Everyone tries to plan their festival experiences differently. Almost nobody's idea goes according to plan. The key is to not let spontaneity and improvisation turn into chaos and unmanageability. Fast approaching EDC weekend, let's take a look at some of the most important things to remember, and some creative ideas for you and your friends to stay organized and stay safe.
- UPDATED (June 20) Obey pedestrian traffic laws: Las Vegas is a tricky place to navigate for pedestrians. There's a lot of crosswalks and bridges to get from place to place. It's temping to hop a safety fence to get somewhere quickly; DON”T DO IT! There's no need to jeopardize your EDC experience. Stay safe, stay smart: Pedestrian hit by taxi near LV Strip critically injured
- Make a checklist: If you're traveling, make a list of things you need to bring. If you need to buy things before the trip; make a list. If you need to remember to do specific things in the morning that you're leaving; make a list a night before, you won't remember anything that morning. Bottom line; make a lot of lists. Don't worry, you'll still forget something.
- Things to bring on festival day: Your ticket, photo ID, chap stick, cellphone, spending/emergency cash, gum or mints, hair ties, camelback, health insurance card.
- Drink water: Water at festivals used to cost $8 a bottle and people wouldn't drink any. Now they give it out for free and people still aren't staying hydrated. Regardless of whatever other recreational activities you choose to engage in, the sun is HOT – you need to stay hydrated. Drink water whenever you have the opportunity to, even if you aren't thirsty.
- Check your EDC card number: Even if you got your card (ticket) directly from EDC, take a minute to check what's actually on the card. You can do this by going to the Flavorus website and entering the 16-digit registration number on your card here: flavorus.com…magcard
- Attach your keys to yourself: If you've been designated driver or key-holder, make sure you don't lose them. There's different ways to do this. You can put them on a lanyard, or a hair-tie around your wrist. Those who are more creative might want to attach their keys to a piece of Kandi; just make sure you don't trade it!
- Have a daily plan: There's some people who like to go about their day with less structure, this can be dangerous. It's the worst feeling to get home and say to yourself: “Oh man, that guy was there? How did we miss him?!” I'm not suggesting you plan out every minute of your weekend, but have a general idea of who's playing and the top-4 or 5 acts that you want to make sure you get to see on each day.
- Schedule in your ride time: Pick the most popular performer that you don't want to see and go ride the rides. Most people try to get on when the gates open, but the lines are long and the view isn't as good as when you can look out over the main stage and see a huge, raging crowd.
- Wear Clothes that make sense: Everyone likes to get dressed up, but don't minimize the value of a good-sized pocket. Buttons are awesome and zippers are God's gift to the raver. Nobody wants to be calling Lost & Found on Monday morning.
- Don't lose your stuff forever: Collect your most valuable things; wallet & cell phone. Tape your address, phone number, twitter, instagram, snapchat, e-mail address, facebook link, kik, and linkedin information to the outside of your belongings. If you do lose something important, most people will be nice enough to try and get you your stuff back. It will most likely end up with the clean-up crew at the end of the night.
- Pros & cons of phone passcode: If you don't want to tape your info to your phone, you could unlock it. If someone finds an unlocked phone, they can try to figure out who you are by contacting someone in your recent calls – odds are, it's someone who you're with at the festival. The risk is that if the wrong person finds an unlocked phone they could be tempted to keep it, or dig around your private information. Just food for thought, your call.
- Update your emergency contacts: If you're traveling from New York to Las Vegas for EDC, you probably aren't bringing your parents – who are probably listed as your emergency contacts in your phone. Most people haven't updated this list, ever. Let's take mommy & daddy out, and put in the numbers of the friends you're traveling with. If something happens, and you need help, these are the people who are going to be there for you!
- Rethink that footwear: Specifically for women… Be fashionable, trendy, stylish, and flashy with your outfit – EXCEPT YOUR SHOES! This is simple; no open toes, and no heels. Want to be tagged as a ‘festival noobie'? Show up for EDC-Day 1 in 4″ stilettos. Yes, they make your legs look ridiculously sexy, but they aren't practical, not even a little bit. Also, whatever shoes you're going to wear aren't going to look good at the end of the weekend, so don't wear a brand new, $200 pair of Jordan's.
- Pick meet-up spots: Find large festival landmarks and use them as group totems. If everyone in the group knows where the ‘large teddy bear', ‘giant daisy‘, ‘really big tree', and ‘light dots' are, when you need to meet up with them, you'll be able to easily describe where you are.
- Alternate forms of communication: Especially good for groups traveling in 2 or more cars. It's a long drive to Vegas from anywhere. Walkie talkies are a much more effective way of talking to everyone than a group text on an iPhone. Stay in touch on the way to Vegas, once you get there, and in the festival.
- Bring unopened items: Every festival has their own guidelines as far as what's allowed in and what's not. Almost always, the rule is that open things (cigarettes, gum, chap stick, feminine hygiene) aren't allowed it. Stop at a drugstore on your way into town and buy 3 of everything. Keep them closed, and security will hopefully give you the green light.
- Get off the stages: Remember, you're the headliner, not the DJ. You paid for more than the music so why not enjoy it? Explore a bit, and make sure that you don't miss out on finding your paradise.
- Buy a locker: $90 seems like a lot for a locker, but it's worth it. Your group can all share one for the weekend. Regardless of how organized you think you are, the 7 minute fire show you try to record at midnight is going to crush your phone's battery. The lockers have chargers in them, and a safe place to keep your valuables. The less you have to worry about during the night, the more you can enjoy EVERYTHING. Buy a locker here: charginglockers…edclv2014
Now that you got all that; remember to have a good time. You're not there to take pictures – stay in the moment. Have the best weekend of your life, and try to help the people around you to do the same. EDC isn't EDC without the community. Meet incredible friends, and be free and unafraid.