If you’ve already attended a music festival before, you’ve probably taken some valuable lessons on the go. The first time you have to emergently borrow sunscreen, the first time you realize you can’t spend a whole weekend in high heels, the first time your smartphone dies, and you can’t find a place to charge it… These indeed make funny stories to tell after you come home but are not that funny on the spot.
So, we’ve made a list of things you shall consider before the event - starting from the music festival outfit you choose and going through all the essential survival tips for beginners.
How to Survive a Music Festival: Safety and Comfort
If you’re a first-time raver or festival attendant, there are plenty of details you can accidentally miss out on during the planning phase. In fact, even experienced party-lovers will sometimes find themselves confused because every next festival is distinct and incomparable to all the rest.
Then - here is your basic list of things to take into account before you set off to the site.
Get to Know the Location
How to arrive there, where to find the festival grounds, and how to get from the camping site to the stage sets? Following the crowd is one thing, but being space-aware and ready to take care of yourself is another piece of cake.
Our advice is to take the extra 30 minutes to browse through the GPS coordinates, get to comprehend the map, and read the organizers’ instructions on moving around the area. Also, get yourself acquainted with the available parking options, the public transport nearby, or the nearest shuttles that will get you there.
Get to Know the Rules
Once again - every festival has its own code, depending on the location, the program, the season, and the dynamics of the situation. As a result, there isn’t a single fundamental guideline for every festival, so reading the organizers’ recommendations is key to having a good time with no unpleasant surprises.
The best guidance always comes straight from the source. The official event guidelines will tell you all you need to know about the climate and weather, foods and drinks, camping rules, safety and anti-epidemic measures, etc. However, being unaware is not an excuse, and breaking the rules can send you home quicker than you might expect.
Arrange Sleepovers or Camping in Advance
The “anything goes” strategy sometimes works well enough when you’re barely legal and super lucky. Anyway, making sure you have a place to spend the night (or the day after) is highly preferable. Then, the earlier you plan it - the least compromises you’ll be expected to make.
In the best-case scenario, booking a hotel, a hostel, or a camping spot comes minutes after buying your ticket. Thus you’ll be able to get a place that’s close enough to the stage and comfy enough to help you recharge between dancing sessions.
Plan a Realistic Budget
During a festival, things you’ll be spending money on include ticket prices, transportation, outfits, foods and beverages, accommodation, on-site amenities, electricity, etc. Plus, having an emergency budget is always wise when traveling away from home.
Calculating these expenses in advance will keep you safe and comfortable, thus sparing some rather uncomfortable situations. Of course, bringing your money in cash is better, especially when you’re hitting festivals in the middle of nowhere and no ATMs are expected to operate on the site.
Plan your Outfits and Footwear Sensibly
Picking a jaw-dropping festival outfit is the next best thing after using it, right? Yet, your choice shall be based on different practical criteria, including:
- Whether you’re attending an indoor or an outdoor event;
- What’s the season, and what does the weather forecast say;
- What’s your destination, and what are its climate specifics;
- Are you staying in a hotel or a camping ground, etc.
Put shortly - you wouldn’t want to freeze in your tent or run to the toilet in your 6-inch heels. Spending the day in your cut-out two-piece set will give you the right front-stage vibe. At the same time, bringing a warm hoodie and flat sneakers for rest time will provide you with the perfect backstage comfort.
You’ll Need a Comfy Backpack
It can take you anything from 10 minutes to 1 hour to get from your accommodation to the stage, and having the right backpack is crucial for your overall festival experience. Grab one that can stack your spare clothing, money, liquids, and accessories while still feeling light and comfy.
Some festivals will give you storage space, while others won’t. Moreover - some storage spaces will be too far from the stage, making it a waste of time to run back and forth every half an hour. So include that planning into your to-do list, as it will greatly affect your good times around.
Bring Your Sunscreen
Open-air summer festivals can be held in the green fields, in the middle of the desert, on the seashore, or in an urban environment. Whatever the case, you’ll be surely dancing in the sun's rays for hours in a row, and your skin will need proper protection.
Don’t forget to bring and use your sunscreen, along with other accessories such as UV-protective sunglasses, a fitting summer hat, and whatever else you usually use to safeguard yourself from the sun.
Stay Well Hydrated
We’re speaking water here! Whether you like it or not, alcohol will actually dehydrate your body, and that’s not the best combination when burning sun and wild dancing are added to the calculation.
To keep your body ready for more party, find the hotspots for pouring, buying, or receiving water on the site, and visit them often enough. Also, take your time to rest between artists and find a shadow deep enough to help your system recharge properly.
Keep it On the Safe Side
Alcohol and stuff are common enough during summer festivals, and you probably know this well enough already. Still, make sure you have a safe type of fun, or you can easily end up in the festival’s medical tent - which is not the best place to spend the night.
Surely, this is not the time and place to get the “Kids, don’t do drugs” lecture. But getting it at some point can help you have some great times without putting your health in danger in the short or long term.
And All The Rest
As we already mentioned above, every festival is a world on its own, and some events might require additional planning and preparation in regards to:
- Bathing and personal hygiene alternatives on-site;
- Shade tents, folding chairs, hammocks, and other conveniences;
- Money, devices, and belongings’ safety measures;
- Dust, wind, or rain protective gear;
- Toiletries, first-aid packs, medicine, etc.
The good news? Most event organizers will give you thorough instructions on what you’ll need. The best thing you can do is find these instructions and follow them closely enough.
How to Survive a Music Festival: Experience and Crew
Now that you have the fundamentals, you can level up by planning not your mere survival but also your good times rolling! Here is what to keep in mind.
Surround Yourself with People you Actually Enjoy
It doesn’t matter if you’re attending the festival single or in a relationship. It doesn’t matter if you’re going with your bestie or with a whole crew of fellow ravers. It doesn’t even matter if you visit with colleagues, family, or high school buddies. All that matters is for you to enjoy your company - like for real.
Just like hiking and road-tripping, summer rave festivals are a special experience that’s heavily influenced by your company. Make sure you pick it well and build up the happening around shared values, expectations, and understandings. If you - at any point - begin feeling unwell, annoyed, triggered, or threatened, do not hesitate to step aside and look for a more healthy surrounding clique.
Do the Out-and-out Planning
When you’re with the right people, all the rest is just a matter of organization. And for your organization to be flawless, you need to plan the following details:
- Schedule the stage sets you and your friends will be visiting. Design them, compare them, and make sure you have some kind of plan.
- Arrange a meeting place. Planning and summer festivals often don’t go well hand in hand, so if you lose your friends in the crowd - make sure you have a way to find them. The more unconventional the place - the easier you’ll spot your mates standing there.
- Consider different communication methods. Some festivals won’t give you the best wi-fi and cell coverage in the world, so investigate a bit and get to know the conditions. There are multiple Bluetooth-based apps for communication that will help you stay in touch.
- Actually, keep in touch. If you get a bit carried away in the beats, don’t forget to get back to your group as soon as you realize it. To do so, you can bring along your personal solar charger - it will ensure your device lives through the party and serves you well.
A bonus tip would be to pre-discuss different scenarios with your friends and have a plan B if your phone dies, you decide to leave earlier, or you have some kind of emergency.
Follow the Rave Code of Acceptance and Respect
Last but not least - remember that summer festivals, raves, and weekend-long parties are all about shared experiences in a safe and friendly atmosphere. Appreciate yourself and everyone around you, respect individuals’ boundaries and engage in healthy social interactions with people you meet along the way.
At the end of the day, rave culture is all about radical acceptance - of yourself, of those surrounding you, and of the experience you’ll build and nourish together. Now you know how to make it count!