The Festival Experience

There are a lot of annual music festivals. I mean, A LOT. Pretty much every genre of music has it’s own, and then there are even more that are a hodgepodge of genres thrown together during blistering summer weather.

Whether it be the annual weekend pilgrimage to Coachella, where it seems like every band that has ever existed ever is playing, or Pitchfork where you’ll be lost in a sea of music journalists, the overall experience is relatively the same. There are a LOT of people at these events, and during sets you might as well just forget about personal space.

Personally, I love these events. They are loads of fun! But, for first timers, it can be a very intimidating experience. As I said, the sheer amount of attendees alone is staggering. Then you have the weather, as all of these festivals take place outdoors. If you’ll be attending the 2015 Vans Warped Tour like me, it’s in the middle of summer. No matter the layers of sunblock applied, my Irish complexion is no match for the Southern California sun. I end up looking like someone doused me in red paint.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are far more pros than cons. These festivals allow the audience to see a variety of bands at one location. Some are your favorites, others you’ve never heard of that become new favorites. It’s an excellent experience to go with friends, and even an awesome place to meet new ones too. Just don’t accept any baked goods from strangers.

Let’s not forget the price of these events. Ticket price vary, but I’m specifically talking about merch. There is SO. MUCH. MERCH! One can easily go for broke by noon. Set aside an allotted amount for shirts, hats, CD’s, etc. from your favorite bands, but also make sure you leave a little extra for things from your newly discovered acts. Festivals like Warped and Lollapalooza are virtually overrun with the unsigned bands who follow the tour peddling their mixtapes (er, CD’s) just hoping for their chance in the spotlight. Being the obsessive music junkie that I am, I’m a bit of a sucker for these poor guys. It just hits the wallet hard.

Another thing: BRING CASH. 70% of the vendors wont accept cards, so make sure you’ve got the cash to buy that tie-dye Four Year Strong T-Shirt (speaking from experience). Just, for the love of logic and reason, keep ALL of your personal belongings on you, safe and secure, at all times. We like to think that most people are of good nature, but there are always the shady folks. Best to be safe than sorry, you know. Also, water. You’ll need it, and lots of it.

To summarize: Heat. Crowds. Bring water. Apply sunscreen liberally. Bring cash, but keep it secure. Have Fun!

What are your favorite festivals? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your experiences!

– Nick

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