When you’ve gone to as many music and art festivals as me, you develop (sometimes unconventional) tricks to make sure you’re always prepared regardless of weather, cell phone networks or lack of decent food. This way you and all your festival friends will have a good time around you.
- Check to see if there’s in/out privileges for the festival site. Normally this will be on the ticket-stub itself and/or on the receipt if it was an online purchase. The last thing you want to do is to go retrieve a friend and not be able to get back in after spending so much.
- Be prepared that wifi and cell phone networks may be jammed. Most festivals nowadays are sponsored by mobile companies with charging stations but even then, it’s a great idea to conserve your battery on “airplane mode”- this way it turns off sending/receiving but you can still 1. Take photos and videos, 2. Check time and the festival app
- Set a meeting point. Message friends in advance of a meeting point. If there’s a favourite band you want to see together and you know that Virgin is the title sponsor say to meet at the Virgin tent (tee-hee) or at the Merch booth.
- Wear a bright colour. Don’t be an idiot with a dancing flamingo pole up front. It’s easy to spot a friend in a yellow band tshirt. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
- My rule of thumb is I always pack a scarf I don’t care too much about getting dirty. It can become a cover up, a blanket for friends to sit on and a towel for when you’re soaked or just need to wipe off dirt. Even if they’re not fashionistas guys can do this too with a bandana even.
- Festivals are expensive. Bring cash for that $9 hotdog. Don’t wait in line at an ATM. You’re going to want to buy that extra beer when the beer gal goes by, so don’t miss a cool band by pretending to be frugal. You’ll want that cool band tshirt too after a few.
- Check the weather network to the exact hour. It seems like a given but Canadian festivals are unpredictable. If you know you’re going to be by water, it’ll be windy.
- If it’s going to rain, don’t wear flip flops unless you want to slip in mud. In fact on rainy days, boots with grip are your friend. Pack a raincoat even if it’s dorky. When the rain starts to pour, you’ll be so happy to be dry and comfy.
- Stash some hand sanitizer in your purse or clip it onto your keychain, gentlemen. Your immune system will thank you on Day 3 when you’ve avoided a festival cold.
- If you’re traveling to a festival site, leave your car at home if you can. Public transportation regardless of city when they know thousands of concert goers will be headed the same way are usually contacted way in advance to be able to accommodate numbers. This goes for Greyhound and training to the festival if you’re from another city. (I’ve definitely wound up on the “party bus” a.k.a. Greyhound to Osheaga before. Train is a less-rowdy option.)
- Ladies: bring a cross-over side bag you can throw a snack and water bottle into. This way it can still be close while you’re crushed up front to see your fav band but your belongings are still safe. Guys: pockets that don’t have holes and can possible fit a snack (I’m talking to you skin-tight jeans wearers!)
- For that matter- don’t bring expensive or important things to a festival. There’s a hilarious lost and found post here on what people lost at Coachella. (Here’s a hint: car keys were the most popular item but all phones were recovered.)
- If it says don’t bring your DSLR camera, don’t. You can probably junk a go-pro in your pants, however huge lenses if you’re an amateur is a waste of everyone’s time. Pay the extra money and see that band in a small club show where you don’t have 30 feet between you and the stage even at the security barrier.
- If you’re gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, make sure to do some research in advance of getting to the festival site. Don’t just eat French fries.
- Pack snacks. I once got stuck in a festival parking lot trying to leave for over 3 hours after being on site for over 10. We were starving and DUMB. Don’t get hangry. Granola bars are your friends.
- The basics like sunscreen, hats, and water are a given. Don’t be the person that passes out from sunstroke. If you’re feeling weak, seek shade.
- One of my ultimate secrets to hydration is to eat popsicles. They’re not super healthy but this way you’re not in the queue for the portapotty the whole time. They’re also way cheaper than any other food on site most of the time. If you spent the last of your money on a scalped ticket and only have $5 for the rest of the day, this tip will SAVE you. Another less classy option: flirt with the loud Europeans that have flown in for the fest and free drinks will flow.
and most importantly…