7+ Music Festival Tips and Tricks (#7 Just Might Save You)
Festival newbies beware
When you buy a ticket to a Music Festival, you’re investing in the trip of a lifetime. You’ll get to see your favorite artists, meet and hang out with some awesome people, eat delicious food, and experience amazing art work; but there are certain things about music festivals that you must know before departing on your adventure. What separates a festival newbie from a festival veteran, is the knowledge and wisdom acquired from having been to a bunch of different music festivals. Stick to these veteran-tested music festival tips and tricks, and you’re guaranteed to have an incredible experience.
Give me the best music festival tips and tricks
1) Bring cash
Nowadays, a lot of music festivals are switching over to cash-less methods of payment like credit cards, debit cards, or pre-loaded festival bands. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not bring ANY cash at all… even if you are at one of these cash-less events.
The main reason you will want to have cash on you is because many of the fashion, art, and food vendors that roam festival grounds will only accept cash. If you don’t bring cash and you do decide that you want to purchase something from one of these vendors, you will be stuck with a higher-than-normal surcharge at the on-site ATM machines. You’re better off stopping at your bank on the way, and withdrawing enough cash for the weekend.
2) Secure your valuables
To follow up on the above, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep all of your valuables somewhere secure. This includes any loose cash, important electronics, credit cards, ID’s etc. Anything that you will not need or be using at the time needs to be tucked away somewhere safe.
Festival thievery is very common especially at large camping music festivals. At Okeechobee in 2017, a man was pulled over on his way out of the festival with nearly 600 stolen cellphones on him. Think about that for a second… SIX HUNDRED.
You do not want to be the person that gets your weekend ruined because someone robbed you of your most important valuables. The best way to avoid this is to keep these items locked away in whatever vehicle you came in. If you do not have access to a vehicle, then keep everything that is important with you at all times (in your bag, or fanny pack) or tucked away inside of your tent.
By far the worst thing that you can do is leave your valuable items laying out in the open, or in a place where a pickpocket could easily snag them.
3) Don’t forget about the Merch tent
Music festival merchandise tends to run on the expensive end of the spectrum, especially with shirts sometimes going for over $30. But in my opinion, you should always buy some sort of merchandise or keepsake item at a music festival. If you’re on a budget, go for the cheaper items like key-chains, stickers, or pins.
I’ve found that having some sort of merchandise to remind yourself of the music festival serves as a great way to keep that positive memory with you for many years to come.
4) Check out food vendors
Don’t skip out on those food vendors! Most of the time, those food trucks that travel from different parts of the country to music festivals have THE BEST food. They do tend to be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, simply limit yourself to one or two treats for the entire weekend.
Most music festivals will announce the list of their food vendors, so check their website if you want to do your research on which ones are the best ahead of time.
My personal favorite is the Amish Baking Company. They have the most incredible doughnuts and pretzels you will ever have. They typically only go to a few music festivals per year, so if you ever see them DO NOT miss out!
5) Invest in a good pair of shoes
Wearing the wrong pair of shoes to a music festival can lead to stress injuries (like shin splits), knee injuries, ankle injuries and annoying blisters. With all the walking, jumping and dancing that you will be doing, it would be wise of you to invest in a comfortable pair of shoes ahead of time. When you do, make sure that you break them in before the music festival so that they are 100% ready to go when that time comes.
I recommend a comfortable pair of shoes such as Adidas Ultraboost, Nike Flyruns. Some of the best and most popular shoes for music festivals include Chacos, Tevas, Sanuks, Vans, Converse and various other running shoes. Just be sure to avoid the cheap-o brands because they will provide you with minimal comfort and they will not last very long.
Extra Pro Tip – Invest in a pair of gel insoles and/or a good pair of socks as well. These will help to relieve the amount of stress on your feet. I prefer the cushioned, woven runner’s socks as they provide extra padding for those sensitive pressure points.
6) Apply sunscreen liberally
This should be common sense but deserves a mention nonetheless. Even if the sky is overcast and the sun isn’t out, you should be applying sunscreen multiple times per day. According to Cleveland Clinic, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer; and it is preventable by using sunscreen whenever you are exposing your skin to the sun’s rays.
With all the fun you will be having at the festival, it will be easy to forget about protecting yourself. To make this easy, bring a small bottle (spf 30 or above) in your bag so that it is on you at all times.
Side note: hats, sun visors and various garments of clothing also help in protecting you from the sun’s rays so definitely bring all of these; although you should still use sunscreen as often as you can.
7) Rest often
Many people end up feeling drained, exhausted, and depleted at the worst times because of the lack of sleep or rest. This is completely avoidable so long as you utilize the power of naps and short rest periods. Some festivals even provide sponsored chill/rest zones where you can sit back and relax (and sometimes charge your phone). Listen to your body and recharge whenever necessary.
If all else fails, just find a nice patch of grass or dirt to sit on. Assuming you prepared correctly by packing the festival necessities, you can lay out on your blanket or bed sheet for added comfort.
8) Don’t over-do it on the first night
This is a mistake that I had to learn the hard way a few times. After long hours of traveling and anticipation, it is easy to slip into that mindset of “okay it’s time to go as hard as possible”… But keep in mind that a weekend-long music festival is a marathon, not a sprint. If you go all-out on the first night, you will likely be feeling the effects of your debauchery well into the very next day; this will certainly put a damper on the rest of the music festival for you.
When in doubt, take it easy and keep in mind that you have an entire weekend to enjoy.
9) Drink plenty of water
Surprisingly enough, I still see people struggle with this concept time and time again. You want to avoid dehydration at all costs because it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make at a music festival. Dehydration will ruin your day and, depending on the severity, has the potential to ruin your entire weekend.
To avoid dehydration, stick to the following rules:
- Prepare your body in the days leading up to the festival
- When you’re at the music festival, be sure to carry around a water bottle or some sort of hydration pack with you at all times.
- Refill your water supply as often as you can. Music festivals will always have water stations where you can get free refills, so take advantage of it. Your body will thank you for it!
- Try to avoid over-consumption of alcoholic beverages because this will dehydrate your body even more. If you do, however, try to drink water in between beverages to keep your body functioning properly.
10) Explore and branch out
Another common mistake that you can make at a music festival is to not explore everything the event has to offer. Nowadays, music festivals provide so much more besides musical artists. Thing is, most people don’t take advantage of all the cool stuff they provide.
Don’t be afraid to branch out from your group of friends to do some quality exploring on your own. Some of the best memories that I have from music festivals over the years come from the times that I decided to split from my pack and do my own thing.
Check out some events/activities during the day. If you’re at a camping fest, walk through the campgrounds to see if there is anything interesting happening. Who knows, you could stumble into a secret Griz B2B Cherub DJ set like the one in the video below from Bonnaroo 2017.
Now go get ’em, tiger
Feel confident knowing that you’re prepared with the best music festival tips and tricks. Do you have any pro tips not listed here that help to make your festival weekends more successful? Let me know in the comment section or connect with me on Instagram – @FestPrep!