When I went to my first festival a couple years back, I was unprepared and could’ve used help. Okay, background: At my first festival, I’d fallen asleep naked in a bathtub at my hotel under a stream of cold water. My sunglasses were missing, and my eyeballs were burning up. Half of my hair was stuck into one massive dread so crazy it would’ve put the bass player of some rasta band to shame.
Since then, I’ve covered music festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, Outside Lands and many others, obtaining along the way a guide of sorts that I wish I’d had before going on that first one — I hope these tips will help make your experience more pleasant.
When it comes to shoes, comfort is essential. You may favor your cowboy boots, but do your feet a favor and tie on your tennies, instead. Same goes for you, Sister Stiletto — no spiky or platform heels, just flats and flip-flops. Actually, this applies to all clothing circumstances. You can find spirit hoods, and other costumes at sites like RaveWear.com. Just be sure to purchase about a month before to make sure they arrive on time.
Camping? Make a Plan
Maybe part of the music festivals for you will be camping out. You might not get to choose where you get to camp — so plan ahead. For instance, you could end up in the middle of an open field with no shade in site. At night, that’s no problem, but during the day the sun will beat down on your tent and turn it into a foreman rotisserie. Having the foresight to bring a ramada or a portable gazebo will shield your tent while providing shade for your little campsite. Your camp might even end up becoming the cool spot to hang, in more ways than one.
Food: Bring it or Buy It?
You might be tempted to stock a cooler with snacks when attending a multi-day music festival, but weigh the costs and hassle of that with getting food from the festival vendors. Your ice won’t last more than a day, so you’ll end up buying ice there, and many times the price of ice is more than frozen water is worth. There’ll be plenty of superb food being peddled around, so you don’t have to worry about finding something to eat. If anything, there’ll be too much. To experience the maximum amount of festival eats, everyone should order something different and eat it all like family-style dishes. You can always get seconds on your faves, but you’ll all get a taste of everything without stuffing yourself.
The Great Water Debate
With all that eating goes some drinking, and not just to wash the food down. You’ll want to stay hydrated, but should you BYOB (bring your own bottled water), or should you buy it there? Some festivals won’t allow you to bring water in, requiring that you buy at the location. Some will let you bring in empty bottles to fill and refill inside while others only allow sealed bottles to pass through the gates. It’s best to find out the rules before you hit Costco to stock up on bottled water for the music fest.
Did I mention fun? The best part of a music festival is the “festive” part. The atmosphere is teeming with it; everyone is in the party mood. Go expecting to have a great time, and then actually do it. Don’t get caught up in a schedule — just go along for the ride and go into exhaustion. You can always rest next winter.
Guest post written by: Shane Moreno