The 14 Best Summer Festival Survival Tips
Summer has returned, and that means summer festivals have returned as well. Whether it be a music festival, food festival, beer festival, arts festival, or comedy festival, any festival you plan to attend will require a bit of research, preparation, and knowledge to be enjoyed fully.
Regardless of which festival you’re attending, you want to be sure you’re able to enjoy it fully. If you’re wondering what exactly goes into navigating a festival, we’re here to help. Our extensive summer festival survival guide has been designed to ensure you have the greatest experiences this summer.
Before the Festival
So you’re getting ready for the festival, but don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, the feeling is completely normal, but we’re here to help. Take things one step at a time, and start with preparation.
1. Buy Your Ticket
Before anything else, make sure the festival you’re interested in has tickets available for purchase. More popular festivals like Coachella sell out long before their date, so if you can, buy your tickets as far in advance as possible.
With the shocking number of festivals going on during the summer, there’s guaranteed to be one out there that meets your interests. If you do a little digging you may be surprised by what you find, as there are some truly bizarre festivals out there. If you don’t believe us, check out this list of the weirdest festivals in the world.
If you’re struggling to figure out which festivals out there may fit you, try asking yourself a few questions:
A. What are my hobbies?
B. What types of music do I enjoy?
C. What are my favorite foods?
D. What are my favorite beers and spirits?
E. What styles of art do I enjoy?
Once you know which types of festivals interest you, think about planning and accessibility and ask yourself these questions:
A. How far is the festival from where I live?
B. How am I going to get to it?
C. Do I want to camp out while there?
D. How much am I willing to spend on entry and transportation?
2. Choose Your Access Level
General Admission and VIP can provide completely different experiences at festivals. General admission is more affordable and gives attendees more of the “amongst the people” vibe, but lacks the amenities the VIP experience offers. While VIP tickets typically cost hundreds or even thousands more than general admission, most people find that they’re worth the investment.
Here are a few of the differences between VIP and General Admission:
A. Lavish seating and hangout areas
B. Complementary food & beverage
C. Air conditioned, private restrooms
D. Private entrances
E. Souvenir packages
A. Larger walking and seating areas
B. More guests to engage with
C. Less of an exclusive attitude amongst attendees
If you’re having a hard time finding tickets through the festival’s original seller, look into contacting a reseller. Resellers are licensed or individual ticket holders that may be interested in selling a few to you for a different price.
To find licensed ticket holders, take a look at these sites:
For individual ticket holders, check out sites like:
3. Lock in Transportation
Now that you know which festival you’re going to, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get there. Because you’re likely going to the festival with a group, you may want to consider transportation that will allow you and your friends to travel together.
Check out a few options for group travel to a festival:
A. Ride-Sharing Services
Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft assign you your own personal driver and let you pick the destination. You can travel with up to five friends if you request the UberXL or Lyft Plus feature, and if you’re traveling with two or three friends you can split the costs by requesting an UberPool or Lyft Line
One of the more traditional forms of transportation, a taxi is still a reliable way to get to a festival. While less expensive car-services are now more popular, taxis are dependable and are a good option if you want to keep things simple.
C. Public Transportation
Never underestimate the convenience of public transportation. Fares for buses and trains are very affordable, so talk with your group and decide if this is the best option.
D. Charter or Minibus
If you’re traveling with a larger group, renting a minibus or charter bus is the perfect decision. Vehicles such as these give you the ability to transport anywhere from 18 to 56 passengers at a time, and you’re able to carry any bags, food, or personal items you’re interested in bringing.
4. Pack The Essentials
Most of the time, you don’t really need to bring much to a festival. If anything, you’ll probably want to carry as few items as possible, since you’ll face prolonged periods of standing, walking, and moving. Regardless, there are a few essential items that you may want to consider packing:
A. Water – standing outside on a hot day will surely dehydrate you. Make sure you keep a bottle of water on you at all times. If you’re seeking a durable, stylish container, look into Camelbak brand water bottles.
B. Snacks – if you don’t want to buy food at the venue, bring a few treats that will hold you over throughout the day. CLIF Bars are tasty, affordable snacks that will keep you going when your stomach starts growling.
C. Sunblock – many people fail to realize the dangers of standing in the Sun for prolonged periods of time. Reduce the potential health risks of sun exposure with sunblock of at least SPF 30. Bullfrog’s high-performance sunscreens are designed to withstand high temperatures, are water resistant, and repel mosquitos.
D. Sunglasses – along with protecting your skin, you’ll want to protect your eyes from the Sun’s ultraviolet rays. Polarized sunglasses are recommended, but Sunglass Warehouse also provides a myriad of stylish festival sunglasses for you to choose from.
E. Identification – whether it’s your driver’s license, passport or a state issued ID, make sure you have some form of identification with you. This will ensure you’re able to verify tickets as yours, will prove you’re old enough to buy alcohol, and will allow you to identify yourself in the case of emergency. Because festivals can get a bit wild, it may be a wise decision to invest in a Specialist ID badge holder and lanyard. Wearing your ID around your neck can help you keep track of it in the midst of activity.
F. Earplugs – if you’re at a music festival, the speakers will be at a deafening volume. Check out EarPeace’s high fidelity ear plugs to reduce the intensity on your ears.
G. Portable Battery Pack – you’ll be surprised how quickly your phone runs through its battery when you have no access to an outlet. Ravpower’s portable battery packs will give you a few extra hours of battery life when you need it most.
H. Weekend Bag – check the rules for whichever festival you may be attending. Chances are you’ll be allowed to bring a backpack, which will make it much easier to carry all of these items into the event. Take a look at Oliberte’s durable, hand-crafted leather backpacks, ideal for outdoor activity.
I. Tent – if you’re going to a multi-day festival, you may want to camp out with your friends instead of reserving a hotel and finding transportation to and from it. Get yourself a Coleman camping tent that can accommodate everyone in your party, and toss in the essentials (sleeping bags, pillows, blankets)
5. Eat Before You Go
Unless you’re going to a food festival, make sure you eat a nice meal before you head out. Refreshments at the event are likely to be astronomically priced, so try to consume a healthy, balanced meal beforehand.
During the Festival
At festivals, staying in contact with your group can be difficult. There are so many people in such a vast area, you can easily lose track of your party in a matter of seconds. To mitigate some of the stresses of losing your friends, utilize these strategies:
6. Move As a Group
At a big festival, few things are more frightening than losing track of your group. To prevent this, make sure you use the “buddy system” and try to keep everyone in the same area when getting food, using the restroom, or taking a break.
7. Establish Meetup Spots & Times
Because it’s easy to lose track of friends, it’s important to choose a meetup spot as soon as you enter the venue. Once you’ve picked a landmark that’s easily recognizable from a distance, decide on several times that you will all reconvene at this location.
8. Bring a Festival Totem
If the festival grounds consists of a large area, it may be smart to create a festival totem and bring it with you. Festival totems are the tall poles you often see at music festivals, bearing strange and often humorous images on their tops. Have a member of your group agree to maintain responsibility the totem, and whenever another member gets lost they’ll be able to look to the sky and find out where to meet.
9. Save Contact Information on Screensaver
On the off chance you lose your phone at a festival, you’ll need to have a way for someone to get it back to you. Screenshot your name and contact information, then add the image as your screensaver. This will make it easy for whoever finds your phone to figure out how to return it to you
10. Timestamp Text Messages
At most festivals, the sheer number of cell phones in the area often makes it difficult to get service. During the brief moments that you have access to your wireless network, make sure you timestamp the text messages you send. This way, the recipient will know if the message you sent (i.e. meet at the tent in 25 minutes) is no longer relevant.
11. Take Breaks
Have a seat and drink some water if you feel tired. Festivals will tire you out if you don’t manage your energy properly, and people frequently pass out from heat exhaustion.
After the Festival
12. Gather Your Group
Make sure everyone in your crew is with you when you’re ready to leave. Because there’s often a massive rush at the close of a festival, it’s best to start gathering your friends about 15-20 minutes before it ends.
13. Leave Early
Again, it’s extremely difficult to navigate a festival once the post-event crowd is in motion. To avoid getting stuck in long lines at the exit, start heading toward the doors 15-20 minutes before things conclude.
14. Relax and Recharge
Festivals are extremely draining. By the conclusion of the day, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to do anything else other than lay down and rest. Find someplace quiet and calm, so you can relax and reflect on the experience.
Whether you’ve already bought tickets to a festival or are currently in the process of finding the right one, we’ve equipped you with the information to have a great time. Run through our checklist as you prepare, be safe, and enjoy yourself!
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