set up a tag team system with mates so two of you can go off and sit in the shade while the other two hold the fort.

After several years of covering the Big Day Out, it never fails to amaze us how each year, the exact same problems arise and people are still unprepared.

The cell phone networks WILL become overloaded.

Arrange a rendez-vous point with mates as soon as you arrive, preferably away from the main entrance, which is always chaos.

You WILL get stuck in a crowd and pushed around, inevitably leading to the loss of sunglasses, jewellery and other personal effects.

Minimise your valuables and don't take anything that you would be devastated to lose.

A digital camera may be expensive but it can be easily replaced. Your grandmother's bracelet cannot.

It WILL be hot and you will sweat. A lot.

Even if it's overcast and drizzling, 45,000 people in confined space produce a lot of heat.

Jeans are not recommended. Neither is anything white, which will turn grey with grime.

Finally, no matter how many portaloos the organisers provide, they WILL end up ferral - out of paper and soap.

If you're a stickler for hygiene, we suggest you take your own loo roll and handsanitizer.

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