Continuing Festival Week, we take a look at the 10 things you should avoid doing at a festival this summer.
Granted, the festival calendar has been in full swing for a couple of months now, but with half the summer still to come there’s still time to pick up a few tips. Good advice is timeless so consider this a down payment on all the events you might attend in future. If you’ve never made any of these mistakes in the past, take it from some of us who have…
1. Don’t Peak Too Soon
We get it, you’re excited to be here, but remember the tortoise and the hare? This is about going the full distance, so necking that full bottle of vodka (and whatever else is in your pocket) before you’ve left the parking lot and spending all day dribbling into your belly button is total rookie behavior. A festival can be the grown-up equivalent of a giant musical playground but unless you can remember at least 60% of what you did there you might as well save yourself the ticket price and just take your iPod for a walk around the park.
2. Don’t Wear Your Best Shoes
Sure, you want to look good, but only a fool takes fresh kicks to a festival. Between the dirt, mud, toilets, spilled drinks, boisterous crowds and meals eaten out of boxes, a festival is about as friendly for your sneakers as a tumble dryer filled with ketchup and razor blades. When you’re on your feet for this many hours a day, stick with something classic, comfortable and ultimately replaceable – leave the Yeezys at home (and don’t forget your Wellingtons).
3. Don’t Lose Your Shit
You’re an unknown number of drinks deep. You’ve been dancing for days. You’re starting to believe that returning to the outside world with its pavements, cars and responsibilities, might not be so great after all…and your personal possessions are starting to agree with you. Whatever you do, don’t let them. Get yourself a decent lightweight rucksack, money belt or – dare we say it – fanny pack (good ones do exist). Even with the best will in the world, your pockets will not hold on to everything you own and waking up on the final morning without your car keys is like seeing the last lifeboat sail away while you’re still slamming tequilas on the Titanic.
4. Don’t Expect to be Clean All the Time
Let’s get this straight: only two people appearing at any festival this summer are gonna be “so fresh and so clean” and you aren’t either of them (unless that’s you André? Hi!) Part of going to a weekend-long party means accepting a few compromises on the personal hygiene front: your hands will get dirty, your feet will get smelly, your hair will have seen many better days. But as long as you don’t go full Lord of the Flies and you take along some soap and hand sanitizer, you should be able to avoid any of the nastier 18th-century diseases.
Pro tip: at the end of a long night’s partying, brushing your teeth will feel like gargling with a mouthful of rainbows – so don’t forget your toothbrush.
5. Don’t Overdo the Outfit
A festival is somewhere people go to escape the crippling monotony of their everyday life. For a short space of time you get to inhabit a place where it’s entirely acceptable to wake up, knock back several cocktails with breakfast and be a pirate for the entire day without getting fired – so you should make the most of that. By all means: Go big. Go bold. Go colorful. Just remember that no amount of “festival spirit” makes it OK to thrust your neon-covered junk in the faces of everyone around you. We’re trying to have a good time.
6. Don’t Spend All Your Time at One Stage
Yes, you LOOOOOOOVE dubstep. Or techno. Or ukelele music. Or whatever else it is that really milks your goat right now. That’s cool but perhaps one day you’ll have a slightly different musical perspective. Perhaps you’ll look back on all those years you spent listening to the same tunes and wish you’d been a little braver, a little more open to new experiences. These days, most festivals cater for a wider array of music than ever before, so why not skip that act you’ve seen more times than your grandmother recently, head to a different stage and take a chance on something new. Or call your grandmother. She’d love to hear from you.
7. Don’t Forget to Eat
This sounds stupid because it seems so obvious (at least for some), but you’d be surprised how quickly eating drops down the priority scale when going up against the many other distractions your average festival has on offer. But just because you can’t feel how hollow that pit between your ribs is, doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Festivals are hard work and if anything you should be consuming more calories than you do in regular life to counterbalance the physical battering your body is going through. The less you eat, the more likely you are to end up headlining your own private puke stage in the corner of a field to a crowd of one and no one wants to be that guy.
Image: Roaming Hunger
8. Don’t Forget Where You Camped
Chances are you knew exactly where your tent was when you left to enjoy the music. It was that green one, right? Next to the blue one? Just by the red one? But here’s a bit of news for you: at night, they all look the same. And unless you want to endure a long night of playing “let’s-not-get-punched-in-the-face-roulette” as you try to avoid climbing into someone else’s sleeping quarters, make sure you bring a flashlight and set up some kind of marker around your campsite so you know which is yours. Or, better yet, get yourself something no one else will have, like one of these.
Image: Washington Post
9. Don’t Get Heatstroke
While festivals in some parts of the world are renowned for their mud, others are lucky enough to count on sunshine every year. That might sound like a luxury but anyone who’s pushed themselves too hard in this weather will tell you life can suck very quickly with heatstroke. If you’re camping, take some kind of sheet or awning to create some shade to sleep under (reflective materials are the best for this), because a tent in the sun is like the eighth layer of hell. Next, take some sunscreen. Everyone wants a tan, but getting sunburn at a festival will make you look like Dr. Zoidberg. Lastly, when you’re out enjoying the music, always take a water bottle (beer is not hydration, no matter what it looks like). Oh, and take a hat.
10. Don’t Tweet Your Entire Weekend
There’s a very fine line between people who don’t know how to have fun and people who insist on telling the whole world how much fun they’re having all. the. god. damn. time. If you see a great band play or you meet a great friend or eat a really amazing burrito, by all means share some enthusiasm with the world. But if you find yourself sharing every last minute of your weekend on social media in the hope of some vain recognition from the Internet, then your mind is clearly in the wrong place. Put your phone away and focus on the people you’re actually with. Real memories don’t need retweets.
Image: Getty Images