Motorists driven round the bend at festivals

Article date: 25 June 2008

As revellers gear up for Glastonbury this week, new research from RAC reveals UK motorists are set to drive as far as 100 miles in the wrong direction trying to find festival locations.*

Over two thirds (65%) of festival goers surveyed admit they will get lost on the way this summer, with the average festival motorist set to circle the countryside for 13.5 miles in search of their camp site.

Motorists surveyed in the North West and East of England are the worst at finding festival sites while drivers in Scotland and the South West are the most sat nav-savvy.**

And confusion reigns once drivers finally reach their festival destination - over half (51%) have forgotten where they parked their car and one in five (22%) have mistaken someone else's car for their own!

But it's not only cars that get lost either - over a third of festival goers have even lost their tent during the festival, and 3% have lost their car keys.

Other festival insights include:

  • Motorists spend on average two hours stuck in queues and congestion at a festival
  • 20% have got their car stuck in the mud
  • 27% have fought with a partner when they got lost en-route
  • 23% have slept in their car
  • 21% have used a distinguishing mark on their car to help them find it
  • 10% have left something behind in their car and had to miss an act to go back and get it.

To help keep chaos to a minimum in 2007, RAC came to the rescue of over 400 breakdown calls at last year's Glastonbury and will increase the number of patrols in the area tenfold this year.

RAC patrol at Glastonbury, Dave Bennett, explains: "Every year hundreds of motorists need our assistance due to flat batteries, broken exhausts and getting stuck in the mud. Last year we even helped a group of Batmen in their broken down ‘Batmobile' get up and running again!"

On wasting fuel, Bennett comments: "Most importantly, with fuel prices at an all time high motorists need to plan their festival journeys better to avoid wasting fuel when lost, and also to prevent congestion on the roads."

Ben Dobson, 25, from Warrington set out for Glastonbury from Leicester last year. "We didn't really think about checking a route before we headed there as we thought we knew the general route, and figured we could just follow the crowds. It ended up taking us nearly a day to eventually find it, by which stage it was so dark that we couldn't pitch our tent!"

To ensure festival goers' journeys to and from festivals run smoothly, RAC has put together the following tips:

  • If you experience any vehicle problems at a festival, contact a breakdown service immediately rather than wait until the festival is over, as this will allow time to order necessary parts
  • Once you've parked your car, take a note of which car park it is in so you can find it at the end. It might help if you tie something brightly coloured to your car to help find it at the end
  • Ensure you bring either an in-car phone charger or spare phone battery to call for help in the event of a breakdown
  • Aim to leave the festival early in the morning on the final day before the traffic jams begin - check out the festival website for information on the best time to travel
  • As with any other journey, carry out regular car maintenance checks to make sure your car is in full working order before setting off
  • Think about when you last had an alcoholic drink. Although you may feel ok you may well be over the limit so ensure you wait until you are safe to drive
  • Remember to lock your car at all times
  • Keep items such as rubber mats or cut off carpet in your car boot should they be needed for helping traction under the car's wheels if it rains
  • You may not have slept much over the weekend so make sure you take frequent breaks from driving home to revive yourself.


RAC Press office contact:
Adam Cracknell 01603 684916/ 07800 699517, Jennifer Hardisty on 0207 908 6465 or Amy Funston on 0207 908 6433.

Notes to editors:

*RAC commissioned Redshift to carry out research in June 2008 among motorists who have attended a festival in the last five years

**71% North West and East of England motorists surveyed have got lost and 55% of Scotland and South West motorists surveyed have got lost

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by JD Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the past two years.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15%.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

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