This article is based on our experience of volunteering for the charity Festival Medical Services, to provide mental healthcare at the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts and the Reading Festival. It describes the history of these annual events and the development of medical and psychiatric services offered. Principles of assessment and management of mental disorder in festival settings are outlined and common psychiatric presentations are described. Legal aspects of care are discussed. The article is intended primarily to inform others of this interesting and unusual form of mental healthcare and we hope that aspects of our experience will prompt reflection on psychiatric practice in other settings.
I.R. and R.B. gain free entry to the Glastonbury and Reading Festivals through their voluntary work with Festival Medical Services.