Music Festivals 101

This past weekend, I attended my 6th ever music festival. As a somewhat seasoned veteran of the festival scene, I thought that maybe I could give a few tips to those attending their first music festival.

1. Bring Sunscreen.
– I cannot stress this enough. Even if it is supposed to be cloudy on the day of the festival, bring sunscreen. It is still possible to get a sunburn with cloudy skies. Lather on sunscreen before you leave for the venue and every 2 or so hours after that. There is nothing worse than being miserably sunburned after a festival. Keep in mind, some venues are very specific about what goes through the gates. Most venues do not allow aerosol cans, so check the venues website before bringing spray sunscreen or pack sunscreen lotion just to be safe.

2. Bring a lightweight bag.
– I always end up leaving a festival with 2X more than what I came with. Don’t get stuck carrying a bunch of stuff in your arms. Bring a lightweight bag (drawstring bag-if you have one) to carry sunglasses, merchandise, sunscreen, and whatever free stuff you pick up along the way.

3. Check the venues website for allowed items.
– Like I said with #1, check the venue’s website beforehand to see what is allowed at the venue. Every venue is different, so refer to the venue’s website before packing anything.

4. Prepare to wait in line.
– Lines are inevitable at music festivals. You’ll have to wait in line to get in to the venue, to buy soda, to buy merchandise, for autographs, and even to use the bathroom. Be patient. Also, do not wait last minute before getting in line for the bathroom. As soon as you feel the urge to go, you better hop in line!

5. Get to the venue early.
– To get better seats for the first band, arrive at the venue at least an hour early. When waiting in line, have your bag open and ready to be searched by the venue’s security. To save time for yourself and the people behind you, remove all items from your pockets and place them on top of your bag for a faster search. Bring a lightweight backpack with few pockets, to save even more time.

6. Be respectful.
– This one should go without saying. You will be surrounded by many people all day. Leave the offensive shirts at home, be careful of what you say, and act appropriately. There will most likely be children at the same music festival as you, be kind.

7. Drink water.
– You will be tempted to purchase soda, juice, and even alcohol at the venue. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Beverages high in sugar and alcohol content will dehydrate you and may lead to heat exhaustion.

8. Take note of the first-aid facilities.
– You never know if you or someone around you will need assistance. Almost every festival has some sort of first-aid tent, booth, or table. Locate the first-aid facility as soon as you walk through the gate.

9. Dress appropriately for the weather.
– Check out the local radar before dressing for the day. It is never a good idea to wear skin-tight or excessive clothing. Bring a rain jacket or poncho if rain is expected. Open-toed shoes or flip-flops are also not a good idea. Someone will probably step on your feet, be prepared.

10. Have fun.
– To wrap this all up, enjoy your time spent at the festival. Don’t let bad weather or other small things ruin your day. Look out for yourself and those around you. Speak up if you are a witness to suspicious behavior. And have fun!

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