You may not think you need a music festival survival guide, but you will thank me later.
Choose Festivals Near and Far
I have a goal of seeing new music festivals each year across the country and internationally. See part 1 of this series How to Choose a Music Festival.
Be sure to purchase festival tickets early and often however, if you aren’t on my work/travel schedule, be picky. They can get spendy, especially if you are looking at going single day versus multi day tickets.
Planning What to Bring
Try to avoid bringing large bags since they are a pain, have to be searched and difficult all around. If you are going with friends, plan who brings what so you aren’t duplicative. See the packing list below for some items you should definitely bring.
- lip stuff with spf
- ear plugs
- sweatshirt or flannel
- hand sanitizer
- wet wipes
- blanket (not cloth because it will get soaked and dirty)
- cell phone charger *Helpful hint, put your cell phone on airplane mode during artists to preserve battery life
- misting fan for super hot temperatures
- poncho if there’s a chance for rain
Activating wrist bands and connecting credit card
Many of the festivals use a wrist band as your ticket into the festival. Once you receive your wristband, be sure to register your wristband before the festival weekend begins, as the cashless entrance benefits take 24 hours to activate on your wristband. You will love being free of your credit card and cash.
Travel To and From the Festival
You have a few options, Lyft, Driving your own car/car rental, but there are some things to take into consideration such as how long it will take to get out of the parking area. Personally I found it’s great to have Lyft drop you off, and then when it’s time to pick up, walk a quarter mile up the road and have Lyft pick you up. Super quick and easy!
Plan out the artists you want to see and what stages they are playing at, but be flexible for hearing awesome new music. That’s half the fun.
When You First Arrive
Scope out where the stages, food, drinks, bathrooms, emergency tent and festival merchandise. Don’t be a lemming. There are usually multiple stations for water, entrances and exits. Pick a meet up spot in case you get separated or lost since cell phone coverage can be spotty with everyone there.
Buy the merch you want the first day since a lot sells out the first day!
The best sound is usually halfway from the stage and dead center, so scope out where you want to be and plan accordingly.
Don’t leave your blanket and expect your spot to be there or have a really amazing friend willing to stay put while the ADD friend runs across the festival grounds to hear another band on her list.
Eat All the Food!
Festival food is amazing and you want to try them all however, share food to lower cost. Stay away from experimental foods as you don’t want to have to run to a porta-potty in the 85-100+ degree weather.
Here’s a helpful hint…drink LOTS of water, and at all the festivals I’ve been to it’s been free. You can bring in your own container or buy one. As tempting as it is, stay away from alcohol as its crazy expensive and it will dehydrate you. If you must drink, for every drink you buy drink a couple glasses of water.
Dress in light layers as temps often dramatically drop at night unless you know you can handle a massive temp swing. Do yourself a favor and don’t wear leather or heels. It may be cute and the celebrities to it, however we aren’t all in air conditioned VIP being carted around to each stage.
Take pictures and videos for memories, but if you are on your phone so much you aren’t actually taking in the show, do yourself a favor and put the technology down!
Plan according. There are several throughout festivals. Don’t use the one by the stage and make sure you allot at least 15-20 mins before the show.
Tall people, be aware of your height as there are several vertically challenged people such as myself trying to look around you.
Excuse me, please and thank you go far in a crowd.
Make friends around you as you never know who you meet and it’s fun to make new friends!
Don’t be afraid to dance and sing. Be aware of moshing and if it’s not your thing then don’t be in the very front. Pick your viewing spot carefully. If you want to sit down be on the outskirts or further back.
When the Day is Over
Leaving, pack your patience. Everyone is trying to leave just like you. Festivals are getting better at planning, and exiting has been getting faster, but just know it may take you awhile to exit.
I hope this survival guide helps you prepare for and enjoy your music festival. I would love to hear what festivals you have been to and which ones are your favorite.
Thanks for reading!
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