Music festival season has (un)officially started for 2015 and just having attended CRSSD Festival in San Diego (which was absolutely beautiful), I feel compelled to give a few of my tips and tricks to attending music festivals. If you are going to Ultra, Coachella, EDC, or the hundreds of others yet to happen in 2015 this will be a useful guide for you! I know that there are so many negative posts circulating the internet about music festivals and the inconveniences they bring to those attending them. I also know that there is a lot of hatred and opposition to these events by those who refuse to attend, and dissatisfied attendees alike. However, the number of festival attendees is higher than it has ever been in history and some festivals such as Coachella sold out in record breaking time.
Therefore, this list is aimed at those who will be attending music festival and will just ignore those opposing them! I love music festivals and according to the statistics, so do the masses. So let us just stray away from these negative stigmas circulating the internet and let me enlighten you on the mindsets you need (in my opinion) to have some some fun! These festivals are expensive in price and time so it would be a shame to waste both by not enjoying yourself. Many of you reading this will be first time festival attendees and many will not. I learn new things every time I attend an event and those new and familiar with the scene always have something to learn in my opinion. I have been attending festivals, raves, and concerts for a considerable portion of my life and i have learned a lot throughout the years about maximizing your fun and experience at these events. There has been many instances where I have a terrible time, and barring some sort of extraneous circumstance in which I could not change, these bad times have been my fault. Adversely, the good times have been a product of my own personal doing as well.
Attending festivals can be life changing and that depends on a couple of mental factors, as I have learned in all of my encounters at music festivals (there are hundreds of posts about what physical items needed for festival success so I excluded anything about that). Therefore this will be a list (I know, lists are sooo tacky) of four rules I live by at music festivals. Four rules seems like a small list, but I feel as if it covers a wide enough range to ensure your enjoyment at a festival.
Rule #1: Be nice to everybody. One of my best friends told me years ago at an event and it has stuck with me ever since. A festival is very much like a community. Everybody is there for a common purpose and interest. This means that there is automatically some sort of unspoken bond between me (or subsequently you) and any given person at this festival. Socializing and having conversations with these random diverse people is one of the most interesting things about music festivals to me. I like to think of everyone attending as part of my family there. We are all part of the same culture and the same world. Being nice and cordial really opens yourself to come into contact with more people and that is a very enriching experience. If I ever see anyone in need of things like water, food, or companionship I am never afraid to reach out because I would hope for the same treatment back. I have made so many friends and so many memories by just a simple act of kindness towards another and you will be surprised how much more pleasant and event can be when you ditch any sort of malice and just allow yourself to bring a positive attitude to the table (and who doesn't like having friends?).
I know there are so many of these lists and memes of the “worst” kinds of festival people, but in my opinion that is being the highest form of judgmental. I think that closing yourself off to people for anything besides negative behaviors is not cool at all! Everyone has a story and everyone has some sort of experience to add to yours. So please be nice to everybody and I think you will be surprised at how much this will enhance your time at a festival by opening up your social circles there. *Disclaimer* I know there are all sorts of people with bad intentions and overall bad attitudes so please take my advice carefully and do not make yourself vulnerable to danger.
Rule#2: Immerse yourself in the culture and open your mind. This is very important to me. Festivals, much like traveling to foreign place, have their own unique culture tailored to the type of event being put on. To not experience all that these places have to offer is robbing yourself of an experience. I like to “get lost” at festivals. This is a concept I have been playing around with for years. Pretty much it is trying to involve yourself in all of the events taking place and discovering everything a festival has to offer either by yourself or with a group. It pretty much simulates the feeling of being lost by aborting any sort of plan or map and just following the flow of movement in a festival. Try to explore the grounds, stages, and the art. There is so much to be found at these places and to just full on get “lost” at these events really helps to forcibly experience everything.
In addition, to losing yourself in the physical part of the festival, this concept coincides with my first rule of “being nice to everybody”. It is very surprising how easy it is to spark an adventure by just opening up and being sociable and pleasant! *Disclaimer* I know there are all sorts of people with bad intentions and overall bad attitudes so please take my advice carefully and do not make yourself vulnerable to danger.
Rule #3: Ditch your ulterior motives and make music your priority! I have caught myself having ulterior motives in attending a festival and when I have become dependent of these ulterior motives, my festival experience has always been diluted. Whether my motive was going to get “messed up”, going to meet girls, or a multitude of other things related, these type of actions seem to take away focus from the bigger picture. When there is some sort of motive placed into attending an event, I have noticed personally that I become consumed in search of the motive or the motive itself (alcohol, girls, etc…) and when I feel unfulfilled in the search for these things, it makes the whole experience feel as if it was a failure.
Make music your priority. Music will never fail you at these events. Artists spend so much time and effort to make their live sets incredible. This is where they gain their income so trust me, you will not be disappointed if you pay attention to these sets. You are paying for entertainment so take advantage of that! Let us not forget that the main objective of these festivals is to see a bunch of your favorite artists (or artists in your favorite genres) collectively in one space in the biggest party you have ever been to. I am sure you paid your ticket entrance with actually viewing the artists playing in mind. These events are all about atmosphere put forth so please do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in that, rather than other external factors or motives. While, I am not saying you absolutely have to attend every single artists set you planned, please enjoy yourself and watch some sets!
Rule #4: Be yourself. This may seem like an obvious tip, but I feel as it is not embraced enough. A festival is a place where you can escape the confines of everyday life to express yourself in any way you want (within reason). Go out and have fun and dance an sing if you want to! These are the only moments where you will be joined by thousands of other people in your enjoyment. Go out and make some memories. There have been many times where I do not want to be judged for enjoying myself and making a fool of myself, but trust me nobody will view you negatively! Nobody remembers the cool guy (or girl) just standing around, yet everyone remembers that guy (or girl) that is having the greatest time of his life. These events are pretty much your safe zone. Most people there will not even be paying attention to you as people tend to be consumed in the music (rule#3 haha).
There have been so many times where I am singing and dancing and I am joined by those around me in the crowd. It becomes and interactive experience and you will be met with the same excitement you are putting out by those around you. Do not be worried about anybody judging you because as I have learned, these are people you do not want to associate with anyways! So be yourself and just let loose and do whatever you want to do (again, within reason haha)!
If you loosely follow these four rules I have set forth, I am sure you will find yourself enjoying your festival experience. These rules serve as a guideline to make it easier on yourself to have fun. I know we often times get involved with so many other external factors rather than what is right there in front of us. So please remember to just enjoy the music, be yourself, be nice to everybody and take the whole experience in!