It’s officially music festival season, and we couldn’t be more excited. We have our outfits packed, our beauty looks planned, and our nails painted and ready to go. Still, festivals are intense, and we always get a little nervous going into a long weekend of crowds, less than ideal restroom situations and, of course, some light partying. If you’re also feeling apprehensive, worry not—preparation is key, and we’ve got your festival survival checklist right here.
Your Festival Survival Checklist
Every festival is different in terms of what you're allowed to bring in and what is considered contraband. Research before you go, and pack accordingly. As a general rule, bring cash and toilet paper, no matter what else is allowed.
We don't know about you, but we tend to envision hell as a place where we're cold and can't do anything about it. Be sure to bring layers that are easy to tie around your waist or shove into a bag, so you don't have to hold on to anything extra for hours on end (or keep track of where your sweater is).
The restroom situation is rough, but don't let that stop you from chugging water, particularly if you're consuming alcohol and/or in a hot summer climate. The only thing worse than using a Porta Potty is having to be carted off on a stretcher due to dehydration.
Which shows do you want to be up close and personal for, and which shows are you cool to hang back from for a bit? Decide this in advance and make sure you arrive to the ones you don't want to miss nerdishly early.
Even if you don't get claustrophobic, the sheer amount of people at festivals can be overwhelming. Give yourself time to breathe outside of the crowds, and chill out on the grass to recharge your batteries, especially on day one.
Actually, having to walk around with painful blisters for two or three days is even worse than being cold and without a sweater. We know you want to look cute, but you're going to regret any choice in footwear that isn't properly broken-in and built for endurance.
Even if your cell phone manages to stay charged—we suggest switching to airplane mode when you're watching shows, to conserve battery—it's often the case that there's no cell service at festivals. Plan for this by having designated meeting spots and moving in pairs whenever possible.
Unless you love having to wait crazy amounts of time to get home at the end of a long day of festival-ing, we suggest you sacrifice the second half of the final show in favor of booking it out of there before everyone else does the same. Trust us, this is always the best choice—you can listen to the songs you miss on your way home.
Again, check the rules on this one before you start packing, but having some nuts, crackers or granola bars in your bag is never a bad idea. Whatever you do, be sure you're eating regularly.
Let's talk about partying. "Fun" may be kind of the whole point of festivals (what music?), but that doesn't mean you should go as full-on as you would at a St. Patrick's Day party held across the street from your house. You need to last not only full days, but full weekends, and to do so you'll need to pace yourself. You do not want to end up being the person your friends have to take care of, crying into your beer, or engaging in otherwise regrettable or dangerous behavior. Be moderate in everything you do, party-wise—except for singing at the top of your lungs and dancing your heart out—and you're guaranteed to leave the festival grounds with both your health and dignity intact.