Festival Survival Guide

I have attended Firefly Music Festival in Delaware three times now. This year I plan to return to the Woodlands once again as well as head to Columbus, OH for Rock on the Range. While I wouldn’t consider myself a festival expert, I have garnered a few tips on how to make the experience much more enjoyable. From surviving the heat to dealing with the crowds to not breaking the bank, here are my top 20 tips for surviving the festival experience…

  1. Don’t forget your wristband! Or your ID. Or cards/cash. A lot of festivals are going cashless so you might not even need cash.
  2. Campsite: bring a canopy for shade, chairs for everyone in your group, speakers, water bottles, trash bags, the necessities.
  3. Food: festival food can get expensive. Bring some granola bars, chips, fruit and sandwich fixings. If you have a grill then burgers and hotdogs and eggs will be delish.
  4. Containers and bags to organize all your stuff. Don’t throw everything into the car, organize all your clothes, cords, food, etc into containers and/or bags that zip close.
  5. Make sure to lock up valuable stuff up in your car…but don’t lock the keys in!
  6. TP or wipes. There is nothing worse than getting into a porta-potty and finding that there is NO FRICKIN TP. Ugh.
  7. Wear comfortable walking shoes. I CANNOT stress this enough. For my first year at Firefly our campsite was over a mile from the festival, I wore the wrong shoes and it fucked my feet for the entire weekend.
  8. Sunscreen. Bottle not spray. Most festivals don’t allow aerosol cans.
  9. Sunglasses. Bring a backup pair.
  10. An empty water bottle. DRINK LOTS OF WATER…then drink more.
  11. Want to save money on alcohol inside the festival? Buy these!
  12. Walkie talkies!! Save your phone battery for pictures and checking the lineup.
  13. Suck it up and bring a plastic poncho. It only cost $1 at some drugstores. It may look stupid and you might not need it but if you do you will be SO thankful.
  14. A bandana. There are so many uses for a bandana. Last year I brought one on a whim but I ended up using it to keep the hair out of my face and to keep from breathing in dust. The festival was SUPER dry and the crowds basically caused a dust storm.
  15. A bag to carry all your stuff, but don’t bring anything too big. You’ll be carrying this around ALL day.
  16. A portable blanket. If you don’t always like to be in the crowds and/or want to be able to sit somewhere and not have to worry about dirt/rocks/mud then bring a blanket. Each year I buy a $15 shower curtain, rolled it up, added a tie and use carabiners in the curtain ring holes to attach it to my purse. It was BEYOND worth it.
  17. Don’t feel the need to be in the front/pit for every show. Unless you’re superhuman, you’ll burn out. Pick a few of your favorite artists to get up close and deal with the sun, heat and crowds.
  18. Bring a portable charger or invest in a solar charger if you go to festivals often. Power stations get crowded fast.
  19. Face/body wipes will be a lifesaver. Clean your hands after a gross porta-potty experience, wipe your face down to feel a little refreshed, use them when there is no TP.
  20. An open mind. Not everything will go according to plan. Just go with the flow and HAVE FUN!

I hope this little list helps to make your festival experience even better. Festivals are an amazing experience full of amazing, like mided people. You get thrown into this huge camping mess with random neighbors and regardless of who they are or where they are from you have something HUGE in common and that makes for great friendships and memories.

Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about festivals, I’m happy to help. And leave a comment if you have any other suggestions on how to survive and make the most of music festivals!


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