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Music Festival Survival 101

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, summer vacation is approaching, which means festival season is quickly approaching as well!

Have you made sure you want to go to a festival for the right reasons? If you have, then here are some quick tips to ensure that you have a fun, safe festival experience this summer:

1. WATER!!!: I felt the need to put this one first because it really is the number one thing you need an outdoor music festival. It’s summer. It’s going to get hot when you’re standing under the sun and sweating all day surrounded by equally as hot and sweaty people. Not to mention you’re walking and standing more often than not. All these factors work up a thirst, and you don’t want to pass out due to lack of hydration. Many (if not most) festivals have free water refilling stations, so make sure you have a reusable canteen of some sort – or, make an investment in a CamelBak backpack – and make frequent trips to refill your water. KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED!!

2. Make Sure You Have Your Ticket: I’ve shown up to a festival with a group of friends and at least one of them has waited in line only to discover that he or she left his or her ticket/wristband at home. Double-check that you have it on or with you when you leave.

3. Travel Light: Since you’re going to be standing and walking around all day, having a 10-pound backpack on you is only going to make you more sore. If you choose to wear a backpack or carry a bag, take only the bare minimum with you.

4. Dress For The Weather: Again, since you’re going to be in the sun all day, you’re not going to want to be wearing a whole lot of layers. But the main issue I always hear about is footwear. Cheap sandals and flip flops are definitely NOT advised. Your feet will hurt, and/or the shoes will fall apart. Wear something that will stay on your feet and won’t rub them raw, such as a tennis shoe or other shoe with laces of some sort. If you choose to wear a type of sandal, try them out beforehand to make sure that they’re not horribly uncomfortable.

5.  Take Your Time: I know going to a music festival is exciting and you’re going to want to be everywhere at once, but firstly that’s impossible; secondly, you don’t want to tire yourself out during the smaller bands during the daytime and have no energy to see the bigger bands in the evening. Sit for a little while if you can, and don’t push yourself too much if you’re feeling tired.

6. Extra Cash: It’s always a good idea to have some extra cash on you. Most festivals don’t allow you to bring in food from outside. While food can be expensive, just make sure you have some extra money in case you find yourself starving midday. Extra cash can also be used for a t-shirt, etc. if you choose to buy one, or (in a worst-case scenario) an emergency comes up where you need money. HOWEVER – don’t carry a ton of money on you, and don’t leave it somewhere on you where a person could easily steal it.

7. Home Base: Establish a meeting zone if you’re with a group. It’s easy to lose someone when you’re surrounded by thousands of other people. Plan it out beforehand to meet at a certain area, either at the end of the day or after a show some of you may or may not be attending together.

8. Keep In Touch: This rule is somewhat tied on to the previous one. Once again, it’s really easy to lose someone, so make sure to try and keep in touch somehow. Cell phone reception is often limited, or there is none at all, during music festivals. But if you do have connection, send a text to your friends every now and then if you can to let them know you’re alive.

9. Plan Ahead: Figure out what shows you want to see, when they’re playing and what stages to go to. Usually festivals have apps where you can create your own personal schedule on your phone so you have it with you at all times. Otherwise, go the old-fashioned way and grab a free paper map that you can usually grab as soon as you enter the festival. On the map, you can also find entrances/exits, medical tents, food stands, water stations, and anything else you may need. Grab one just in case.

10. Cell Phones: Most people will have a cell phone with them. It’s important that you keep it charged, in case you get lost from your friends at the end of the day and need to find them. However, do NOT be on your phone all day. You paid a lot of money to come here, and you have almost every other day of the year to be staring at your phone all day long. Check your phone every now and then, but BE at the festival.

11. Help One Another: If someone looks like he or she may pass out, ask that person “Are you okay?” and if he or she needs help or not. Festivals are all about having fun, and it’s important to help one another so everyone can enjoy the experience.  If people are lost, let them take a quick look at your map. It doesn’t take too much time to help a person out. Imagine if it were you, wouldn’t you want someone to help you out?

12. Take Care Of Yourself: You don’t want to be that person who’s not being safe (e.g. not having enough water, getting too high or drunk, etc.). The easiest way to be as safe as possible is to take care of yourself before someone else has to. Know your limits and party safely.

13. Have Fun: This is another very important thing to remember – don’t forget to have fun! These festivals only happen once a year for only a few days. You’re in your own little world now. Forget what’s happening in the real world for a little while and just let loose and make the most out of the festival as you can!

Anything else important you can think of that should be added to the list? Comment and let me know!

-Sonia

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