Recently, I attended Firefly Music Festival in the woods of Dover, Delaware. It was four long days of trekking miles through ankle-deep mud, sweating my butt off, and paying way too much for overpriced hipster food (I've walked in the blazing hot sun all day; do you really think I want to pay $12 for a vegan lettuce wrap?). Despite the seemingly inhumane humidity and $4 water bottles, Firefly was one of the coolest and most memorable experiences of my life. I mean, how amazing is it to say I saw Morrissey, Cage the Elephant, Zedd, and Paul McCartney in one day? During my time at Firefly, I began thinking that I wish I would have known a few things before I made the journey to Delaware. Therefore, I would like to share my new wisdom with these 10 tips for surviving a music festival.
1. Plan your personal setlist to avoid getting lost.
Typically, music festivals release their set lists in advance so you can see which singers and bands will be performing each day. Once you arrive at the festival and try to navigate your way around, it can be overwhelming to figure out which bands you want to see most and when they're playing. By planning your schedule ahead of time, you can maximize your enjoyment and lower your stress level.
2. Budget your money ahead of time.
As mentioned before, nothing is more annoying than paying for overpriced food when you've already shelled out nearly $400 just to attend the festival. Since you can't bring food in the gates and you know everything will be pricey, save up! Making sure you have enough cash will keep you from having a meltdown when you realize it's day two and you have $20 left...I learned the hard way.
3. Take pictures.
This may seem obvious, but sometimes you forget to document what is happening when you're surrounded by thousands of people and singing your heart out. Snap some pics to remember it, and then go back to living in the moment.
4. Fashion is fun, but don't overdo it!
I know flash tattoos and bralettes are the hot new trends right now, but honestly, the humid, muddy woods are no place for the hottest styles. By the end of the day you'll probably end up sweating your glitter and face paint off, and that has to be a pain to clean. Have fun with your outfit choices, and make sure you express yourself, but also make sure you're comfortable!
5. Bring hand sanitizer.
Two words. Porta potties.
6. Wear shoes you don't mind destroying.
I'm not saying your shoes will be ruined, but mine definitely were. Just to be safe, I would leave the gladiator sandals at home. By day two all my desire to look cute was gone and I was in calf-high rain boots.
Just wear it. Do I have to say any more?
8. Prepare yourself for rowdy crowds.
Music festivals are typically filled with thousands of people excited to see the same bands and will fight for a spot in the front of the audience. Unfortunately, not all of these people will have the same boundaries as you and are definitely not afraid to push! The important thing to remember is to stick with your friends. People will be yelling and shoving and fist pumping all around you, but as long as you stay by your buddies, you'll have a great time (and maybe even make it to the front).
9. Stay hydrated.
The only thing that could ruin a long weekend of music, friends, and food would be passing out of dehydration. Don't be that person. Drink lots of water!
10. Don't hold back!
Music festivals are NOT the time to be self conscious! Don't be afraid to let loose and dance like crazy when your jam comes on. This is a once in a lifetime chance to see your favorite bands and spend quality time with your best friends. You don't want to look back and think "I wish I would've had more fun!" Go crazy, sing your heart out, and enjoy every second.