DO keep hydrated: Make sure to bring a refillable water bottle with you. It has to be empty upon arrival, but there are watering stations at most music festivals, so fill it up at every chance you get to avoid dehydration. You don’t want to have to leave a peak spot because you’re thirsty or not feeling well because you haven’t been drinking enough. . . it could really DAMPEN the experience (bad pun, sorry).
DON’T get completely wasted: Pace yourself. If you start drinking the moment you set foot on the festival grounds, you’re risking becoming that sloppy hot mess. Try one water for every one beer or shot (again, back to my point about hydration.) Also, if you see someone who isn’t doing well or appears to have had too much, don’t be afraid to step in and help.
DO dress for the weather, such as raincoats, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.: The weather in BC can be unpredictable, even in the summer, so make sure you have something for high temperatures and sun as well as for rain. That way, potentially bad weather won’t interfere with your festival experience. If you’re leaving BC, check the weather in advance, and congrats on being able to escape this rainy, cold wasteland.
DON’T take drugs from strangers: This is not Ibiza and you might not know what’s in that pill (yes, I’m lame, I know). If you’re going to take drugs at a music festival, take precautions to keep yourself safe: be knowledgeable on where it’s from, what’s in it, and what to do if you feel like you’re having a bad trip.
DO organize who you want to see most, where they will be, and when: Sometimes shows will conflict and you won’t be able to see two artists you really like or you’ll lose track of time and panic about missing your favourite act. A schedule and a device that tells time can make sure you don’t leave the festival feeling like you missed out on something. Keep in mind that sometimes there are delays and sometimes plans change for performers.
DON’T bring large, bulky signs or props to the front: There’s almost nothing more entertaining than a clever sign or a fun prop . . . unless you’re right behind one. If you’re lucky enough to get near the front, keep in mind that those behind you want to enjoy the show, too!
DO remember to be polite: Try saying “excuse me” and “sorry” to maneuver through crowds without hitting someone or pushing — it’s surprisingly effective and no one gets elbowed in the face.
DON’T expect that there will be outlets: You’re front row to see your favourite artist and you’re filming a Boomerang to put on your Instagram feed when suddenly, your phone dies. Now, you’re left crawling around for an outlet, missing tons of like-worthy shots. A portable charger could prevent this.
DO have a plan in case there’s no service: You lose track of your friends in the crowd and realize you don’t have cell service. It’s a good idea to make a clear, visible meeting place with your friends upon arrival, in case you get separated.
DON’T loudly criticize the festival or the performer on stage: People like different types of music, and sometimes you won’t like what’s being played on stage. You’re allowed to have your opinion, but your bad vibes are going to affect the people around you and hurt feelings. If you really feel the need to complain — but, like, why though? — wait until afterwards and don’t be too rude about it.
DO have fun with your makeup, hair, and outfit: Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. You want to rock a neon pink fanny pack? Sounds good! You want to douse yourself in glitter? Have fun! You’re feeling a black lacy bralette or Superman body paint? You do you, honey. You can’t go wrong with comfortable and practical shoes, though.
DON’T culturally appropriate: Cultural appropriation is the use or adoption of the style, fashion, religious symbols, slang, etc. of one culture by someone who isn’t of that culture. An example would be a Caucasian female wearing a Native American headdress or styling her hair in cornrows. Usually, it’s a dominant group “borrowing” something from a minority, that the minority has been criticized, stereotyped, or harassed over. Just because Kendall Jenner, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry have done it doesn’t make it OK. There are many informative and well-explained sources online if you’d like to learn more about this topic.
DO wear deodorant: No one wants to smell your BO as you’re raising the roof. Enough said. Dry shampoo, hand sanitizer, and wet wipes can also be useful.
DON’T bring expensive cameras, purses, shoes, etc: Losing a $20 pair of sunglasses sucks, but losing your favourite, $200 since-discontinued purse sucks really bad. See if you can replace an expensive item with a cheaper substitute. For example, disposable cameras instead of your Nikon D5.
DO talk to other people: Meeting new friends and breaking the ice with strangers can be hard, it’s an undisputed fact. But, what’s a better environment to try then when everyone is vibing to good music? You might make some long-time festival friends!
DON’T leave garbage or a mess everywhere you go: Festival grounds are not your trash cans and your mom isn’t here to clean up after you — unless your mom is at the festival with you, in which case your mom is TOO COOL to spend her time cleaning up after your filthy self.
DO ask for permission before you dance with or touch somebody: Dancing is a must at music festivals. Dancing with other people can create mutual good vibes and help you connect. Maybe you’re at the festival to meet a special somebody — that’s OK! But consent is key and you don’t want to turn into that story the other person tells their friends: “This one time I was at a music festival and this total WEIRDO . . .”
DON’T bring cards or large bills: If you’re like me, you love food so much that you get excited about the food at the event or place you’re going. There’s food for sale at most festivals, but opt out of bringing your plastic. Go for multiple small bills instead and keep them in different places. If someone snitches a ten out of your back pocket, you’ll be relieved that there are tens in your front pocket, in your bag, and in your belt. Small bills also make transactions faster when food vendors are crowded.