If you’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and go to your first festival, you have a lot to know. We’re sure that you’re nervous yet giddy in anticipation. Every seasoned festival goer has felt this feeling before. However, if you know what you’re getting yourself into, you should have nothing to worry about!
What To Know Before You Go In
There’s a lot of information that you should know before entering your first EDM festival. We’ll go over each individual category, but let’s start with the basics.
Your phone probably won’t work. This is fine. Everyone else around you is likely having the same problem. When thousands of people get together in a crowded area, the network will quickly become overloaded. You’ll likely eventually find a part of the grounds where your phone works.
Weather. Check the weather before you go! If you don’t pack accordingly, you could ruin your whole experience. Check the forecast before you pack and then check it again when you’re on the way there.
When To Arrive
Try to get there as soon as possible. Remember that there are thousands of people heading to the same place at the same time. Since it’s your first time, it’s probably going to take you a while to set up your campsite and figure out where to go. Stay ahead of schedule so you don’t have to rush or worry about missing any performances. This will give you plenty of time to meet your neighbors, explore some of the vendor booths, and anything else the festival has to offer.
What To Pack
Tent. This is going to be your home for a while! A place to unwind in between sets and most importantly, where you sleep.
Canopy. Provides shade and protection against wind, rain, and direct sunlight.
Water Canteen. Perhaps the most important tip to remember is to stay hydrated.
Sunscreen. During the day, it’s probably going to be hot. Really hot. Don’t get burned.
Sunglasses. UV protection is vital to protecting your vision.
Baby Wipes. Great tool to refresh and a good alternative to toilet paper.
Hand Sanitizer. You probably won’t have convenient access to soap, let alone a sink. There’s nothing worse than ending your festival experience by coming home sick.
Portable Charger. You don’t want your phone to die right away.
Small bag. It’s very convenient to have a place to store your essentials when you’re out and about. Many festivals won’t let you have larger bags or any bags at all, so check ahead to make sure.
Map. Many festivals have very large grounds and you certainly don’t want to get lost and miss your favorite acts.
Lineup. How are you going to see your favorite acts if you don’t know where and when their performing?
Duct Tape. You may need to tape up your tent, canopy, or your friend’s mouth when they won’t stop talking during your favorite set.
Entertainment. Bring something to occupy your time. A ball, pack of cards, board game, etc. Preferably something you can enjoy with your friends and neighbors.
Cooler. You’ll want to keep food and drinks at a cool temperature.
First Aid Kit/Medicine. You’re probably going to have some minor scrapes and bruises by the time you leave.
The Shower Situation
Shower before the festival. Take a nice warm shower before you head off on your adventure. It will probably be the last one for a while, as the majority of people do not shower at festivals.
Many get by with using a generous amount of deodorant and baby wipes. However, there are some good alternatives for those who don’t want to deal with not showering for so long.
Shower at the festival. You may be in luck! Nowadays, many festivals offer showers. Sometimes, they’ll be free, but you should be prepared to pay a fee. The price varies, but expect to pay $5 – $20. Unless you get up really early, you will also likely have to wait in line. At large festivals, it could take up to an hour. You may not want to shower daily, but a nice shower sometime in the middle of your festival will feel great.
Bring your own shower. If you’re not an experienced camper, you may be confused. Portable showers usually come in the form of a bag. You fill it up with water and can put it in a warm place for it to heat up or just use it with cold water. When you hang it up and open it, it will pour the water on you somewhat like a real shower. Many portable showers come with a single person stand-up tent to give you privacy.
What To Eat
Festival food. There are plenty of tents, trucks, and stands around most festivals offering you all different kinds of delicious food. It’s recommended that you try at least one of them for the experience. However, be prepared to pay up. A decent meal will easily cost you $10-$20.
Snacks. Even if you plan on eating mostly festival food, bring some ready-to-go snacks to keep your hunger at bay throughout the day.
Granola Bars & Trail Mix. A perfect quick snack to carry around with you. Nutritious and delicious! Great to have some of this to munch on while relaxing at your tent.
How Much You Will Spend
Do your research. You’re sure to spend a lot more on your first festival beyond the ticket price. There are ways to do this frugally, but you need to know what you’re working with first. Ask your festival veteran friends what they usually spend. Check what amenities are available and how much they cost. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with the festival organizers. They’re usually happy to help.
Bring more cash than you’ll need. You never know if something’s going to break, if you’ll run out of supplies, or if you see an item at a vendor booth that you can’t help not buying. Just make sure you secure your money in a safe place when you’re at the festival.
Find your spot and claim it. You’re probably going to have a designated camping spot or at least a general area assigned to you. When you arrive to the festival, there should be plenty of staff to guide you to your destination. Follow their instructions and start unloading your belongings.
Set up your camp. This would be a good time to set up your tent, canopy, chairs, etc. Take your time, especially when setting up the tent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it’s your first time, you want to make sure you follow exact instructions. Your tent getting loose and flying away or collapsing in on you is not a good start to a festival.
Meet your neighbors. One of the best parts of camping at festivals is meeting the community. These are some of the kindest, inclusive, and open people you’ll ever meet. Don’t hesitate to start up a conversation. You might end up making lifelong friends.
A few more tips…
STAY HYDRATED! This cannot be stressed enough. You’re going to be active almost all day so you need to give your body the fuel it requires to keep going.
Don’t succumb to peer pressure. A festival is a great place to express yourself. Please don’t do drugs or go somewhere you don’t want just because someone tells you to.
Don’t film the whole set. We recommend you take a few photos and videos but you won’t get the full experience watching the show through your phone screen.
Explore. You don’t need to stick to your plan 100% Festivals have so much to offer that you won’t know about before going. Take some time to see what’s going on around you.