Summer is music festival season, and what else is better than enjoying being outside and listening to your favorite bands? There are music festivals all around the country geared toward every type of music, and it can be an amazing experience to go to one. If you’ve never been to a music festival before it can be kind of overwhelming, so here are some tips and tricks to making the most of your time.
1. Be prepared for the unexpected: I recently went to Bonnaroo, a four day music festival held in Manchester, Tennessee. Since Bonnaroo is held in June, it is expected that the temperature will reach at least 95 degrees each day. Luckily for me and the 80,000 other people attending the festival, the highest temperature it got that weekend was 86 degrees, but at night it would drop to the mid-60s. Since most people I had talked to told me that I’d be crawling out of my tent (at Bonnaroo most people camp on-site at the festival) at 6 a.m. due to the heat, I didn’t bring any warmer clothing. I was left shivering in my tent in Nike shorts and the one pullover I happened to bring last minute. If you do plan on going to a music festival, plan for the unexpected. Bring both clothes that will be good in warmer and colder weather. Bring rain boots, an umbrella or a pancho as well. The last day of Bonnaroo it rained, and I was stuck standing in mud up to my ankles in flip flops. Yuck!
2. Bring more money than you anticipate spending: A lot of times at music festivals the only food you have access to are food trucks and stands the festival provides. These options are usually really expensive – I’m talking about $7 for one slice of pizza and $6 to $7 for a smoothie. I ended up having to withdraw an extra $40 while at Bonnaroo, because I didn’t plan to bring extra spending money. On-site ATM machines can charge you $4 to $5 for a transaction, so when thinking of how much money you plan on bringing to a music festival always bring extra just in case you end up spending more than you originally thought. It’s better to have that extra money, not spend it, and bring it home after the festival rather than to withdraw money from an ATM and get charged that extra fee.
3. Be open to meeting new people: When you’re at a show waiting for it to start, talk to the people around you. You already know you have something in common, because you are both waiting to see the same band! That’s how we met two girls – Madi and Katie – that we still stay in contact with today! Also, if you’re camping out at your festival, say hello to your campsite neighbors. My neighbors at Bonnaroo were two boys that had just graduated from high school. We all got along really well and would hang out a lot.
If you have any more music festival related questions or want some more tips, feel free to tweet them to me at @karafulgum!