Let’s face it: we all know how fun EDM festivals are. These are the trips that we remember forever, passing around countless tales of life-changing DJ sets and awe-inspiring light shows. But for every crazy “OMG” story, there are also the horror stories about weekends gone awry. So how do we achieve the perfect festival experience? What’s the best way to survive the exhaustion of attending a show all weekend, while still experiencing everything the music festival has to offer without getting hung-up on all the specifics? We’ve compiled a “best of” list of practices that are sure to elevate your EDM festival experience.
Whether you’re a festival newbie attending your first show this summer, or you’re a true veteran who’s ready to once again don your epic rave gear and dance the summer away, you’ll be certain to survive your next festival from sun-up to sundown with our help. These 15 useful tips are guaranteed to give you your best festival experience yet.
#1 on the list for a reason, we can’t stress enough how important staying hydrated is. The bulk of festivals you’ll likely attend take place in extremely warm climates during their hottest months, and the only way to watch the DJs perform all day long is by keeping that bottle of water by your side.
Drinking enough water during your festival trip will be the difference between your “Best experience ever!!!” status post, and the one that you never post because you were too busy laying in bed the next day trying to recuperate off sugary energy drinks. Drink lots of water, period.
#2 Check the Weather
Although you will most likely be in temperatures upwards of 75 degrees, it’s always a smart idea to take a quick glance at your weather app and figure out whether you need to pack that poncho. Trust me, you never want to be in the middle of a show when the rain starts pouring ‘out of nowhere.’ Good luck enjoying those sick drops when you’re soaking wet!
Festival season also runs from as early as January/February to mid-September, so you’re likely to experience a wide range of temperatures from one day to the next depending on what city you’re raging in, so make sure to come prepared.
I mean let’s be honest, we all saw what happened at TomorrowWorld 2015.
#3 Dress in Layers
Piggy-backing off Tip #2, dressing in layers is a good trick to help you cope with different types of elements and survive your festival experience. Start the day wearing items to keep you warm for the early afternoon sets, and then transition to the hottest part of the day by shedding those extra layers and rage the night away in your tank and shorts.
Take note of where the lockers are inside the venue, and budget money to rent one for anything you think you may not want to carry. As the night gets longer, you’ll welcome the outfit change.
#4 Bring a Fanny Pack
A fanny pack was once an accessory reserved for touristy ’90s parents on family vacation, but a lot can change in 20 years. Luckily for us the fanny pack has come back in full-force and the best place to wear it is to your favorite festival. Most festivals now allow you to bring in a fanny pack as opposed to any other bag, and it’s an opportunity you’ll want to take advantage of for storing those festival essentials such as your ID and Diffraction Glasses.
The convenience of having everything you need at your fingertips and accessible in a matter of seconds is extremely underrated. Imagine jumping up and down to the build-up of a drop, and wanting to grab your phone and capture the moment, but you can’t because it’s tucked away in your sock. Don’t make that mistake and risk missing the moment, keep your essential rave gear handy on your waist while still looking trendy, and bring a fanny pack. (Pro Tip: some festivals now allow larger bags if they are clear).
Note to self: Don’t be this guy.
#5 Bring Cash
Nothing will ruin your EDM festival experience more than bringing your debit or credit card into the venue with you, only to find out you dropped it on the ground as you were taking out your cellphone. Don’t make a rookie mistake and bring a valuable piece of plastic like that in with you. Instead, bring a wad of cash and stash it in a side pocket in your fanny pack. Bring enough for day-to-day activities and necessities, like food to give your body energy to dance the night away, or use it to snag all the cool Rave Gear you’ve been eyeing.
It’s also important to note that some festivals are now even going cashless. In this case, you can load a certain amount of cash onto a wristband you wear throughout the festival. This option is a good way to ensure your money stays where you want it. You’ll want it handy to buy a few mementos: there’s no better way to relive your epic weekend than a piece of art for your bedroom wall, or an awesome t-shirt that will bring back memories every time you put it on.
#6 Invest in a Portable Charger
Festival days are long and tiring, and there’s no way to get around it. A good way to ensure that your cellphone has enough juice to make it through all the performances is to pack a portable charger with you in your pack.
A charger that is slim enough to fit easily with the rest of your stuff, and light enough that it won’t weigh you down as you’re dancing will be the best option. Just make sure it’s powerful enough to give your phone at least one full charge. Trust us, not only will you want your phone to record the best drops, but you will also need it to make sure you stay in contact with your friends.
#7 Eat a Filling Meal
As mentioned before, the festival days will be long and you’ll end the day exhausted and ready to sleep. It helps if you make a good effort to eat a filling and satisfying meal before you get to the festival.
Starting your day with a hearty lunch guarantees that you will be on the right track to surviving the rest of the evening, which will inevitably be filled with lots of calorie-burning dancing. Not to mention, eating before you enter will help you save a little bit of cash, as food inside the festival is always pretty pricey.
#8 Wear Sunscreen
This is one tip that is often overlooked but cannot be stressed enough. Sunscreen will be your lifesaver during those hot June and July months when you’re spending 12 hours a day with the scorching summer sun beating down on you. You can’t really say you survived a festival when you leave the venue looking red as a lobster.
Take care to apply and reapply sunscreen as the day goes on, and before you know it you’ll be leaving the weekend with some great memories and a good tan.
#9 Know Your Venue
Most music festivals will have more than one stage to accommodate a large number of performers as well as guests who attend the concert. It is extremely helpful for you and everyone in your friend group to take a look at the festival map before heading onto the grounds.
Festivals like Coachella and EDC can be confusing and overwhelming if you’re a newcomer, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the area. Take the time to learn your way around the venue the first day, making sure to take careful note of where the water stations are (you’ll thank yourself later). This will allow you to make the most of your time there and will help make sure you have the best festival experience of your life.
#10 Have a Meeting Spot
In addition to knowing the venue, it is also important to have a meeting spot somewhere inside the grounds where you can reconnect with your friends after a set or at the end of a long day. Often times the cell signal inside venues is subpar, and it’s very likely that your friend group will get separated at some point due to the copious amounts of ravers that populate the grounds of EDM festivals.
Keeping this in mind, it is a good idea to have a predetermined spot where you can find people in case members of the group get lost.
#11 Memorize Set Times
You obviously chose the festival(s) you’re going to for a reason -most often it’s because of a killer lineup– so make sure you’re around to witness your favorite DJs and producers perform. A good way to make sure you leave the festival happy and satisfied with the performances you saw is to study up on who will be performing at what time each day. Make note of the people you absolutely can’t miss and set an alarm in your phone to remind you to attend those sets.
Many festivals even offer a convenient app you can download before you get in that allows you to easily track and remind yourself when your favorite performances will be. It’s so easy to lose track of time in the chaos of the day and missing your favorite artist is an easy way to leave the festival unhappy with your experience.
#12 Make New Friends
Festivals are a place where you can act and dress any way, and be accepted for who you are. Sometimes the best way to experience a festival experience is to just put yourself out there, meet as many cool people as you can, and rage.
EDM festivals are one of the best ways to meet people like you who share similar interests. Ravers and festival-goers are some of the nicest people you’ll meet in your lifetime. There aren’t many places like this where you can go and meet so many people with the PLUR mentality.
#13 Improve your Experience
The captivating and mind-grabbing music at EDM festivals is unrivaled from any other concert or music event there is, and it’s best to capitalize on this experience with new music-enhancing accessories.
A good way to do that is by investing in various items that will make your weekend more enjoyable. Be sure to bring your favorite accessories along to make the experience a unique and memorable one. Use Diffraction Glasses to turn the light show from ordinary to extraordinary. Or perhaps LED Gloves are more your style, in which case you’ll enjoy having your own light show at your fingertips. Products like these along with other Rave Gear will be sure to make any EDM music festival a fun weekend you’ll never forget.
#14 Live in the Moment
As important as it is to make sure you have a phone and charger with you to capture all the moments you’re sure to encounter throughout the weekend, it is equally important to note that you should not rely on your phone all day. The biggest mistake ravers can make when at a festival is to live the concert through the screen in their phone, instead of spending it in the present moment.
Trust us, it is much better to leave the festival with a thousand memories created, and only a few pictures and videos captured. Make sure when you go to the festival you live in the moment as it’s something you will appreciate for years to come – and it will last much longer than the cell phone you currently have.
#15 Go with the Flow
The best tip we can give to help you survive your next EDM festival experience is this: go with the flow.
It’s important to remember that nothing ruins a trip more than trying to make solid plans in a place and venue that is built around spontaneity, surprise, and fun. By all means come prepared, and rage smart. Learn the venue space and know what sets you absolutely have to see. But ultimately, go with the flow from day to day. You never want to go into a music festival with a closed mind, and having a super specific schedule planned for your festival experience is the perfect way to close your mind off to all the free spirit and exciting energy that surrounds EDM festivals.
Have fun with your friends, meet new people, and rage. Going with the flow and being up for the new experiences that attending a music festival will ultimately you is the best way to not only survive the music festival, but to thrive in it.
As quoted from @RollingStone “EDM was never a bubble, it was a raising mass”
— Tiësto (@tiesto) January 7, 2016
With these tips, you can now spearhead your first, or 20th, festival fully prepared and ready for anything. Tiesto makes a good point about EDM; we now know that it’s here to stay. It is so important that you are able to make the most out of your festival experience because every festival is a once in a lifetime occurrence that changes from year to year, and as you grow, so will the way you experience each festival. By taking note of the tips we have listed here, we are confident you will be able to survive the sometimes hectic, and always energetic, festival world. Take care of yourself and have fun in the best place to discover (or rediscover) who you really are.