By Kate Casey – Collegiate Staff
As the summer season approaches, it is welcomed with open arms by hundreds of music festivals all over the country. It doesn’t matter what coast is nearest to you they are all one in the same, an immense gathering of people collectively joined by a love of music. Whether you are alumni and have seven years of experience under your belt, or this being the first of many, there are necessities you should never overlook once stepping foot onto festival grounds.
The most important thing to bring is water
From dirt path to concrete sidewalks, you will need to stay hydrated constantly. It doesn’t take long before the heat begins to dehydrate you and you find yourself enjoying soft melodies at the medic tent.
You don’t have to invest in a fancy specialty hiking backpack, but you can find 1-2 liter bags complete with easy access straws for a minimum cost at most superstores such as Wal-Mart or Meijer. Brands such as High Sierra and Lake & Trail are available for half the cost of the notorious CamelBak that sell for $50-$100. At larger scale festivals there is a constant supply of precious H2O at multiple water fountains and even “filling stations” where attendants happily fill any container you have with water. Say “hi” to these volunteers, they will most likely supply a soliloquy of entertainment for the short time you stand there. Don’t be intimidated by the long lines, if sufficient water pressure is present then you won’t be waiting very long.
Sure, you want to achieve that sun-kissed glow as you frolic between stages, however the sun will indubitably be radiating scornful heat that no one can avoid. Even if your result is some god-awful tan lines from your body paint, at least you can avoid the potentially uncomfortable exposure for the remainder of your time outside.
Obtain a map/schedule if your venue has one available
Everyone will be just as confused as you are and this will be your most useful tool as you navigate throughout the day. If you find yourself at a festival with multiple stages this useful pocket guide can lead you to a stage that may have remained hidden, or the necessary filling station. Locate food and beverages nearest you as well as exit strategies.
Be as prepared as possible
Know your itinerary backwards. Make checklists of reservations, bus tickets, whatever it may be; things have the possibility of changing at a pin drop. At festivals where camping is necessary lines to gain entry to festival grounds have the potential to last for hours on end. Leave time for mistakes happening. So what if you can’t check in for another hour? At least you beat traffic.
Establish a rendezvous point
It is a guarantee you as well as hundreds of others are attempting to use their cell phone at the same time in the same space, resulting in high traffic along cellular towers. You are better off choosing structures to reconvene at an agreed upon time.
Your phone will be nearly useless at a festival, switch it over to airplane mode and save your phone from dying prematurely.
Capturing your memories
Mobile devices will do more than suffice when it comes to saving multiple photos or even a live recording of your favorite song. Depending on the festival you chose to attend they may have a strict policy when it comes to recording equipment. Leave your amateur photography equipment at home; it will likely be confiscated before you can even change the lens. Consider disposable cameras (they are not dead), there’s an alluring mystery to not knowing what’s inside.
Do not underestimate the amount of sleep you need
Rest your body, it deserves it. Your stamina will inevitably wear thin and you will not want to sleep in well past your alarm and miss out on that band you’ve been gearing up for since day one. No one wants to be around someone who just started to behave like they belong in a Snickers ad, so put the cranky hat away and trade it for some well deserved z’s. There’s no shame in missing out on that drink after the show and stripping away the glitter to get a good night’s rest whether it be for a friends couch or forest floor.
You will form some of the greatest memories of your lifetime during festival days, some even life-changing, so accept all of the downfalls of scheduling conflicts, clear your mind of work, leave it at home for a reason. Let go of cynicism because beside you at a festival are the most beautiful beings you will ever meet. Nothing matters when you’re dancing into the night with others just like yourself.
In the midst of remembering all of this advice, don’t forget to lose yourself in the music.