You’ve all heard the motto “No regrets (ragrets).” And a lot of us choose to live by it. But, it would be unrealistic of me to say there are certain things that I would have done differently this past festival season. I didn’t necessarily regret things – but there were definitely things I wish I had known going into my spring and summer of shows and festivals.
So – in order to make your festival experience as enjoyable as possible, here are some tips I picked up – from the internet or other festival goers – that took my experience above and beyond all expectation!
Pack Your Outfits in Large Ziplock Baggies
This SAVED my life at Tomorrowworld. I read the tip online before I left, and decided to give it a try. It made my life insanely easy, because each day’s outfit and accessories were together I didn’t need to do any fishing through of my suitcases or purses. And, with the rain, it helped keep my outfits dry and free of mud. Plus, if you’re heading to a camping festival, you can reuse the ziplock baggies for garbage or to organize your kandi, jewelry, or the contents of your wallet. And one more thing – if the festival gets muddy like Tomorrowworld did, you can put your worn outfits back in the baggies to keep the rest of your belongings clean!
Someone in your Group Needs a Camelback
If you want the honest truth, it would probably be best for everyone to have a cambelback – they save you time and money, and are super efficient when it comes to festivals. But, as long as one person in your group has one, you guys are able to stick together most of the festival, and you don’t mind sharing, you will be in good shape. Sure, you can refill a plastic water bottle at refill stations, but those bottles are a pain to hold and barely hold anything. You can even take turns holding it and going to refill!
DRIVING > Flying
This isn’t always practical, especially when you’re traveling cross-country or even across the world. But, after flying to Tomorrowworld this past year and seeing our experience compared to those who drove – I wished I sucked it up and made the 15-hour drive. First off – splitting gas usually makes the trip cheaper than flying. And secondly, and more importantly, driving allows you to bring a TON of food, water, drinks, and supplies. You can even transport fun items like totems or more complicated costumes that you wouldn’t be able to do if you flew. And for those of you who are too intimidated by the drive back – rent a car going down, and fly going back! Chances are you’ll consume most of the supplies you came down with, so flying back should be a breeze.
An expensive portable charger or charging locker is a necessity
Trust me on this one. I probably bought 10 $5 portable chargers this past summer – either from websites like Groupon or stores like Five Below. But the most battery I got from any of them was about an extra 40%. I even splurged a little on a “solar powered” charger for Tomorrowworld (ironic because of the weather) that didn’t even give me more than 20% before dying! It’s SUPER VITAL to keep your phone charged in case of an emergency or to find lost friends, and we encourage you to use your phone as little as possible. So – here’s my advice. Split a charging locker between your rave fam. You can take turns plugging your phone in AND split the cost. This ultimately keeps your items safe and charged.
BABY WIPES & BABY POWDER
I never thought I would be using baby products as a 25-year-old raver. But I am! And these two simple purchases saved me, as well as some of my friends, this past summer. As we all know, festival port-a-potties are rarely fully stocked with toilet paper or hand sanitizer. So get small travel packs of either baby wipes or wet wipes, and keep them in your fanny pack/camelback throughout the day. You will be glad you did! On a similar note, baby powder can be great – both for relieving any scrapes you may have gotten throughout the day, or doubling as dry shampoo for those of us who don’t want to go through the pain of washing slightly greasy hair.
Research when you need to buy your ticket
This varies, based on the individual. But we all know festivals are expensive. So, instead of panicking, buying your ticket the day they go on sale, and struggling to make ends meet for the next four months while you finish out your payment plan – breathe – and realize that there will pretty much always be a way to get to a festival. There are SO many people who sell their passes at the last minute – even for discounted rates – that there really isn’t much need to lock your ticket in prematurely. The only downsides are, however, that you a) won’t get the cool ticket box in the mail and b) you could become victim to scams. And this isn’t a foolproof method – there are some shows that sell out within minutes, and others that are more difficult to get late tickets for. But as long as you do your research, and try not to buy anything without having some kind of budget set up, you’ll be golden.
Be an Active Participant on Festival Facebook Groups/Social Media
I didn’t really realize how cool these groups are until Tomorrowworld. And not every festival will have one. But, these festival attendee groups are AWESOME. You can meet people, buy cool, custom-made merch, ask questions, and even find people to carpool with! Even with Tomorrowworld 2015 a thing of the past, I still check the group on the reg, and see what my Tomorrowworld fam is up to.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Recover
This, again, is easier said than done for most. But one of the biggest mistakes I made this festival season was booking the red eye home from EDCLV on Monday night. I didn’t realize that a late checkout would be impossible, and was forced to check out of my room by 10 am and sit in the airport until my flight back to the east coast left at 8 pm. Trust me – it is worth it to take an extra day of time off to recover. Plus, the last thing you want is for all of your coworkers to judge you from your emotional and physical state after a festival. Before your festival season begins, try to map out the time off you have for the year, and when you should use it. My advice – use as little time off as you can for local festivals, and focus on making the most of your EDCLV, Ultra, Electric Forest, Mysteryland, and Tomorrowworld/Tomorrowland journeys.
Use your Phone Minimally and Intelligently
To put it bluntly – you will have little to no service during most festivals. And that’s something we should all be prepared for by now on. But, for most of us, it’s not practical to leave phones at home, in case you get separated, need it for an emergency, or simply want to document your experience with pictures and videos. So – if you don’t already, make use of the following festival phone tips:
- Keep your phone on airplane mode as much as possible
- Set your background to your name and contact information, in case the phone gets lost
- Make separate albums on your phone to keep pictures and videos organized by day/festival
- Download the festival app (if applicable)
- Turn notifications on for your favorite DJS (Twitter/Instagram) so you can be up to date on any changes/cool things they might be doing at the fest – you never know, they could even be walking around the crowd
- If you get lost, take a photo of your location and [try] to send it to your rave fam to help reunite the group
- If that doesn’t work, you can also try sharing your location
Your Festival Experience is in Your Control – Make the Most of It
While all of us have, undoubtedly, faced a setback or two (or ten) during a festival, your vibe and attitude can help completely turn that around. Go into your 2016 festival season with a positive attitude, and your vibe and energy will radiate through to others. That’s why so many of us choose a festival for the “vibes” rather than the lineup – the atmosphere and character of others around you really does alter your experience. There’s a saying for athletes that you should leave the jersey in a better place than when you got it – and the same goes for a festival. Make each year better than the next, and every dollar spent and mile traveled will be worth it!