Here’s the Thing…
I am a big fan of live music. Even if I don’t know the band at all, I will still enjoy myself just because I love the energy that comes from concerts so much. I went to my first concert when I was 14 and have been tagging along with my mom to concerts ever since.
However, music festivals are a little different. They’re like extreme concerts; concerts on steroids. And people do not just casually go to music festivals; it’s like a lifestyle to them.
So imagine my surprise when I arrived at my first music festival: unprepared and not sure what to expect.
Well, three music festivals later, I am by no means an expert but there are a few things I wish I had known going into these things.
This is, by far, the most important thing to remember when going to a music festival. I have seen way too many people pass out to just brush over this one.
No matter the time of year, you need to be drinking water consistently. You’re probably going to be drinking alcohol and you will be dancing a lot and it will get hot (even in the winter). The combination of all those things is basically dooming you to pass out or get sick if you don’t stay hydrated.
The good news is, all the festivals I have gone to provide free water spouts for you to fill up your water bottle. So if you’re considering leaving your water bottle at home, don’t. Either bring a fanny pack or a backpack or give it to someone who is wearing a backpack.
Trust me: when it is 90 degrees or you are under a tent with hundreds of other people, you are going to wish you had water.
I know, I know. You’re at a music festival; you want to look cute.
You know what’s cute? Music festival pictures.
You know what’s not cute? Music festivals.
Seriously, music festivals are fun, but they are not comfortable by any means.
It is ridiculously crowded; it’s hot; everyone’s sweat is all over you; and, oh. You wanna go to the bathroom? Meet the portapotty.
You don’t have control over much when it comes to music festivals, but you do have control over what you wear. So leave the heels and dresses at home. You’ll be thanking yourself when you’re dancing to the music and your feet don’t hurt and your dress doesn’t fly up.
Have a Meeting Point
If you are going to a music festival with more than three people, it is very important that you have a meeting point. There’s a lot of people and a lot going on, and generally, phone service is really bad. So if you get separated from your group, it can be hard to find them.
The way we decided to do it at the last music festival I went to was that if we had gotten separated from the group, we would go to this certain flagpole at the hour mark. And if someone was missing from the group, everyone else would also go to the flagpole. It was an easy way to make sure the lost people would actually be found.
It’s a good idea to have a plan of action set in place before someone gets separated, that way it can be resolved quickly.
Plan Out Your Day Ahead of Time
Before you get to the venue, it is a good idea to figure who you want to see and where they are performing. At the last music festival I went to, there were two big artists performing back-to-back on different stages. I was really grateful that I knew where I was going before everyone started charging when the first show was over.
Also, keep in mind what artists are performing where. At one music festival I went to, there was a bunch of artists back-to-back on one stage, and another artist I wanted to see on a different stage. We had to make the sacrifice to stay at just one stage and miss a performance, but get to keep our good spots! I’m glad we were aware of that ahead of time so we weren’t walking back and forth between really spread out stages.
It’s also a good idea to get familiar with the venue before you arrive. That way, you aren’t trying to figure out which way to go when people start stampeding every which direction.
Prepare for High Prices
$25 for a drink? Yes. $15 for a sandwich? Also yes.
Music festivals are a lot of money, so if you want to eat, drink and be merry, you’ll have to dish out the dough.
Hey. At least they give you free water and parking. Sometimes.
So there you have it. The highly inexperienced music festival goer’s guide to surviving a music festival. And notice I said ‘survive’ and not ‘thrive.’ Because let’s be real. We’re all lucky if we get out of a music festival in one piece.
What are some ways you survive a music festival?