The Spa Spy blog

Festival time: music, mayhem - and massage?

As we move from May into June, we're about to start that great British tradition, the festival season. What used to be a handful of muddy outdoor gatherings, which started with Glastonbury and ended with the Notting Hill Carnival, has now ballooned into almost hundred events across the UK. Love your reggae? Rock? Cover bands? 80s music? Or even classical? There's a festival that caters for you.

But what seems surprisingly common nowadays is the presence of the world of "spa" at festival events. Yup: booming music, the unreliable nature of the British weather, and... a relaxing therapy or treatment.

It's great to see spas getting out and about for a spot of festival fun, but how effective can any treatment really be amidst the craziness of a music event? We asked Paolo Della Fina, company director of London Serenity, who are hosting a VIP Rock Spa at London's Hard Rock Calling.

"Despite the noise, the interesting thing is that once a client sits on a massage chair or lies on the couch, they instantly switch off. Around half the clients we give massages to even fall asleep. The last event we were at, there was a sound over the PA, which was like an earthquake! Most people receiving massages didn't even notice.

"If you've been at a festival for a few hours or a few days, and want a treatment, I'd recommend a massage. A chair or couch massage, which works on the neck, back and shoulders which is where we accumulate most tension, will help refresh and relax. Even a 15-minute session will help. Another great festival treatment is a mini-manicure. A reflexology session goes down well, too."

Here are five of the best of this summer's festivals, which offer spa therapies (with a side order of mud if it rains!).

Try Wychwood festival at Cheltenham racecourse (30th May-1st June) to experience a range of therapies, including Sound Therapy, which uses a mix of Tibetan and crystal singing bowls to "bring the body and the mind back into harmony" and more traditional massages, too. This all takes place in the festival's own "Healing Gardens".

If you're a reluctant festival goer (ick, all that mud!) then give, ahem, glamping a whirl (yup, glam camping) at the Cornbury Festival, aka "Poshstock" which is held in Oxfordshire (3-4 July). Along with lashings of Pimms, they also have a ritzy holistic area with a range of different therapies.

T in the Park at Balado Kinross-shire, Scotland (9-11 July) is offering a Healthy T-area with low-cost treatments from £10-£30 in a "Heavenly Sanctuary". Therapies range from reflexology to shiatsu.

If world music is your thing, then WOMAD at Malmesbury in Wiltshire (23-25 July) is the place to be with its very own luxurious spa in a garden. A step above most other festival spas, this spa has a sauna, hot tubs and even treatment rooms! The emphasis seems to be on re-tox, rather than de-tox with an in-spa coffee and cocktail bar...

Welsh festival fans are well-catered for at the eco-friendly Green Man festival, near Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons (20-22 August). They are offering a Nature and Nurture massage area, which aims to be a place of relaxation and retreat.