Whether it’s wine tasting at Bottle Rock, jamming at Bonnaroo, living large at Lollapalooza or burning it up at Flipside, your festival experience should be filled with amazing memories, not constant concern.
No matter if you’re a Festival pro or ready to rave to your first ever, how you plan can make all the difference. Before you get your posse in place, have a read through our checklist made from pros for tips on getting the most out of your day, weekend or longer.
1 – Whether the Weather be fair
If there’s one constant about Festivals, it’s that Weather can be a fickle beast. Sure, the App tells you it’s all sunny days ahead…uh-huh, been there, done that. A lightweight poncho that stashes in your pack takes a second to pack, and might just save you from that downpour-that-came-outta-nowhere. Conversely, just because it’s overcast doesn’t mean it won’t be hot, nor will those clouds save you from the worst potential sunburn of your life. Here’s a few easy packing ponchos that’ll keep you dry
2 – Play Dress up at Home
Consider this your perfect excuse for trying on all those cute Festival outfits ahead of time. Put each outfit on, including accessories, and give them a good 360 in front of a full length mirror. Don’t just stand there, move around in them, sit in a nearby chair, and then sit on the floor (yes, you heard us). You’ll most likely be sitting on the ground at some point, so you might as well make sure nothing tugs or feels uncomfortable because if it bothers you now, it’ll drive you crazy after a few hours. Here’s a few great easy pieces that are stylish and comfortable in the heat
3 – Where you lay your head is home
At some point you’re going to need to sleep. Make sure you and your friends have a plan in place. Some Festival tickets come with a hotel deal, which is great because the venue has already done the heavy lifting for you and booked places with easy access to and from the Festival. If you’re camping, make sure to get your shuttle pass ahead of time. If you’re anywhere too far to walk and are thinking about driving – don’t. Not unless you have a designated driver. Better to Uber, Lyft or even taxi then risk your life and others. We cannot stress this enough…don’t…do…it.
If you’re camping, make sure to set things up soon as you arrive. Introduce yourself to your neighbors so you know who’s coming and going near your site. Festival pros also recommend putting up a balloon or flag above your tent so you can see it from afar. Set up some lights ahead of time so you’re not stumbling around when you get back, and most important – don’t leave anything in your tent you wouldn’t want stolen. We all like to think the best of folks, and sure it would be a bummer if someone ransacked your tent and took your post-Festival libations, power bars and toiletries. But for anything else (portable speakers, jewelry you’re not wearing that day, etc) lock that in your glove box or better yet your trunk.
4 – Download the Festival App
Even if you’ve been to the venue a hundred times, every year is going to be a little different (otherwise where’s the fun, right?). The App will give you the latest map of the grounds, who’s playing when and where and will also text you alerts if anything changes (think rain delays or lineup switch ups). It usually also will include a do & don’t list which is extremely helpful so you know what you can and cannot bring on Festival grounds.
5 – Make up your Mind ahead of Time
Skip the drama this time and settle on a list of who you want to see. If your friends are dying to see someone but you’re feeling more ‘meh’? There’s no reason you can’t split off to see your favs. If at all possible, use the buddy system (surely at least one of your buds is as interested in the same artists as you). Either way, plan it out ahead of time before heading to the Festival and make sure you agree on group meet up points throughout the day. If your band is going into overtime, text your besties to let them know you might be late hooking up with them. You wouldn’t want to worry about your friends, so don’t make them worry about you.
6 – Don’t kill your Sole
On the list after dehydration, improper application of sunscreen and poor choices of inebriation – bad shoe choices can ruin you for the whole Festival. No matter how adorbs those platforms or heels may be, remember you are going to be on your feet all day (or all weekend), and getting your dance on. Best scenario is to go for comfort and weather resistance. Think that’ll cramp your style? No way! Here are some great finds sure to give you happy feet
7 – Invest in a good backpack
If you’re going super light, a fanny pack could serve you okay. But really, when you tally up things like your poncho (remember that?), sunglasses, fun glasses (for after dark), TP (or tissues), chapstick, hand sanitizer, wallet, phone, phone charger (yes, you should absolutely bring this or risk losing contact with friends and/or missing out on gramming all your antics, and/or calling that Uber) –whew- that list gets long fast! A small to medium-sized backpack will fit all those things plus give you room to stash your merch, some snacks, your hair tie, sunscreen (go with a spray, preferably SPF 45 min) and many come with straps so you can attach a small rolled towel or blanket (no grass stains on you!). Bonus, if allowed, bring a Camelback and fill it up with water once you get into the Festival. Free H2O and one less thing in your hand. Here’s a few we recommend
8 – Drink Water!!
Even if you’re not planning on imbibing anything alcoholic, you’re going to get hot, and you’re going to get sweaty. You may not even realize you’re thirsty until you hit the passing out stage. No one wants that. Most Festivals offer free water refill stations. Take advantage of that between band breaks. Try and follow the 1:1 rule if you’re hitting the cocktail station or the beer garden. When you’re winding down back at your hotel or your campsite, chug a good 8 ounces before continuing the party. Smart Festival fans know it’s good to think pre-emptively, so stash your room or tent with some coconut water, Gatorade or even Pedialyte. Your morning self will thank you.
9 – Be Nice to Others, and to Mother Nature
It’s a golden rule and it’s about respect. Clean up after yourself by recycling and throwing away your trash. Nobody likes a messy roommate so take the high road here and be kind to your friends and mother earth. Being kind should also extend to your neighbors and the event staff. Treat others as you would have them treat you and you’re sure to avoid any unnecessary drama.
10 – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff & Enjoy the Moment!
Festivals are all about music and positive vibes. Not everything will go according to plan but don’t let that bring you down. Create your own moment, try something new, dance with your fellow Festival goers with abandon. These are the times that make forever memories, so be safe, but get yourself out there and have a great time!