Festival Survival Guide

How to survive a music festival

Charles Bradley on the main stage of the Edmonton Folk Fest // Meaghan Baxter
Charles Bradley on the main stage of the Edmonton Folk Fest // Meaghan Baxter

Music festivals are fun—but don’t get too excited. We’ve all seen the casualties: the bros and broettes who just went too hard, too fast. They sprawl in an ankle-high puddle, sun-blasted and beer-bellied while their favourite band plays their favourite song. You paid $300 for a pass so you can sleep it off in the first-aid tent?

So pace yourself. Drink your water. Hats and sunscreen! I’m your mom, and I’m telling you that this summer you’re going to take care of yourself. How are you going to take that selfie with that flavour-of-the-week indie band playing in the background if you drank yourself to oblivion on $9 beer-tent brews?

And that’s another thing: #putdownthephone. I know you’re having a good time, but you don’t have to Instagram it or make people jelly with your tweets. You’ll have more fun watching people play music if you’re not furiously thumbing hashtags and applying filters.

OK, so you’re not passed out drunk and you’re actually watching bands play. How else do you max out your music fest good times? Research. There’s a dizzying array of music festival variety within a day’s drive, so you’d best plan accordingly.

Going to a country hoedown? Break out the cut-off denim, practice your beer pong and tune up that F-350. EDM? Face paint, spirit hoods, hula hoops and poi—and see if you can score a bulk deal on glow sticks. Rock or heavy metal? Try to balance how badass you’ll look in that leather jacket with the fact you will roast hotter than a hot dog on coals. Folkie hippie love-fest? A wineskin filled with organic plonk will help you make friends, as well as a considerate understanding of tarp-spreading and dancing rules.

Other than that, everyone will have a sweet music festival time by following the Golden Rule: don’t be a dick. Don’t crowd surf over people listening to a fingerpicked folk song. Don’t scream out your song request during every quiet moment. Cigarettes are gross, so smoke somewhere lonely.

We’ll see you out there, awake and loving it.


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