Although Coachella and Sasquatch are already behind us, the summer music scene is just heating up. After my recovery from last weekend’s Wakarusa Festival in the mountains of Arkansas, I figured it would be a good idea to impart some of my learned-from-experience wisdom, so you can enjoy your festival season to the fullest.
1. Pack the essentials, then pack some more. These include water, sunscreen, and toilet paper.
2. So, shoes. Learned this one the hard way. No sandals – you will get stepped on and it will hurt. Also, wear socks. There was an awesome hiking trail right by the festival, and I figured I would be fine in only my tennis shoes. Fast-forward to me stopping halfway down to rip the sleeves off of my t-shirt to wrap them around my blistered feet. Yeah. That happened.
3. If you are camping, do a practice run and set up your tent in your yard before you go. I brought a friend’s tent and didn’t realize until halfway through the on-site set up that some of the parts were missing. I spent the weekend in a spare tent borrowed from the campers next to me. It was a junior tent meant for a seven-year-old.
4. Be open-minded towards the people around you. Music offers a commonality for an otherwise very eclectic group of people, and you can start off a conversation with someone commenting on the killer line-up, then end up talking about the migration patterns of sapphire swallow-tailed butterflies because the person turns out to be a butterfly research specialist from Mexico. If you are like me, you both may or may not also be wearing American flag jean shorts.
5. YOU CAN GO FOR FREE. This, children, is the one of the most helpful lessons of all. Tickets to music festivals typically require the shelling out of a few Benjamins, and while you do get your money’s worth considering the breadth of artists all in one place, some people simply can’t afford it. Cue volunteering. Festivals and concerts are huge events, and wouldn’t be possible without many helping hands. Most events have volunteer info on their website, and you can work through many outlets, from non-profit booths, to recycling, to various departments through the Work Exchange Team. In exchange for a few hours of work, you get free camping and access to the shows! I worked in catering, making a ton of new friends, meeting artists, and getting free hot meals at the end of my shift.
6. Many cities offer free concerts during the summer to give back to the community. Big names are brought to New York through Celebrate Brooklyn! and SummerStage. Be on the lookout for the same type of thing near you.
Summer shows can offer great excitement, entertainment, and memories. Taking the time to be properly prepared can offer a lowered chance of dehydration, exhaustion, and injury. For more info on surviving specific festivals, you can also check out http://www.festivalsurvivalguide.com/archive.