Whether you’re into jazz, EDM, pop, indie, hip hop or a mix of it all, there’s a music festival out there for you. New Yorkers have the advantage of being able to stay close to home to see their favorite musical acts take the stage, as Electric Zoo transforms Randall’s Island to an electronic dance paradise from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, AFROPUNK Fest blends music and activism in Brooklyn on Aug. 25-26 and the freshest names in hip hop come to Hot 97’s Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium on June 10.
Though these multi-day events are usually marked by hours of standing in the hot sun surrounded by strangers who haven’t showered in days, music festivals are a lot of fun, especially if done right.
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to make it out alive.
Have A Plan
There’s a reason festivals pay someone (we assume) to maintain websites and apps with important information visitors need to know. Make sure you find out where to stay, the easiest way to get there, what you can and can’t bring into the venue and what to do in case of an emergency. And as obvious as it sounds, you’ll also want to find out when your favorite acts are playing so you can snag a spot front and center before the crowds show up. You should also check if lockers are available; having a safe and secure place to store your stuff can allow you to dance in peace without worrying if someone’s stealing your beer and food rations.
And in between coordinating your festival outfits, make sure you and your friends have a plan on what happens when you inevitably get separated. Cell phone service can be spotty at festival sites, so set up a designated meeting spot. It’s also a good idea to write down important phone numbers on a piece of paper (yes, an actual piece of paper) so if your phone dies and you have to rely on a kind stranger, you can dial more than just 911.
Pack Light, Pack Right
Sure, social media will have you believe that everyone at a festival is walking around in wedges and a crop top, but that’s not always the case. Comfort is key at festivals, where you’ll be on your feet all day and the weather can fluctuate. Pack light layers and comfortable closed-toed sneakers, as well as a hat for sun and poncho for potential rain. And keep the diamonds at home; there’s a risk that anything you bring into the festival will get messy, damaged or lost so make sure everything you bring is expendable.
You should also prepare for port-a-potties and few (if any) showers, which means toilet paper, wet wipes and plenty of hand sanitizer should definitely find its way into your bag. And to ensure that your festival memories aren’t scarred by a terrible sunburn, make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen.
Don’t leave home without your portable phone charger either; you’ll be taking plenty of photos and videos and the last thing you want is to be left with a dead phone.
Give Yourself A Break
Yes, you’ll want to soak up every moment of dancing, drinking and all out revelry, but make sure you take some time to rest and recharge. Get some sleep, even if it’s naps here and there. Staying hydrated is also essential—the last thing you want is to pass out while crowdsurfing.