Music festivals are a millennial’s bread and butter, and just one long weekend will supply enough TBTs to annoy even the most forgiving of followers. There is truly no better way to spend three consecutive days than wandering between stages as you hunt for celebs and snap pics of your Coachella-curated outfit, but if you’re a festival novice, things can go south if you arrive unprepared. A game plan is vital whether you’re the day-pass-at-Lollapalooza type or the friend who would rather camp at Bonnaroo. As seasoned veterans—or at least casual festival-goers—here are our tips for a successful festival-filled Spring.
Always Have a Place to Shower
Some festivals are more than happy to shuttle attendees in from their hipster-chic AirBNB a few miles away but others prefer to release the masses into a field, toss them a tent, and plead the fifth when anyone asks questions like, “is this safe?” Or “do I need a Tetanus shot?” Full disclosure, I’m not a big camping girl. Camping is good for one thing only—s’mores—and without the promise of snacks what’s the point? You won’t find me pitching a tent in Manchester, Tennessee anytime soon, but for music lovers who are willing to sacrifice comfort for a glimpse of their favorite band there’s just one secret to success: find a shower station and use it. This isn’t just for the benefit of whichever stranger is standing next to you at Alt-J, though they’re probably thankful too. You’ll feel a thousand times better after showering off the dust and sweat that comes with outdoor concerts, and you’re much more likely to convince the tall guy behind you to put you on his shoulders if you aren’t wearing Friday’s makeup on Sunday. If not, good luck explaining that eye infection at work.
Know Your Audience
Not all festivals are the same, and sussing out the vibe is key to nailing your look. Your post-apocalypse Burning Man gear won’t go over well with the more relaxed crowds at SXSW, and a simple pair of jeans will stick out like a sore thumb at EDC. Insta is your best friend for researching festival style—just search last year’s hashtag and scroll through the hundreds of posts captioned ‘Coachillin!’ After you’ve picked out the perfect outfit and visions of backstage passes are dancing in your head, make sure to break in those new boots you just HAD to have for day two. Hell hath no fury like a woman blistered.
When it comes to all-day festivals, one saying comes to mind: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’ll be tempting to double up at whichever pregame festivities you decide to crash, but don’t let a rookie mistake bench you before you set foot at your first show. Sure, those four drinks you chugged over a kitchen sink might save you money inside the festival, but when you try to climb on security’s golf cart and end up in zip-ties, you’ll regret the day you learned the word ‘vodka.’
Never Go In Too Early
Your ticket might say that doors open at 1:00, but that doesn’t mean you should be the first to arrive. Remember in high school when showing up on time was social suicide? Same rules apply. Festivals are designed to flow from less popular performers to headlining acts throughout the day, so unless your boyfriend’s band is “making it big this year” with an afternoon slot, there’s no reason to show up before five. If you attempt to do the whole day you’ll end up hungry, sweaty, and calling an Uber before the sun has even set—and the girl who misses Beyonce because of her swollen feet is not the girl you want to be.