9 Tips to Make This Music Festival SZN the Best One Yet
Music festivals—it’s a time when the masses congregate in the coolest parks, scenic beaches, and hippest metro areas to witness the hottest acts of the year. Besides boasting enviable lineups and drawing in interesting crowds from all over, they often promise additional attractions that make them hard to miss. However, it’s not all rainbows and flawless Instagram pics.
It’s easy to feed into the excitement only to be blindsided by problems down the road, some of which could have been easily avoided. Putting a little thought beforehand not only gives you some control over those common pitfalls, but it also allows you to focus on what’s really important—which is having the time of your life! Here’s a list of tips on how to avoid festival mishaps and have the best experience ever.
1. Follow the Rules
Depending on popularity, music festival attendance can be in the hundreds and even thousands. With so many aspects of the festival already outside of their control—like the weather—the security team works really hard to enforce rules that will keep everyone safe. This can include what items are allowed (and not allowed) to bring in and their exit and re-entry policy. Brushing up on their terms can save you a lot of time and a headache, especially when checking in for the first time. It would be pretty disappointing if your favorite knapsack had to be confiscated because it was too big.
2. Communication is KEY
Whether you're traveling with just one companion or a full-on posse, keeping the lines of communication open is super important. It is likely that there will be conflicting needs and desires at some point which will cause a party to split up at times. Just be sure to talk out details with your crew so you’re all on the same page. Having an agreed upon time-frame and an easily recognizable landmark (especially if you’re cellphone-less) is helpful. It’s also good to have an additional plan in place in case of an emergency (eg. meeting back at the hotel if there’s a severe storm and you’ve been separated).
3. Listen to Your Body
Having a festival ticket is something that keeps us going when the boss asks you to come in on a Saturday or when you're crawling to the end of a semester at school. So when the time finally arrives it would be hard NOT to jump in full steam ahead and play hard when you've worked so, so hard—especially when there's so much to see.
Yet, as comforting it is to have medical tents on site, making a personal trip is definitely less than ideal. A lot of festivals have really stepped up over the years by providing accessible water stations and cool food truck options (foodies rejoice!) to keep patrons happy and healthy. The sun might be your contour’s best friend but will eventually it can take its toll on your body when you’ve been outside for long periods of time. Make sure to slap on that sunscreen and to keep yourself hydrated. Everyone's body is different, so it’s important to prioritize your wellbeing so that you can enjoy yourself as much as possible.
4. Suit Up
A few years back from Brooklyn's AfroPunk, I had decided to wear a pair of beautiful tie-waist wrap pants with a matching crop top. Cute? Yes. Until I had to use a Porta-Potty around nightfall. I had to remove them with the proficiency of a heart surgeon to prevent them from falling on the floor or worse—in the toilet. Never again.
That being said, when it comes to festival-ready fashion, you don't have to compromise your personal style for comfort. Want to wear those cute high-waist denim shorts in the summer heat? Wear lace-edged Spanx to prevent chafing. Getting Met Gala vibes but there's a chance of inclement weather? There are tons of trendy raincoats that are lightweight, but get the job done. Basically, research, research, research so that your clothes work with and not against you. Smart and stylish? Yup!
5. Bring the Essentials
That could mean lip balm, hand sanitizer, wipes, earplugs, sunscreen, sunglasses—whatever items that will keep you comfortable and happy. The merch tent may have these items readily available, but just at a higher cost. By making a list and gathering your essentials beforehand, you will have more time to hang out with your friends and listen to your favorite bands instead of embarking on a scavenger hunt for a tampon. Plus, if any of your friends forget, you instantly become a superheroine. Win!
6. Have A Plan
Unless you have a patent for a time machine, your best bet is to look at the provided map and schedule and decide ahead of time what you want to see and compromise when it's necessary. Figure out your "non-negotiables" and be realistic about time-frames. It's not uncommon that the time slots for two or more acts you love will be very close to each other or even run simultaneously. If you know you want to see a band so close that you can see up the lead singer's nostrils, just know that you may have to leave the previous set a wee bit early to beat the crowds.
7. Think about Those Accommodations
There are definitely some moments to “wing it” (raising your hand if you just had to sing that new Ariana Grande song at karaoke). If you’re coming from out of town and/or don’t have an open invite to crash the couch of a trustworthy connection, trying to find lodging last minute can be very stressful. As soon as you have an inkling of attending a certain music festival, check out their accommodations page for guidance. Is there a campsite or suggested list of nearby hotels? Are there a lot of options for Airbnbs? If places inside the city are pretty booked, you may be able to stay in a neighboring town and make a small commute.
8. And Your Travel Plans
Whether it’s hopping on a plane or making it a road trip, pick a mode of traveling that works best for you. There are definitely pros and cons no matter what you choose. Make sure to have a budget and communicate any shared costs upfront. Also, create a travel itinerary that is realistic and works well with other aspects of your festival trip. If you’re driving, make sure to give yourself time—especially if you want to do some sightseeing along the way. If you’re flying, pay attention to the arriving and departing flights—it’s always good to have the festival schedule handy to make sure that you don’t miss any shows that you want to see.
9. Have Fun!
It’s the reason why you’re going, right? Even if you’re well prepared, the best-laid plans may not pan out exactly the way you want. No sweat! Every festival brings can bring its own set of challenges—take those are learning points (because hopefully, this won’t be your last experience). Each music festival is a unique experience and one that can be treasured for a lifetime. Dance a little, sing your heart out, take some selfies, and—most importantly, enjoy the moment!
How are you getting prepared for music festival SZN?