A Beginner’s Guide To Festival Season


Maybe you’re a freshman, maybe you got started late, or maybe you’re 30 and you’re dating a college girl-EDM head. (If that’s the case, ew. Why are you here? Did she post this article so you could read it to “better relate to her”?) Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a very real guide for how to name your Facebook album “Most Epic Weekend of My Life” and actually mean it.

You’ll make out with a random guy–just leave it there.

It’s nothing more than a dance floor make out. You might exchange kandi and think to yourself as the sun sets, “Wow, this is love. This will be such a great story–meeting at a festival, so ’60s of us.” Well, as you come out of your “good place,” you’ll realize this guy not only lives for the beat drop, but there’s nothing more to him than the beat drop. Once you become Facebook friends, you’ll see that all his albums involve the word “epic” (yes, even his Grandmother’s 90th birthday was described as “epic”–it’s likely the only adjective he knows). He perpetually posts links to every music event in the U.S. and Western Europe and manages to go to all of them. He claims he’s developing an app.

Bring hand sanitizer. That’s pretty self explanatory.

Don’t Instagram until the next day.
I know, the whole “Insta” part means do it now, but festivals are essentially why #latergram exists. Trying to post a pic will drain your battery and you’ll be in no state to judge whether or not it’s Instagram worthy–and you’re better than using the caption, “good vibes good people [peace sign emoji, smily with sunglasses emoji, lollypop emoji, dancing girls in leotard emoji].” Sometimes the finest art* must wait.

*Digitally enhanced and filtered photo of the dope lasers.

Wear closed-toed shoes.
You might think to yourself, “Vanessa Hudgens looked soooo cute at Coachella in her Dolce Vita sandals. I’m totes gonna go for that boho chic look.” Don’t. There’s always mud, people spill beers, people step on you, and you might step on yourself. Just wear kicks. You can still be hippie chic and nothing says, “I’m a cool, laid back chick”, like a pair of Chucks. Plus, most of your pictures don’t get your feet anyway, and the whole point of going is to produce pics that get double digit Instagram likes, right? I mean, no…it’s for the experience.

You’ll spend money like it’s going out of style.
Always bring $50 more than you think you’ll need. I know you’re not going to want an organic sushi kale infused hot dog, but you might want to use that $50 for something else–like a cab ride home. Make sure to bring cash, unless you love making your group miss sets to hit up an ATM line with a $4 fee.

If you decide you need more party favors to have more fun, don’t ask. The universe will bring them to you. Let it happen girl, you’re chill. Plus, it’s annoying as fuck.

Your phone won’t work.
Accept that you actually will be living in the moment rather that posting pictures about living in the moment to Instagram. You might even live, laugh, and love in real life. (Crazy, right?) Pro-tip: getting on someone’s shoulders won’t help you get service.

Someone might try to convince you to have sex in a porta-potty.
I hope I don’t need to explain anything about this one. This is not part of the experience–unless you want an experience that prevents you from looking your father in the eyes until Christmas. Or worse: fast-forward to 10 years later when you’re telling your unwanted child how he or she was conceived. (Kidding, you’d obviously pop Plan B…but double kidding, because you wouldn’t even entertain the idea of having sex in a porta-potty. I can’t even.)

Have a buddy.
If you get separated from the group, don’t panic. Odds are, they found a dance circle a few feet away or they’re getting their faces painted, because for some reason, someone brought face paint. Trust the universe to bring them back to you. Meet new people while you are all bonded by the thread of the beat. There’s no chance your friends left, so you’re good.

Drink water.
This is obvious, but I feel like I had to put it in here because my mom might get mad at me if I don’t.

If this is your first time “feeling the beat drop,” don’t make plans for the next day.
You’re not going running, you’re not going to yoga, you’re not even calling your mom back. It will feel like you’re going through your first heartbreak, so just remember what Sheryl Crow said: “the first cut is the deepest.” As is your first date with Molly. I’m pretty sure I watched “White Chicks,” the most underrated movie of our time, the day after my first festival–and cried as much as I did when I saw “Garden State” for the first time. You could be on the beach in Malibu with single Ryan Gosling having perfect beach weather, and despite those heaven on Earth conditions, you would still hate everything. But, it will pass. Don’t you worry.

Go with someone you trust.
Bring the person who knows exactly what movies to quote to bring you to a good place in case your trip starts to go off course. This is preferably someone who has already seen you cry, because you’ll probably do it again. This is an emotional journey.

Be safe, have fun, trust the music*, and let it transcend you.

*Sometimes music can be swallowed.

Image via PS by Dila

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Caring too much about not caring, fuck, I'm blackout. Follow Mel and Teresa at @melowens and @leresatee.

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