I absolutely love going to music festivals. It very well may be my favorite thing to do during the summer months here in Chicago. This year, The Mister Project and I will be hitting up Mamby on the Beach (I have NO idea what to expect there), Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest. I learned from my first music fest, Coachella 2008, that when it comes to packing your backpack or purse for the day, it really is better to be safe than sorry. For instance, the Port-a-Potties are fully stocked and clean for the first half of the first day…but two or three days in, it’s an entirely different story. Or what about after a day of your friends guzzling thermos size wine bottles at Lollapalooza, how in the world does one keep the group together??? Glow sticks: problem solved. It’s all about troubleshooting and eliminating any issues prior to entering the fest. Today, I will give you my best tips to going about your music festivals this season, as well as what to pack to help ensure you have the best fest experience yet without any major hiccups along the way. Unless, of course, you chug fifty Bud Lights at Lolla and get the hiccups, there’s nothing I can do to help you there. Ok, let’s do this!
Squat it out! By day three, toilet seats could be scarier looking than Gwar on stage. I’ll never forget when my friend Courtney opened the door to a port-a-pottie on day two of Coachella and looked like she was going to cry and barf. It was awful, but she had no choice but to suck it up and get in there. I like the “hold on tight and squat” technique. Lock the door, hold onto the door handle and, you guessed it, squat, don’t sit. #holdyourbreath
Need a dollar? It’s easy to run through cash fast at a fest. Besides the cash you keep in your wallet or backpack, throw a ten or twenty in your bra. You may end up saving the day with that extra few bucks put aside. You can also hide other things there too. #justsayin
Meet you there! Phone service can be spotty when there are thousands of humans in one open space. If you lose your fest partner or group, designate a spot to meet in case of an emergency.
Follow the leader. As I mentioned earlier, it can be easy to lose your group. If your group is hell bent on sticking together, have something to hold up that everyone can see. Whether it’s a giant photo of your best friend who couldn’t make it, an umbrella or a balloon, it’ll definitely help keep peeps moving along in one piece. I like to opt for my go to glow sticks to keep our group in tact. Works every time.
Stage left or right? It’s inevitable you will need to leave the group for a mad dash to the beer tent or bathroom. If your group is cool, they will stay put until you return. Stand facing the stage and line up whatever is to your right or left. X marks the spot!
What’s the word Tom Skilling? Typically it’s hot as hell during Chicago fests. However, the lake is right here and it can get pretty nippy once the show ends. There is nothing worse than freezing your booty off while stranded for a ride back home. Pack something, anything, to keep you warm while you wait. Why be miserable? Also, know your climate. Back during our Sasquatch adventure 2013, I underestimated the desert climate and spent $100 on a candy apple red sweatsuit once night fell. Yes, you read that right…a sweatsuit. #toptobottom
Listen to the music. At this very moment, The Mister Project is creating a playlist for this weekend’s Mamby at the Beach. It’s a great way to get everyone psyched for the fest and to get a bit familiar with what we’ll be hearing in a few days. Hop on Spotify and set that up!
HYDRATE. I can’t even keep track of how many times I have seen teeny boppers being carted away at the beginning of the day. It’s obviously one of two things; too much booze or bad pills. Say no to the latter of the two and hydrate between beers young ones…and old ones too. That includes me. You are able to bring in an empty CamelBak or two sealed store bought water bottles and refill them during the day.
Buy, Sell, Trade. If you are ready to leave and have drink or food tickets left, sell them to people waiting in line. Why waste? Also, just from experience….glowsticks are great currency.
Where and When. Check the schedule and figure out a game plan. Smaller fests can be easier to navigate and overlap artists if need be…however, gigantic fests, not so much. Be prepared to have to debate one artist over the other. Sadly, it happens more often than we would all like.
Your feet. You can go in many different directions here. Flip flops, gladiator sandals, sneakers, booties, you name it. Whatever you do choose, make sure you can do an entire day of walking and standing in them. And keep in mind, they’re probably going to get trashed to a degree, so keep your Tory Birch sandals at home.
Anything can happen! In the words of Ellie Goulding, anything can happen. It’s a music fest and that’s what’s so exciting about it. Plan ahead, but then again, you never know what amazing adventure may take place!
Know What To Pack:
I can never be too prepared. You better believe if someone needs something, I usually have it in my trusty back pack. It’s possible you can be in the hot sun for 3-7 hours, you want to be prepared. Here is what will be in my backpack this festival season.
Other things to pack:
A light sweater
Poncho (if it’s calling for rain)
Charger (believe me, when you’re stuck at bar after walking for ages looking for a cab, you’ll be happy you brought it.)
If you need more info on which fest to get to this summer, check out The Mister Project’s guide to Chicago’s music fest season. There you have it festival goers! Have a safe and happy season!
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