As 135,000 festival goers gear up for Glastonbury this weekend, opportunistic thieves may well be getting ready too, as new research by gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble reveals that over £80 million of tech will be taken to the festival this summer**.
With more than 10 million Brits planning on attending a festival this season alone, each reveller intends to carry a whopping £593 of gadgets in their rucksack – making music festivals a hotbed for crime, accidental damage and loss.
Smartphones are now a key element of the experience, with 85% of festival goers packing smartphones for festivals in the last three years. The top reasons for taking mobile phones this year include contacting friends if separated (59%), showing off on social media (42%) and keeping in touch with friends and family at home (38%).
Unfortunately the data also reveals that almost a quarter (24%) of adults who’ve been to a festival in the past have damaged (22%), lost (19%) or had a phone stolen (15%). Of those that had their phone stolen, just 32% had insurance in place that they could claim on and only 14% reported the crime to the police. Meanwhile, more than four in ten (42%) ended up with a larger than usual phone bill after the thief used it.
Aware of these risks, 31% of Brits going to a festival this year plan on storing valuables in a money belt, while 26% intend to keep electronic devices in a water-tight container – although three in 10 (30%) would not prepare for any accidents whatsoever.
Smartphones aren’t the only gadgets at risk. Believe it or not, 23% of festival goers plan on taking their laptops and one in ten (10%) pack tablets or iPads. Worryingly, almost half (48%) of revellers admit to leaving smart phones unattended in their tent, with 12% leaving laptops and 9% leaving tablets an open target for thieves.
Yet some festival goers have taken the opportunity for a digital detox. The top reason cited for leaving mobile phones at home entirely include not wanting to lose it (33%), not wanting it to be stolen (24%) and wanting to enjoy the festival technology-free (12%).
Rob Basinger, head of UK at gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble, says: “More than 1 million Brits plan to hit a festival this season, either on home soil or overseas and, for many, it’ll be the highlight of the summer. But when you’ve had a few ciders, you’re up to your knees in mud, and living in a tent for a weekend, the risk to your valuables is considerably higher.
“Keep your smartphone safe by not leaving it unattended in a tent or a car, and don’t store it in your back pocket when you’re in a crowd – instead, keep smaller valuables under cover in a money belt. With British festivals traditionally a soggy affair, you can also protect electronic devices from the elements by ensuring they’re kept in a water-tight ziplock bag.
“You needn’t leave your smartphone at home for fear of accidents – just ensure you have appropriate cover for it before you leave home, should the worst happen. To avoid the queues for battery charge points, take a portable charger or a cheaper back-up phone – but remember to share the number with your mates.”