A Very Important Festival Survival Kit
    • TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2017

    • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch

    We are well into festival season now, no matter how in denial I am about it. Coachella and Boston Calling have already passed - so sad - but we still have a lot to look forward to, like Governors Ball (June 2-4), Bonnaroo (June 8-11), Firefly (June 15-18), Panorama (July 28-30), Lollapalooza (August 3-6), and more. We haven't even listed half of the festivals, and it seems like there are new ones being created every year (Fyre, anyone?). While festivals are one hell of a fun time, they also have a nasty reputation for being dehydrating monsters ridden with iPhone robbers and overpriced food, but I have some good news. After attending a questionable amount of festivals and, literally getting paid to do it, I guess you can consider me as a "festival professional," a "festiologist" if you will, and lucky for you, I have some pro tips that will help you survive all the way until the end of the weekend...Because festivals are like a jungle, baby, and you gotta survive. (I don't know. I just made that up. It's not a movie quote or anything. It doesn't even really make sense.)

    PRO TIP #1: Wear sunscreen.

    I know, everyone tells you this all the time. But there's a reason why your mom, your coworkers, and your friends all keep repeating themselves: it's one of the most important things (besides pro tip #2). Of course you want to get a nice tan over the weekend, and trust me, you will. With barely no shade and the sun's weirdly amplified strength, you're going to not only wear some sunscreen, but remember to reapply several times.


    PRO TIP #2: Drink water.

    And not just your regular 8 cups a day. I'm talking liters. Once again, that sun is hot - it will cause you to sweat, and even if you don't feel too dehydrated, you're actually losing a lot of your bodily fluids (ew, that sounds gross). FUN FACT: When I attended Bonnaroo in 2016, on day 3 I drank 5 water bottles and a Gatorade AND I DID NOT HAVE TO PEE. That just goes to show how much water your body is soaking up - because it needs it! And you can actually watch me complain a lot throughout that horrific experience below.

    PRO TIP #3: Stop thinking that fanny packs are lame.

    ...Because they're not. Why would something that offers nothing but convenience and safety ever be considered as geeky? Oh that's right, because y'all are about the LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG lifestyle. Well, get over that "too cool for school" mentality and invest in one of these bad boys, because they will seriously save your life - and possibly your wallet. Earlier this year at Coachella, it was reported that a man was arrested for stealing over 100 iPhones and then the next weekend, another five people were arrested for the same thing.

    I was one of the people who *sort of* experienced this at Coachella myself... Well, I heard about it from other people. So how does it happen? Basically, the phone thieves will sometimes pair up - one pretends to be drunk and bump into you while the other goes in your pockets for the good stuff while you're distracted. You know what would solve this? A fanny pack - that way, everything is zipped up and in front of you at all times.

    If you want to use a backpack, I get it, but know that it's also pretty damn easy to slip into while it's on your back. I had this problem when I attended Coachella, so you know what I did? I sucked up my pride and wore my backpack on my front when I went into bigger crowds. It sounds silly but it worked, and hey, it feels like a hug!

    Plus, I'm pretty sure Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is bringing back fanny packs anyway, so you don't even have to worry about it squashing your cool factor.

    PRO TIP #4: You will not catch all of the acts you want to see. Accept this now.

    I've gone through some serious sadness after missing one of my favorite acts. It's usually because of schedule overlap (Childish Gambino and Phoenix are playing at the same exact time, really Gov Ball?) or because the friends you're with disagree with your musical choice (can we even call people with bad music taste "friends"?). I used to get upset after missing a band, but after adopting a more carefree mindset and realizing that hey, festivals are way more fun if you don't care as much, I've enjoyed myself a lot more.

    And conversely, if you're missing acts because of conflicts with friends, it is okay to separate for a set to catch someone alone. Just make sure that you all have a meeting place at a strict time, because cell service isn't really a thing on festival grounds. And that leads me to my 5th tip...

    PRO TIP #5: Just assume your cell phone won't be usable.

    Yes, you will physically have your cell phone, but you won't be able to use it much. When it's busy not getting any service, it will be running out of battery by mid-day. I can't even fathom how many time I've split up with my friends with my famous last words being, "I'll text you when I'm ready to meet" only to end up spending the rest of the night alone. Just be safe and assume that your cell phone isn't reliable and instead, if you have to split up, come up with a meeting spot at a specific meeting spot.

    PRO TIP #6: But invest in a portable phone charger.

    Yeah, yeah, I just told you to pretend your phone is useless, but still, having a charged phone is better than having a dead one... Plus, you'll need it once you get off fest grounds and travel back home.

    You when you get that battery life up to 100:

    PRO TIP #7: Don't get too drunk.

    Here's another one you've probably heard before - and for good reason. Not only is over-drinking terrible for your body in the extreme heat, but it's also terrible for your wallet! At $10-15 a beer, you'd be better off nourishing your body with a meal... Which again, leads me to my next tip...

    (Don't be this guy)

    PRO TIP #8: Eat properly.

    Like drinks, festival food is notoriously overpriced, so you might want to bring some of your own snacks - and healthy snacks. I learned the hard way. Right before Radiohead's set, I downed an enormous plate of paella, and while it was delicious, it put me to sleep halfway through the legendary band's set. Do you know how mad I was? So, to make sure that doesn't happen to you, eat things that are somewhat light but that will fill you up and fuel your body for the rest of the day - fruit, nuts, energy bars, etc. I know you have your eye on that $15 pulled pork sandwich - and trust me, so do I - but save it for the last meal on the last day, when you're ready to go home and take 24 hour long nap.

    This is exactly what I looked like when I was eating my $16 paella, tbh:

    So, hopefully something good came out of my bad experiences and you now know have the proper tools to come out of a festival alive. Drink water and wear sunscreen - it's harder than it sounds, but I have complete faith in you all. Good luck!

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