Columbus’s festival scene is about as vibrant as a city can get, with at least one big assembly of varied acts coming together every weekend from May through September. But around the country, from Bonnaroo to The Gathering of Juggalos to Fyre Festival, people don’t plan ahead and there are consequences to pay. Here’s what you need to know to make it out of this musical madness alive.
Wear comfortable clothes/shoes
You are gonna regret those flip-flops or four-inch heels if you plan on getting anywhere near the stage. Wear shit you don’t mind losing or ruining because it will happen. Finding the right balance of clothing to last you through the midday heat and the end of the night chill can be difficult (as this year’s Rock On The Range proved, rain happens), but a simple t-shirt/jeans/sneakers combo will always get you through. Looking like a slob will also help keep you off the Snapchat and in the moment, which is never a bad thing.
Sweet, sweet sustenance
Depending on the festival, you may be able to bring your own cooler onto the grounds. Definitely do if you can, as these essentials will be at a premium once inside the gates, and they’re pretty necessary if you wanna, like, survive and stuff. Most of the time you’re gonna have to shell out big bucks for sustenance so plan accordingly, and for fuck’s sake drink plenty of water.
Friends are cool
Most importantly, bring your friends! Concerts are way more fun with your mates, and it’s a good idea to use the buddy-system in case emergency strikes. Decide on a planned spot to meet in case communication is lost, and not the same obvious one everyone else will pick. Or go the opposite route and adventure alone. You’ll probably make some new ones along the way. Maybe they’ll put up with all those garbage aspects of your personality that your current friends secretly hate. You’ll need them when you get arrested for trying to smuggle those drugs in your crotch. Jeez what a bad idea that was.
Bring cash $$$
Festivals are expensive. Even if the admission is free, you’ll be dishing out plenty of dough on food, drinks, parking, and assorted trinkets to commemorate your adventure. Bring plenty of cash and plastic but not so much that it will financially ruin you if it gets stolen. Shit happens, but you want to be able to dig yourself out and enjoy your experience regardless. Large purses are not encouraged (and often not allowed), and wallet chains are usually outlawed even though they were invented to keep assholes from stealing your shit at places like music festivals. Also, don’t forget your ID and tickets. Seems obvious, but it happens. Otherwise, the less valuables the better.
Just kidding, wuss. All the cool kids have tinnitus.
Ditch the cell phone
If you can avoid it, keep that device out of your paws. Service is reliably unreliable at a festival, and charging outlets are either impossible to find or expensive if you can find them. Save the data and battery life and just enjoy the experience. Write down any ultra-important phone numbers on a piece of paper and bring a disposable camera or something, you’ll thank us later. If you must have a device, invest in a solar charger!
Befriend your tent neighbor
Forgot toilet paper? Brought only beer instead of water? That is ok because your neighbors are here to help, especially if you got something to trade. Also, more than likely you will spend 3 a.m. till dawn with this person sitting by the campfire trading blackout drunk stories.
Pack your own drugs
It’s totally possible to sneak drugs into a festival. This is pretty key if you wanna make sure things stay reasonably out of hand. You can certainly buy stuff within the gates, but you never know exactly what you’re gonna get, so this is a safer bet. Put it in an empty jar of peanut butter or something. Just make sure to bring the proper paraphernalia, and don’t bring more than absolutely necessary. You may have to ditch them, but you can always buy more inside, remember? But mostly you can just stuff that shit in your crotch and roll on through. Party on!
Review the rules ahead of time
Most festivals will lay out the rules on their website ahead of time, and most of the time these are written in stone. Most major festivals now even have their own app, so download that shit and give it the once over. If they say no cameras, don’t bring a camera. Literal tons of perfectly good bullshit gets confiscated every year and we don’t wanna see that happen to you. Don’t chance or try to coerce security, even if your tits really are that great.
A place to lay your head
Are you planning on camping on the grounds of your festival? Make sure your digs are worthy—there’s nothing worse than trying to go multiple exhausting days with awful sleep on a rocky campsite filled with mosquitoes. Splurge on a decent tent and sleeping bag, especially if you’re going with a romantic partner, or you might be headed home alone.
Don’t go to Fyre Festival.