Whether you’re gearing up for Bunbury in Cincinnati or trekking to Chicago for Lollapalooza, there are do’s and don’ts of music festival-ing! You’re heading into a three-day whirlwind. Follow these tips to surviving so you’ll be ready for whatever awesomeness comes your way.
1. Remember your ticket.
Yes, we know — this is obvious advice. But so many people every, single year leave their tickets in their underwear drawer after they have settled into a great parking spot or are seven hours away. Don’t do that. Double, triple, quadruple check. Please. For the sake of music. Or have it on your phone.
2. Always bring a beach towel or small blanket.
If it rained the night before, the ground will be wet and sitting on muddy grass is not what you want to do while waiting for your favorite band to hit the stage. Trust us, bring a blanket. Go thrifting at Casablanca in Northside in search of a small blanket for your festival needs.
3. Don’t wear black — ever!
It’s already hot enough and the last thing you want is to attract more heat. Stay away from dark colors. You’ll regret it tomorrow when you’re lathering on slimy aloe. Leave the Pink Floyd tee at home. Find a funky tee at Sloane and rock out to your fav band.
4. Girls, no heels. Guys, no flip flops.
Maybe you want to attract the lead singer, but girls please — leave the stilettos at home. And guys, when did flip flops ever go in style for you? Both flip flops and heels will irritate you while jamming to your favorite band. Comfort comes first. Grab a pair of sandals at Morrison and Me without sacrificing fashion for comfort.
5. Bring your own empty water bottle.
Music festivals do not allow people to bring outside drinks, for obvious reasons. Don’t try to sneak in your favorite booze, it won’t work! But staying hydrated is essential in the summer heat. Buying a water bottle at the festival will dip into your beer budget, don’t waste that precious cash, bring your own. Grab an awesome water bottle at Park + Vine and drink up!
6. Keep it light.
Other than your beach towel and water bottle, keep it light. Don’t wear heavy jewelry or bring bags you won’t want to carry two hours into the day. Just bring your ID, some cash, and your phone. Go shopping at The City Flea to see if you can spot a fun wallet or fanny pack for all your festival needs.
7. Bring a portable phone charger.
If you’re one to Instagram every set, by all means do so — but be prepared for your battery to die during band number two. A better solution: invest in a phone case that charges your phone automatically so you can gram all day!
8. Pick at least five bands that you’ve never heard of.
Even if you’re one of seven people at the concert, check them out. Musicians like Macklemore and Vampire Weekend started as small-stage acts and now are headliners at big-name festivals. And make a map! Nerdy, but helpful: you’ll be glad you did. Scour those can’t-miss bands and find the good food booths. Take notes so you have a plan before you arrive. Not convinced the bands are worth skipping your favorite, stop by Shake It Records to hear their music first.
9. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. SUNSCREEN.
If you don’t want you to be burnt to a crisp so lather up. Grab some sunscreen and apply liberal amounts. Often. Or forever be festival lobster. Grab a bottle of natural sunscreen to hit it off with fellow hippie festival goers at Clifton Natural Foods.
10. Prepare for parking hell.
If you’re going out of town for a festival, plan parking accordingly. Apps like SpotHero are perfect to plan where your car sits while at Lollapalooza for the weekend so you aren’t hit with $50 a day self-park.
And if you’re parking in Cincinnati for Bunbury, Buckle Up or Midpoint, find a spot far away from the festival. Parking across the bridge is sometimes free or garages further up on Vine Street can be cheaper than garages closer to the fest.
Take these tips and enjoy your weekend of music at local festivals. Be safe and be smart, but of course — have fun!