Friday, June 27, 2014

6 Easy Tips for Surviving Your Next Outdoor Music Festival

Because you don’t want to be this guy.

Source: Flickr

My first time attending a three day outdoor music festival I went alone, slept in my car, and almost had a run in with the police.

Let me back up a bit.

Once I had freshly graduated college, I moved to Austin to work as Production Assistant.  That did not work out as planned but I did get introduced to the outdoor festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival. 

The first two times I went, I went for one day only.

My first year to brave (and afford) all three days, I had moved back to Dallas (where the jobs are).

Thus I packed up some supplies and drove south to Austin.  My plans to stay at uncles’ house overnight were quickly dashed as well as my backup plan to crash on the floor of my cousin’s apartment.

No matter – I would just sleep in my car.  The way drug dealers, the homeless, and/or truckers sometimes do.

You don't know discomfort until you've slept in your car.

I survived on just a few hours a sleep per night, absolutely certain someone would alert the cops to my presence or the fear that I would pass out due to a lack of oxygen. 

Sealed windows still let air in right? Maybe I should roll down the window an inch?

A noisy party Saturday night at my old co-workers apartment, lead to the cops knocking on the front door.  Which wasn’t a big deal, except we had several underage drinkers and a few pot smokers perched on the balcony.  Everyone froze until the cops left.  Crisis averted.

Since those crazy days of my youth, I have learned some useful tips for the average outdoor music festival goer.   Some a mixture of common sense, and other methods more tried and true. 

I now present – 6 Easy Tips for Surviving Your Next Outdoor Music Festival!

YAAS! Let's Do This!

Tip #1 – Don’t Bring Your New Sandals

Look ladies, I know there are several cute sandal options out there.  You may be totally tempted to wear them brand spanking new to the music fest and wow everyone with your on point fashion sense.


Those girls that do?  They are plastering themselves with Band-Aids by end of Day One.  Most times the distance between parking and the festival gates are usually a few miles away.  You’ll be soooo excited to get there in a hurry, your new sandals will already be rubbing raw spots on your feet.
You can bring the sandals with you in a backpack to throw on once you enter the festival but towards the end of the night, you’ll either be covered in mud, or dirt or spilled beer.  Your cute sandals deserve better.

Tip # 2 – Come Prepared

Plan on bringing a poncho, a bandana and some hand sanitizer.  Each work wonders.  The porta potties will inevitably of supplies to wash your hand with. 

Also depending on the weather, which can vary wildly in Texas, you may be faced with drenching rains or hot dry heat that can turn the festival grounds into the post-apocalyptic setting of the Mad Max/ Road Warrior movies.

Trash bags work as ponchos too.....mmmyes, that's me!

Tip # 3 - Locate the Free Drinking Water Stations

Most festivals provide free drinking water stations, in which you can fill up at no charge.  At first, most people typically pass right on by but by Day Three, there is line of festival goers waiting up to 50 minutes and totally missing the whole Tune-Yards set just to get some dang water that doesn’t cost $7 a bottle.
Locate the stations early and strategically swoop in at opportune times to ensure you have an adequate water supply.

Tip # 4 – Locate Some Shade

Standing in the sun, watching Matt and Kim tear it up, is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  Standing in the sun after 4 hours straight is literally torture.  Regardless of which band is currently playing.  Make sure you find some shade and take a rest.  Even if you can’t see the band, you can still hear them and in your chillaxed pose can actually enjoy the music for what it’s worth.

This year I didn’t actually see the band Kongos perform, but I heard them live while stitting under a tent providing shade and man, they were just as awesome!

Tip # 5 – Avoid Running From Stage to Stage

My sister loves to do this but I do not recommend it.  Most music festivals purposely book two massively popular acts at the same time on stages on the opposite ends of the fairgrounds or park.  Most first timers moan in agony that they can’t watch both acts at the same time but that’s done on purpose so that the crowds are evenly spaced around the stages.  You wouldn’t want everyone crowding around each other at one end of the park while the other end is completely empty. 

Running from stage to stage in theory allows you to see both, but you are most likely going to miss the band’s performance of your favorite track or their awesome cover of a well-known classic.  You will miss the best parts, is what I have experienced chasing after my sister.

Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear and 2 Chainz play at the same time? Tha fu#k?

Tip # 6 – Stash Snacks in Your Car

Stash snacks in your car for after the festival.  You’ll either be running low on cash monies or you may be looking forward to grab a bite to eat someplace nearby.  Problem is, most of the festival attendees will have the same idea and you will find yourself in a bit of a gridlock on the way out.  Not to mention wait times at the closest restaurants, diners, or pancake houses still open nearby.  

You will most likely be hangry and/or thirsty, walking back to the parking lot so why not stash a little something in your car to tide you over?  I recommended trail mix or dried fruit. 

Any tips ya'll have to share?


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