With Summer quickly approaching music festival season is in full swing. Kicking off with Coachella in Indio, California, which I recently attended myself, we embark on a multi-month music extravaganza from our very own Pemberton and Squamish to Lollapalooza and Sasquatch, to EDC and Bonnaroo. With this years top headliners encompassing everything from Mumford & Sons, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Florence & The Machine and of course, the EDM circuit, we are graced by the presence of sheer talent, let alone diversity, in this year’s lineup.
EDM in itself has become quite the phenomenon drawing entire festivals on its own. Think TomorrowLand and Electric Zoo, each headlining some of the biggest names in electronic music from Kaskade, Alesso, ODESZA and DJ Snake.
Some smaller name bands and artists of the indie variety, the kind in which can be accounted for the rise in popularity of many festivals, can be seen hopping festivals from Of Monsters and Men to Milky Chance and Ryn Weaver. Then, skirting the sidelines are the artists rounding out some of the more sundry attendants from Stromae, Marina and the Diamonds, Alabama Shakes and Hozier.
All in all, having attended a few of these festivals myself, I thought I would compile a list of tips for you to use if you are lucky enough to be attending any of them this Summer!
Water. The number one most important thing, make sure you continuously drink water throughout the day whether you have a single-day or entire weekend pass. You are going to be hot, sweaty, exhausted and dazed, meaning that it is crucial to stay hydrated. Some festivals will even have refill stations so if you buy a bottle you can continue to refill it throughout the day (but beware with it in the heat as it usually heats up.) Regardless, you won’t be feeling the best when the weekend is over but if you keep drinking water you’ll lessen the blow later on.
Make a schedule, but know that you won’t get to everyone you want to see. Most festivals today have apps where you can create schedules of all the artists you want to see and I highly suggest utilizing this function. It acts as a good general outline of how your weekend will go and helps you prioritize if you run into scheduling conflicts. However, you are bound to miss out on a few people so be prepared for the worst and make sure you have a select few that you really want to see. Also, I suggest leaving room to be able to walk around and discover new artists as well.
Dress for comfort. Festival fashion has become an entire trend staple in modern-day fashion ranging from fringe, knee-high gladiator sandals, boots, high-waisted shorts and a multitude of crop tops, many brands even putting out their own lines. While many of these options are enticing, practicality is key. I am a person who hates to dress down but in the case of my experiences, comfort is absolutely number one. Your feet will be throbbing like no other by the end of the night, a pain you have likely not experienced. Sandals, while cute, will only increase the likelihood of your feet being stepped on in large crowds and inevitable sunburns. I highly recommend either a pair of Converse or trendy Nikes. I would never have even fathomed the latter but after Coachella I would do anything to not feel that pain again. You will thank me later when you’re getting home at 3am and your feet aren’t killing. Also, particularly in my experiences, prepare for the dust. I came home from Coachella with my lungs coated in dust as well as a horrible sore throat and cough that lasted for weeks. A simple bandana could save your life. Lastly, prepare for colder nights. Some venues will have an option to rent out lockers to store other clothing in. Otherwise, wear/bring something light that’ll keep you warmer at night. Besides the fact, still have fun with it!
Plan ahead. I don’t think most people realize the amount of planning that goes into going to a music festival, especially if it isn’t within driving distance. Planning ahead is absolutely crucial to make sure you’ll be organized when the date rolls around. If you have everything planned out it will allow you to relax and just have a good time. Make sure you have all the details prepared at least a few weeks before the event from accommodation to car to flights to food, etc.
Make sure you have both cash and credit. Some festivals have the option to load money onto your wristband and promote going cashless (Squamish) but I’ve run into bad problems at both Coachella and Squamish where I needed cash and didn’t have any. Make sure you at least have a $20 on you at all times. Also, it’s just easier and more efficient to be able to pay for water in cash or by wristband if you can.
Make sure you have booked accommodation. If you are going for the entire weekend, make sure you’ve figured out where you’re going to stay early on. If you’ve decided to brave the tent or car camping, make sure it’s paid for and reserved. If you are staying in a nearby hotel or renting a house, make sure to book it early to ensure that there will be room. Accommodation does run out quickly and in particular hotels and spots for cars also. As with planning ahead, just make sure you are organized and that you are thinking of every detail.
Wear sunscreen/ Bring sunglasses and a hat. Some people don’t burn, or so they say. I highly, highly, advocate for not being cavalier about this, as even I often am. You will burn. With some of the more local festivals here in BC, you may not face the heat to the same extent but beware of the weather before you go. There is nothing worse than spending 12 straight hours in the sun and ending up with a horrible burn. That’s the other thing, make sure you are mentally, emotionally, and physically ready for the heat if you are going to be in a warmer place. Before Coachella, I had forgotten what it was like to be in that kind of intense heat. It is almost completely unbearable and you will not be comfortable. You have to walk slower, make time to sit down, wear a hat or sunglasses, drink water and just try to stay out of it as best as possible. Coachella has numerous indoor tents that we would often retreat to in the worst times of the day, but even in there you face the mugginess. Just be prepared and know that it won’t always be a good time.
DO NOT over-tighten your wristband. It sounds simple but you would be surprised at the majority of people who don’t heed to this simple rule. Most wristbands used today have to remain on for the duration of the weekend and can only be cut off. Once tightened, they will only continue to tighten and will not loosen whatsoever. There is nothing worse than a wristband too tight as I have witnessed firsthand (no pun intended). They already aren’t very comfortable but if they’re cutting off your circulation, as well, you will not be happy. I suggest being able to fit at least 2-3 fingers in it and being very cautious while putting it on. Do not have a friend put it on, as I did, as they may accidentally over-tighten it and you have no choice but to leave it as is. Leave it up to yourself so you have nobody else to blame if you make it too tight.
Pace yourself. Also, an obvious one, it is critical to be able to pace yourself throughout the weekend. If you go all out on night one, you are going to regret it in the ensuing days. Set aside time each day to just be able to sit, eat and rest. You need to be able to recuperate and you won’t be having much downtime. I have never been more exhausted and dazed as I was coming home from Coachella. Also, the whole time I was there it didn’t even feel real and kinda just went by. So, regardless of how well you are able to pace yourself you will be worn out but if you try your best it will definitely help to soften how hard you’re hit later on.
Have fun! We go to music festivals to have a great time and you definitely will. They are the most insane, crazy experience that you will definitely not regret as long as you follow all, or even most of these tips. Try not to get too bogged down, just go with the flow, be in the present, stay hydrated and have fun!
Sasquatch!, The Gorge Amphitheater, George, Washington (Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Of Monsters and Men, Modest Mouse)— May 22nd-25th, 2015
Cavchella: Collingwood, Morven Campus, Private Event (Band TBA) – June 8th, 2015
FVDED in the Park, Holland Park, Surrey, BC (The Weeknd, deadmau5, Tyler the Creator, Flosstradamus)— July 3rd-4th, 2015
Pemberton Music Festival, Pemberton, BC (Kendrick Lamar, The Black Keys, J.Cole, Tiesto)— July 16th-19th 2015
Squamish Valley Music Festival, Squamish, BC (Mumford & Sons, Drake, Sam Smith, Kaskade)— August 7th-9th 2015
Bumbershoot, Seattle, Washington (The Weeknd, Zedd, Ellie Goulding, Hozier)— September 5th-7th, 2015
Rifflandia, Victoria, BC (TBA)— September 17th-20th, 2015
Mad Decent Block Party (partial festival) PNE Amphitheater, Vancouver, BC (Dillon Francis, Major Lazer, more TBA)— September 6th, 2015
By: Emily Larman