In light of the fact that we are jetting off to Montreal next week for Osheaga 2012 (more so busing off), I thought I’d share with you my tips and tricks to surviving and enjoying music festivals of all varieties (from T in the Park in Scotland to Rosklide in Denmark).
I am going to feature festival tips, essentials and must-haves over the next few days in this 5 part series: Surviving the Festival.
So here we go:
1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN.
I don’t care if the forecast calls for thunderstorms all weekend - lather up. Getting a horrible sunburn will not only cause pain and discomfort, but will add to the dehydration caused by the 8 beers you drank that afternoon. So grab some sunscreen with a high SPF (over 30) and lather it on thick at least 20-30 minutes before sun exposure. Also it has been said that we only lather 25%-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen, so it may be good practice to reapply every 1-2 hours instead of 4.
2. For every alcoholic drink, grab a glass of water.
For a one day festival, being hungover the next day really isn’t a big deal. But because most festivals are 2-4 days long with wild campsites or after parties it may be wise to take some precautions. So as crazy as you think you are, and as high of an alcohol tolerance you think you have, trust me on this one. If you want to survive the whole festival, drink 16-20 ounces each morning and before you go to bed. Then at least 8 ounces (1 cup) to every alcoholic beverage. It will go a long way in the end.
3. Decorate yourself!
One of my favourite things about festivals is how creative everyone can get. When I went to Oxegen last year there was a stand that was selling neon UV paint – best. purchase. ever. It’s not only hilarious painting on friends faces after a few shots of tequila, but it tends to also attract a crowd. People will be running up to you asking for a bit of the fun. This year we’ve added glow in the dark body and hair paint to the collection as well. Just check out your local costume shop, and see what they have in stock. Most of the time they will even order in any materials you are looking for. Check online as well, ensuring you pick a supplier within your country or province for inexpensive and quick delivery.
4. Plan out a schedule with your friends before you go.
There is nothing worse than arriving at a festival and each one of your 5 friends wants to go to a different stage. So I suggest getting together and deciding which shows you are going to well before the big day. Even if 3 of you go one place, and 4 of you go another, it’ll take the stress out of the situation. And also prevent someone getting lost!
5. Don’t spend crazy amounts on accommodation.
This is geared towards non-camping festivals. I will be doing a post in this series about camping festivals, so don’t worry.
As for accommodation for non-camping festivals, the hotel, hostel or B&B doesn’t matter. Seriously. Just make sure it is close to whatever transportation you are using to get to the festival and you are set. You will only be in the hotel for about maybe 6-8 hours every day, and that includes sleeping. 2 hours will be spent getting to and from the festival, 10 hours at the festival, and another 4 or 5 out afterwords getting rowdy. So save your cash for some festival beers or band merch.
6. The only valuables you should bring are money, ID, your ticket and your phone.
For me, music festivals just have that extra sense of freedom, of the feeling that anything can happen. But when you have $500 worth of valuables on you, that can drag you down. All you really need is money and your ticket (for obvious reasons), ID if you plan on drinking, and a phone to keep in contact with new and olds friends. The fact is things are going to get dirty, broken and probably even stolen. It is just not worth the hassle to bring that $400 camera when a $10 disposable camera will do. Unless you’re one of those people who have to prove themselves with a Facebook album….
7. It’s not a fashion show.
Get dressed up, do your hair, but remember – it may not last. If you plan to just sit and watch bands all day, then you may be okay, but that is not what festivals are about. You want to get crazy, run around, dance your a** off. And if you are wearing a one of a kind designer dress, that may prevent you from really having a good time.
8. Check out bands you’ve never heard of.
One of my favourite part of festivals is stumbling on to new bands. It’s not only great to expand the ol’ music collection but also if a band plays well live, you know they’re good. So if you find yourself with some free time, walk around, check out some new talent.
9. Eating well, will go a long way.
Between being on your feet and in the sun for 10-12 hours and enjoying a few cold beers, your body starts to wear down. This year, day 3 of Osheaga is by far the best day, and I want to live to tell about it. I’ll be righting a post about eating healthy at music festivals in this series so stay tuned. A good start however would be taking a multi-vitamin (focusing on B & C vitamins) and making sure you are eating before and while you are drinking.
10. Be respectful.
Be respectful of other festival goers, be respectful of bands and be respectful of the venue. Everyone is just there to have a good time. So please don’t be that person just yelling or acting a fool for attention. There will be people of all ages as well as families, so have a good time, but let others do the same. Also don’t boo bands, it’s just ignorant. And clean up after yourself. Yes they have people to do that, but that doesn’t mean they want to. They aren’t your mothers, and you aren’t 6 years old.
That is all for today!
& stay tuned for the rest of this 5 part series this coming week.