A Year In Music Festivals

As line-up season approaches us (quickly and with an exciting force) I can’t help but reflect on the last 12 months of music festivals and what I’ve learned from each one. I’m compiling a list of 12 tips, tricks or just simple things to know before the next season begins.

  1. Try out those new boots you got BEFORE you step foot on the festival grounds.

No amount of White-claw can distract you from how awful your feet hurt. Furthermore, the realization that you still have probably 12 more hours wearing them can hurt even more.

2. To plan or not to plan: outfit edition. 

If you’re into planning your outfits in advance, go full force and pack them all into gallon zip lock bags too. If you’re not into that kind of planning, don’t overwhelm yourself, bring some staples pieces to mix and match will make you feel just as good.

3. Speaking of planning, just pack smarter in general. 

For camping, pack into storage bins. You can store these outside of your tent under a canopy, double them as tables if you need and just keep your things as water tight as possible. If you’re staying in a hotel or airbnb, do your darndest to keep your sh*t together and actively try to stay organized. I promise, it will be far more fun if your space away from the music is fresh every time you get home…or to the tent that is. 

4. Food trucks, late night snacks and $12 iced coffees. 

If you’re a foodie like Mamie Babes tend to be, you may be thinking about how you're going to survive on festival food alone. Packing an excess of snacks seems like the smart solution, but don’t go overboard. No matter how much you’re going to “try to save $$” or “get some good protein before we go” it rarely works out that way. Stock up on granola bars and a few late night munchies, but don’t be concerned about bringing avocados for everyone to enjoy some avocado toast.

5. Hydrate, hydrate and then hydrate again. 

On the other hand, definitely bring more water/electrolytes/Gatorade/Liquid IV than you think you’ll need. You will need A LOT. Remaining hydrated is the most important thing you can do at a festival. If you want to drink that claw, tequila soda or local beer, you will need to match that with some H2O. 

6. No show is worth passing out over. 

With staying hydrated and healthy also comes the ability to party as long as you want. Without it, the party tends to fizzle a lot quicker. It may seem like sitting in the pit for six hours to be at the barricade for your favorite band is so worth it, but let’s set the scene: it is 101 degrees outside, the sun is beating down and you spent the entire night before exploring the festival and making new festy besties. Unless you have a hydration pack that holds three gallons of water, sitting in the pit for the whole day will probably not end in a fun night. Do everything in moderation, know your body & know when it’s time to chill on a blanket in the shade. 

7. Wear sunscreen, sunscreen has never been known to ruin an outfit, sunburn does. 

The one thing that can really dull the sparkle of the completely sequined bikini you plan on wearing on day three is a nasty sunburn. The best way to prevent a good burn from putting a halt to your best festival outfit? Sunscreen. Wear it, they make shimmery versions if you’re into that. (Side note, see picture for the real reason this made the list: “ask me about free glitter” sunburned into the chest of yours truly.)

8. Incorporate a swimsuit into your outfit, you never know when a water feature will appear in time of need.

On the topic of grueling sunshine, bring a swimmy! Some big festivals are known for having really fun water features, i.e. Bonnaroo’s famous fountain and two story waterslide. 

9. Don’t be crushed if you can’t be front row for your favorite artist. 

Speaking from experience, this will impact your night HARD if you let it. Where you end up in the crowd is more or less out of your control, so let the night take you where it wants to! You never know who you will meet in the crowd of your favorite band. You may even end up near the VIP entrance and be given some free seltzers and make lifelong buddies, again, this is from experience. 

10.  Make a budget and stick by it. 

Going broke at the hands of a music festival is not worth it. Save up some cash and make a daily budget for yourself. Leave some wiggle room for merch and unexpected goodies, but no need to go overboard on the fanciest meals, unless of course, it's in the budget. 

11. Be kind to people around you and have each other's backs. 

You’re out at a music festival! Be kind to the people around you. It is so lame to be mean. If someone is jamming out a little too hard, just move over. Are people in your section screaming the words a bit too loud? Time to venture to another area! Everyone enjoys music in their own way, let them live and they’ll let you live too! However, if someone is being weird or making you or someone around you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to ask for backup. There are plenty of people who will help you out and have your back. 

12. And lastly, support your craft/food vendors!

Once we’re out there, we may look like we’re having a blast (& we are) but there is so much work that goes into bringing out our stuff and making the experience that much better for you guys! We likely have been there for days ahead of the festival preparing, so be sure to stop in and say hi! Even if you aren’t buying, we just want to hang out with everyone and spread festy love! 

Thanks for reading! I super hope to see you allllll out there for our 2023 season! Until then, cheers!

Written by Olivia Lake @livluvlake