You’ve decided to branch out this summer and go see a few of your favorite artists with a small group of friends. All you’re focused on is the insane lineup and all the Instagram captions to come. Although these are all exciting things, there is an expansive list of what not to do at a music festival that will probably be extended each year. To optimize you’re experience it would be best to adhere to these bits from my cautionary tale. So here are our best first festival tips to save you from our mistakes!
1. Break Out Brand New Shoes
There are a variety of cute sandals available especially during the summer. You should not use a music festival as the testing ground for these sandals or any new shoes for that matter. It is best to “break in” footwear at least a week before the event this way you won’t end up with blisters after thirty minutes of the event. Do not discredit all the walking you’re going to be doing whether in the middle of the desert or a speedway. This is one of the most helpful first festival tips because no one wants to buy a pair of shoes just to ruin them.
2. Assume It Won’t Be That Hot
This is speaking as someone who frequents Southern California and yet is never truly prepared for the beaming sun. Slather on that sunscreen, take advantage of the free water stations, and be prepared to sweat. Even if you are an outdoorsy person, I don’t think anyone is truly equipped to stand unconsciously baking in crowds of people.
3. Wear Layers
No matter how appealing your outfit, it is going to cause you more hassle than relaxation. Checking in at the front gate at security will be an ordeal considering they check every layer and when your relatively light cardigan becomes uncomfortable you are going to have to tie it around your waist like those elementary school days or drag it around the rest of the day. Even if it’s a little cloudy in the morning before the event, less weight is better at musical festivals.
4. Purchase Piles of Merch
If you’re like me, you like to purchase a shirt or two from a concert as a memento. Unless you have a backpack or an incredibly considerate partner who will carry it for you, it may be best to skip merchandise at a music festival. The only item I purchased at HARD Summer 2016 was a water bottle because I knew I would use it and it wasn’t going to be a tremendous burden to carry.
5. Attempt To See Every Single Performer
It can be exhilarating to see many familiar names when a lineup is released online. What most people don’t consider is that there are many different stages, set times that are scheduled simultaneously, and mobs of people who want to see the same acts. If you don’t have a set plan of who you want to see you may end up rushing between stages only to be left with bits of songs and final applauses. Do not try to see every singer, rapper, artist at a music festival because it is not humanly possible. This is one of the most important first festival tips because it’s nearly impossible to see everyone and just causes you stress. Focus on the people you like!
6. Plan Other Outings The Same Weekend
Whether you are going for one day or tackling a 3-day event, make sure that is the only event you have planned. The walking, singing, and dancing is going to leave you completely drained. I drove to LA for HARD Summer then came back to Northern California on Sunday for a show at the Shoreline and I couldn’t completely enjoy it because I was so exhausted. No matter how ambitious you may be, it could be more beneficial to just soak in the music festival before your next workday.
7. Last Minute Meet Ups With Friends
Thanks to social media sometimes you’ll see that an unexpected friend is at the same festival as you. If you try to meet up on a whim chances are you are more likely to get lost in the crowd multiple times before you even find your friend. Plan specific places to meet up in advance this way you can enjoy shows together instead of frantically calling and texting to potentially not meet up at all.
8. Worry So Much
The pre-planning can seem like a lot but do not let that get to you at a music festival. There are some things you can control but for the unexpected mishaps, brush it off! You spent all this time and money to have a good time. Take lots of photos, sing loudly, and exist completely in the moment. These moments are precious and you deserve it! This is definitely one of the most important first festival tips! Just relax and have a good time! Isn’t that what you paid for?
May your music festival experiences be filled with joy, laughs, and a minimal sunburn if any.