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Day 12: Cannes Lions dos and don'ts

As Cannes Lions looms on the horizon, we offer some friendly advice to first-timers. These dos and don'ts will make or break your festival (and possibly your career).

Day 12: Cannes Lions dos and don'ts

The Cannes Festival of Creativity breaks its own mould every year – getting bigger and better and going on for longer, especially with the addition of Cannes Health the week before. Most people go for around five days – which some would say is enough for anyone. If it’s your first time attending, it can be a bit daunting – so in order to help you navigate this hotchpotch of creativity and the myriad of parties, we’ve come up with a few dos and don’ts to keep you on the straight and narrow.

DO Register early

It’s worth getting out of bed and being there before the doors open; attendance for the festival is in the thousands. If you stroll in mid-morning, chances are you’ll be waiting in an endless line to try and get your pass – meaning you may miss out on key sessions in the process. The entrance doesn’t have brilliant air conditioning either, so take a bottle of water to keep you hydrated if you do have to stand in a queue. The same goes for the popular sessions – be there early, as theatres fill up quickly.

DO Accept any and all party invitations

Once you are on ‘the list’ you can always change your mind, but getting into parties is a nightmare if you haven’t RSVP’d. Most are a good opportunity to network with your peers and those in more senior positions. Everyone is in a jovial mood, obviously helped by the free-flowing rosé. And remember to take plenty of business cards – you don’t want to be scrabbling around for a bit of paper when you meet your dream contact.

DO take time out

You don’t want to burn out – and you’re on the seafront, so what better way to wash away the cobwebs than a dip in the Med? You might be lucky enough to have access to a private bit of beach – most of the waterfront along the Croissette is owned by the big hotels – but if you don’t, there are a few tiny public areas. Go early in the morning or at the end of a long day; it’s deliciously warm and for a few seconds you can leave the madness behind and pretend you are in fact on holiday.

DON’T wear uncomfortable shoes.

Go native and slip into some nice sandals or deck shoes. Heels really are not the thing for traipsing up and down the main drag in the blazing sunshine. You will be walking a lot; this is part of the deal at Cannes. You might even have to run if you are late, so think sensible shoes and smart but casual clothing that will keep you cool. Cotton or linen is much better than leather.

DON’T party (too) hard

Don’t get distracted by the parties – Cannes is hard work. Overdo it on the first night and you’ll be scuppered for the rest of the week – so pace yourself, and don’t be ashamed to grab an early night. Don’t end up in the Gutter Bar; it’s the place most people lurch into and out of in the very early hours of the morning and it’s never a good idea. Some might dispute this, saying it’s part of the Cannes experience, but it’s one you may want to forego.

DON’T get caught…

It goes without saying, really. But some people are tempted to do the daftest things; last year, a couple were caught on camera… on a deserted red carpet outside the Palais. Naturally, it was all over social media – and the talk of the festival. Think of your career and your pride. Please don’t let it be you.

"Palais des Festivals, Cannes" by Digitas Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0


We're counting down the days until the Cannes Lions kick off – and we've got something new for you every day until the festival starts. Check back here daily for articles and insights – or just something to stoke your anticipation for the big event.

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