Summer is almost here which means music festival season is in full swing. We can look forward to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival April 15 – May 4. Hangout Music Festival will be held May 16 – 18 on the beaches of Gulf Shores, Ala. And the 13th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will return to Manchester, Tenn., from June 12 – 15. That is just to name a few.
These festivals can be a ton of fun if you go about it the right way. There are certain unwritten rules of conduct and plenty of tips and tricks that can help you along the way. Here is how to have a blast and not be “that guy.”
Do wear comfortable clothes, since you will probably be in them for a while. Considering you will be in the midst of hundreds of dancing people it might get a little warm, so go for shorts and a tank top or t-shirt.
Don’t wear flats. They will get ruined in impromptu moshpits. Don’t wear rompers. Buzzfeed has a good point when it says getting naked in a port-a-potty is not something you want to do.
Tip: Bring a backpack with one change of clothes, especially socks. Wet socks are the worst. Also, make sure to bring at least a light jacket. When the sun goes down it may get a little chilly.
Don’t be the guy jumping around in the crowd with a massive backpack. During Voodoo Fest 2010, I got stuck dancing next to a girl that was wearing 4-foot wide fairy wings. People like that ruin the fun for others.
Do talk to the people around you and make new friends. The memories you will cherish about an event like this are the people you enjoyed it with.
Do say, “excuse me.” It usually works.
Don’t shove your way through the crowds. And don’t be what gigwise.com dubs as the human centipede of rudeness by linking arms with your buds and forcing your way through the masses.
Tip: call for your missing friend and people will let you by, even if you aren’t really looking for someone.
Do bring “money to buy band merchandise, an ID, a cellphone and if you’re worried about your safety maybe some pepper spray,” said psychology major Laura Rogers.
Don’t bring expensive electronics, they are bound to be stolen or lost in the midst of a few intense days.
Consider a first aid kit to include basic necessities: bandaids, aspirin, tampons, sunblock, disinfectant and baby wipes and dry shampoo so you can feel clean even if you aren’t.
Clever extras: a roll of toilet paper because the port-a-potties run out quickly, a reusable water bottle because festival beverages are severely overpriced, a disposable camera and an LED light keychain – good for finding your money or that toilet paper after dark.
Don’t buy souvenirs on day one. You don’t want to overspend and go hungry in the end, and you won’t want to carry them around the whole time.
Do find out when the vendors close on the last day and purchase them then.
Tip: Wear a money belt. You can keep it tucked under your clothes and don’t have to worry about losing your money or having it stolen.
Do eat, sleep and drink. Even if you’re under the impression that you have the energy to run wild for three days straight, you don’t.
Don’t drink too much alcohol. Know when you’ve had enough. You don’t want to miss your favorite band on account of a hangover.
Tip: Don’t be a jerk. You want to be able to actually enjoy yourself. Rogers had an encounter with an overly intoxicated fellow during a Jack White performance. He fell into her and proceeded to attempt to fight her. “I think it’s cool to have a good time,” Laura said. “But you should be able to perform basic functions, such as standing.”
Do prepare! Know the festival. Buy tickets early to get good deals. Know the rules of the festival. It is definitely helpful to know about no glass, no outside food or drink and no pet policies. You don’t want to end up standing outside by yourself with Fido.
On the other hand, “There are no real do’s and don’ts,” says Natalie Perry, one of USM’s Stage Monkeys, “because everyone’s experience is going to be different. Be sure to stay hydrated and bring friends that’ll have your back.”