The time is HERE! Festival season is among us, and I don’t know about you but I’m ready for it. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by fellow music lovers, enjoying the sounds of your favorite band. That being said, there’s a list of do’s and don’t’s when it comes to music festivals, that needs to be said to ensure you, your fellow concert-goers and the bands have the best experience. So here we go.
1: Dress for the occasion
I see this at EVERY outdoor concert I go to. People walking wearing jeans, long sleeves, beanies, etc. Every time I see that I ask myself why. Look I’m not trying to tell anyone what their style should be, I’m just suggesting you look at the weather report before you get dressed that morning. If it’s supposed to be 95 degrees, and no cloud in the sky, it’s probably not a good idea to wear all black. On the flip side of that, if it’s supposed to be overcast and 75 degrees, with 15mph winds, it’s probably not a good idea to wear shorts and a tank top. I see it every year, so just me when I say it, dress for the occasion
2: Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
Man, I can’t stress this enough. When I’m at a festival, I pack 2 cans of SPF 50 Continuous Spray SunScreen. Why? because I don’t want to be a lobster the next day. I’m blonde haired, Blue eyes from Irish decent. That means I’m WHITE, like really white, borderline see-through. That means if I’m heading out to photograph a music festival, I apply sunscreen before I leave and again throughout the day. Why, do I bring extra? For a just in case situation or to share with the one person I see that it roasted and could use some help. Trust me when I say, you will still get a tan, it may not be as dark, but a lighter tan is better than being red as a lobster.
3: Don’t forget money and bring more than you think
This should be a no-brainer, but it happens. Don’t forget your money and bring more than you need. Remember you’ll have to eat, you’ll probably want to buy merch and at some point, you’ll probably want something else to drink cause it’s hot. So don’t forget your money and bring more than you think you’ll need.
4: Don’t be that guy/girl
You know what I’m talking about. That person who loves every band that plays, know all the lyrics and screams them at the top of their lungs (There’s nothing wrong with that) but then takes it a step further and tries to start a pit every few minutes. Listen if you wanna get in the pit, by all means, DO IT!. Trust me if you tell the people you’re around you’re wanting to get to the pit that’s near you, they’ll let you through. Nobody want’s a fellow festival goer slamming into them if they don’t want to get in the pit.
5: Don’t be that other Guy/Girl
If you’ve been to any music festival/event there’s alway that person says something like this “OMG so and so band sucks so bad now. I was listening to them way before they got famous. They’re such a sell out now.” Most of the time this comes from guys who have or do play in a band that they think is amazing and are going to be or was huge, but they couldn’t draw 5 people to a free show that was also providing an all you can eat buffet. Listen we get it, you don’t like “Said Band” now, it’s cool. Don’t tell us about how much you think they suck now every 5 min. If they sucked they would not be playing the festival.
6: Don’t throw stuff
This goes for on to the stage and in the crowd. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people get their heads busted open from some moron throwing a bottle full of whatever. Don’t be a jerk and do that crap. You’re not cute, or funny and please do not throw anything at the Artist. I saw this recently at the Yellowcard Farewell tour. Halfway through the first someone threw their beer at Ryan Key and he stopped the show and it totally killed the mood. That was such a special night and that jerk had to kill the mood from the start by doing that. Not only is it rude, but it’s also dangerous for the artist. So don’t do it.
7: Leave accordingly
If it takes you 30mins to get to the venue from your house or where ever you’re staying, leave in enough time to account for traffic. 2 years ago I was covering Carolina Rebellion in Concord NC. The raceway where it’s held is an hour and twenty mins from my house, so I figure leaving Spartanburg at 10 am would put me there with plenty of time because the show started at 12:30. I did not get to the raceway till 3:30. I sat in traffic for 4 and a half hours. I missed so many bands I wanted to see that Saturday because I didn’t leave early enough.
8: Purchase a portable phone charger
These things are a life saver. I own 3 of them. If you don’t know what I’m talking about their a small power brick or tube (about the size of lipstick) that you charge and can plug a USB into to charge your phone, camera etc. More than likely you will not be going to the show alone, and you will get separated from your friends. There’s no reason to not be able to find your friends because your phone is dead when this life saver is so cheap. Get on Amazon and order to a portable phone charger.
9: Don’t forget you poncho
Most concert festival will allow you to have a small bag with you to hold your belongings throughout the day. Make sure you pack a poncho. You may not need it, but you might and trust me you don’t want to be stuck in wet clothes all day after the rain stops. If you don’t believe me ask anyone that was at Carolina Rebellion 2013 if they needed a poncho. Trust me it SUCKS to get stuck in the rain and be wet and cold for the rest of the day.
10: Respect the Artist’s personal space
I saved this one for last, but this is HUGE in my opinion. You may remember a huge week ago we ran a story about Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandra shooting down the accusations made by a fan that recently met him. (If you haven’t CLICK HERE TO READ IT) The fan claimed Danny pushed her away etc and didn’t make time for her. Now I understand we all want to meet our favorite artists, get something signed and maybe get a photo taken with them, but respect their personal space. If they let you take a photo with them, then don’t put your arm around them unless they do it first. Guys, don’t hug a female artist unless they offer. It’s creepy and weird and can make the artist feel uncomfortable. Also don’t get pissed at an artist if they’re loading off the stage and you’re standing by the fence yelling their name and they don’t respond. They’re busy, they have limited time to get their gear off stage and then get the next band’s up there.
So there you go. Festival Season is here. Go enjoy it, it will be some of the best times of your life. Some of us are veterans, other’s this will be their first time braving the festival environment. These are just a few important things to remember and I think all festival goers will benefit from. We’ll see all of you in the pits this Summer up and down the Eastcoast.