How to have the best possible time at a music festival

Don’t forget the little things while you’re dancing your day away

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There are many different kinds of music festivals in the world. There are one you go to for the day, ones you spend the night in hotels for, ones you camp at, and ones where you don’t sleep the entire time you’re there.

This past week I spent six days locked in a tent in ninety-degree heat in the middle of Delaware at the Firefly Music Festival. As far as music festivals go, the ones where you camp are the ones where your health is the most at risk and it’s almost where you tend to care the least about taking care of yourself. Music festivals are the place where people from all over the country come together to listen to amazing music with nothing but good vibes, the last thing you want to worry about is having to go to the medic from dehydration or any other bodily issue.

You came there to enjoy the music. Take care of your body so you can have the energy to do so.

Stay hydrated

The most simple and important rule. When you are standing out in the heat and listening to your favorite performers sing, it is too easy to forget to drink water. But alas, it is imperative to do or you will become dehydrated, lose energy, and overall not feel your best. So drink up. My favorite way to remember to do this is bring a Camelback backpack – that way, your friends will stay hydrated too and you don’t have to hold anything in your hands.


Remember to eat

When you only have four days to cram all your socializing and activities into a short amount of time, it is too easy to put eating on the back burner. When camping, it is difficult to cook or get any decent food made on your campsite unless you bring a grill which many people don’t have easy access to. Remember that, even though it is grossly overpriced, there are food stations throughout the festivals that will serve pretty much any type of food you would want. Otherwise, pack items like apples, peanut butter, and energy bars that can give you enough fuel for at least part of the day.


Wear comfortable shoes

The biggest mistake I have made in years past is not wearing the right type of shoes to festivals and then wondering why I am in aching pain in the morning and don’t want to go out the next day. Be smarter than my past self. Flip flops are not practical for festivals because of the inevitable mud that will hold you back and the high possibility that they will snap in half while you’re out in the field. Never wear new shoes because the breaking them in process will be detrimental to the heels of your feet and will most likely put a damper on the rest of your weekend. My favorite is to go with good-ol’ sneakers. They’re comfortable, cute, and will allow you to dance in any form in which pleases you.


Keep clean

Camping is one of the dirtier things humans absolutely love to do. We can’t explain it. We just love it. Festival grounds tend to be dirty, and are most times muddy. Port-a-potties are the most vile and disgusting places on the face of the planet. Crowds and dancing will make you sweat like a pig. The last thing you want is for the people around you to no longer want to be near you from your putrid odor. Shower, damnit.

Camping festivals offer showers you can pay for (because they LOVE ripping people off), that range from about $5 to $15. Or, like my friends and I do, you can fill up gallon jugs and use it as a shower. We fill up the jugs, get out our shampoo and soap, dress in our bathing suits, and have the most incredible shower of our lives. Sometimes when I’m not at festivals I still miss the jug showers. Baby wipes and deodorant are also two imperative things to remember to pack.


Use sunscreen

There is nothing cute about glowing a fluorescent red color. You look silly and you probably feel like millions of hot needles are piercing through every surface of your skin. Don’t be that person: the person who can’t dance or let loose at their favorite band because you forgot to do the one thing your parents have been reminding you since you were a child. Put on some damn sunscreen.

Also, make your friends put on sunscreen if they forget, because you don’t want to have to listen to them complain about it either. You’ll still be tan. People will still know you went to a music festival.


Map out your schedule

In past festivals, I would go into the weekend very blase, convincing myself that I could just “go where the music would take me.” Wow, did I miss out on amazing opportunities because of my overall stupidity and laziness. Festivals nowadays are not like Woodstock. They are organized and very easy to map out. Most, if not all festivals, will have apps where you can see the grounds, where the stages are, and then have an hour-by-hour breakdown of when the performers will be coming on.

You can choose the performers you want and the app will compile a list of times for you in your own personal schedule. Festivals are smart by putting big names on at the same time so you have to choose and prioritize. Having a schedule will also make sure you leave your camp site at the proper time because it is all too easy to lose track of where you are supposed to be when you’re camping with your friends. Make smart decisions. Compromise with friends. Have an amazing time.


Make sure you’re never alone

The worst possible thing you can do going into a festival is think you are in control enough of your surroundings to bear it alone. You’re not invincible. Festivals can be confusing places with an enormous amount of people in them. You can get lost or you phone can die and you may have no idea where you are going or where you need to be. Always use the buddy system. It will save you, even if it compromises you from going to a show you were looking forward to. It’s a smarter decision than being left alone with some of the crazies festivals inevitably have to offer.


Dance like no one is watching – because they aren’t

Music festivals are not meant to be taken seriously. You signed up for a weekend where you can do nothing but have an amazing time. Take advantage of the freedom and the happiness that comes along with a festival and let loose. Dance like no one is watching. Everyone around you will be doing the same thing. You paid enough money to get there, just forget about everything else and have the best weekend of your life!