It's easy to get carried away with it all when festival season rolls around. You've got your tickets, you've either bought a tent or liberated one from the dusty, disused corner of a relative's garage, the line up features all your favourite bands and you have gathered a hardy group of like-minded music lovers to share the experience. All you have to do now is get yourself through the gates and the good times will take care of themselves, right? WRONG! Don't be one of the naive people inwardly repeating the mantra above - arm yourself with ATL's wily range of top tips below to ensure that your festival experience isn't peppered with regret.
DO: Go and see at least one band you've never heard a note of in your entire life. What's the worst that could happen?
DON'T: Stand near a couple lovingly cradling each other in the middle of a mosh pit. One or both of them will inevitably become extremely upset as they get crashed into. You, as the meat in a mosher/loving couple sandwich, will likely become the focus of at least one person's ire. MOSH PITS ARE NO PLACE FOR PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION PEOPLE - NO PLACE AT ALL!!
DO: Attempt to imagine the feeling of being dunked in mud by a group of over-zealous bumpkins who have never before been in the presence of festival-going sophisticates like yourselves. Not being familiar with your type, they will mistake their confusion for fear. Their fear will likely lead to a cry of "YYYEEEOOOWWW" and them careering towards you at breakneck pace before dumping you face-first into the mud. If you suspect that you will not like this feeling, perhaps this festival is not for you.
DON'T: Forget to personalise your tent. Year after year, people seem to overlook the fact that tents are mass manufactured and therefore look almost identical. This means yours can be pretty hard to spot in a field featuring thousands of tents, particularly when it's dark and you may have imbibed a judgement-impairing jar or two. Smack a bit of paint on it, attach a large inflatable banana, surround it with barbed-wire security fencing complete with a 30 megawatt spotlight and small electricity generator - whatever tickles your fancy. Not everyone's got snazzy iPhone apps with built-in GPS and the like that do the job for them...
DO: Bring your own wet-weather gear. You may find that, despite the ongoing deflation in the global financial marketplace, that an isolated pocket of hyper-inflation exists in the localised cabal of raincoat / poncho distributors on site when the rains come. Funny that.
DO: Get to the front of the crowd at the main stage and sing along ultra-ehtusiastically. With a bit of luck, you'll appear on the big screen just as you completely forget the lyrics and make a bit of a tool of yourself, thus amusing everyone in a 500-yard radius.
DON'T: Stay in a hotel and submit your pay-per-view film costs as part of your expenses. This is mainly one for journos, media personalities and assorted dignitaries that may be in attendance. Oh, and the ATL crew, who sadly don't fall into any of those categories.
DO: Keep it green. The hoardes that descend on Punchestown can leave a fairly indelible mark on the place in many ways, so try and do your best to use the recycling bins that litter the site. See what I did there?
DON'T: Bring a pair of wellies. I know, I know, as a safeguarder of public trust, we should be instructing you all to arm yourselves with functional footwear. The thing is though, you can swop your mud-encrusted shoes for a free pair of wellies at the Schuh Welly Exchange on site. Your dirty specimens will then be cleaned up and shipped to the third world to provide shoes for those who otherwise couldn't afford them. So forget the wellies and bring a pair of shoes you don't mind donating instead.
DO: Choose one member of your festival-going party to be the designated parent of the group. If necessary, pay this person a small gratuity to make up for the added responsibility such a role demands. You'll be thanking us when your temporary mummy or daddy fishes you out of puddle of questionable origin or prevents you gambling away your actual parents' car in a late-night game of camp site backgammon with those hustlers in the neighbouring tent.
DON'T: Get baked in the sun. The smell of 80,000 "revellers" being singed simultaneously could lead to a catastrophic scene like this...