Written by Madeline Pennington. Posted August 6, 2019.
Every summer, people of all ages flock to music festivals to experience artists of all genres. No matter what your favorite type of music is, there is probably a festival for you.
Music festivals attract thousands every year because of the opportunity to see multiple artists in a weekend, the amazing food and photo ops that litter social media, and most importantly, the community that is fostered by these events full of music-lovers.
However, these events aren’t all music and good memories— they require a lot of forethought and planning to ensure you stay safe while you rock out.
Something a festival-goer should definitely be aware of when preparing to head off to a music festival is your physical health. Often these festivals are in the summer and many don’t have lots of places to escape the heat.
Experienced festival-goer, Makayla Wabalas advises, “Drinking as much water as possible obviously, but Gatorade and Pedialyte are also essentials.”
Be sure to check the website of the festival you plan to attend as many will allow you to bring sealed snacks inside, which is the perfect way to avoid high food prices and long lines, while keeping yourself fueled!
Wabalas, who has been to five music festivals over the past few years and is excitedly awaiting her sixth, also suggests bringing one canopy for every four people you intend to camp with. While not all festivals are “camping festivals,” often much of the fun of the festival experience is from chilling with your friends at your campsite. It is a great way to immerse yourself in the festival experience!
Other festival-goer Claire Fasel, reminds attendees to also think of how to prepare mentally for a music festival.
When she attended her first music festival, Fasel was struck by how intense some of the crowds could be for more popular artists. Elbows jostled as ambitious attendees fought their ways to the front of the stage. Sweat steamed around her in the Atlanta heat. People surrounded her on all sides.
As anxiety-inducing as that experience can be, Fasel says she always got through it by thinking, “about how cool it is to be surrounded by music and other people that appreciate it.”
If thinking through the situation doesn’t help your crowd anxiety, try to remove yourself from the denser part of the audience. At most stages, there will be an area where people are sitting on the grass, more spaced out than in the “pit.” Though you may have to sacrifice being closer to your favorite artist, you’ll ultimately feel more comfortable which will help you enjoy the music!
Another important factor to consider at festivals is how you plan to keep your squad safe. It is important you trust all of the friends you’re going to the festival with to have your back in the same way you plan to have theirs!
Multiple apps have recently hit the market that can aid in keeping you and your friends safe. The app, Grooop notifies your friends whenever you leave a chosen “safe zone” and if a user feels unsafe they can notify their contacts with a simple swipe. Similarly, the classic app FindMyFriends is a great way to know where on the festival grounds your friends are if you get separated.
In addition to apps, wearable technology can quickly alert friends if you feel unsafe. Look into the many options on the market to find which one best fits your needs!
Wabalas also suggested a creative change to your screensaver to help if you lose your phone at the festival. “You can change your phone background to say something like ‘hey festival friends! If you find me or my phone please call: ___.’”
She emphasized how most people at these festivals want to help each other, and found it “comforting” the way people looked out for one another.
Another concert-goer warned to be careful how much you trust strangers. For the most part, he believed the people he met at his first music festival were some of the most eclectic and cool people he’d ever met. But, he does wish he’d prioritized his personal safety more during his experience.
In a rush, he’d left his campsite that morning to ensure he’d catch the beginning of an artist’s set. Unfortunately he’d forgotten his water bottle in his tent, and the heat was certainly hitting him hard.
It all seemed harmless enough. He was thirsty, and a supposedly kind stranger offered him a water bottle.
So with a carefree swig, he gulped down the stranger’s water, ready to thank them for their kindness. But that’s when things took a frightening turn.
The ground beneath his feet rolled and pitched like ocean waves. As he looked at the stage, the musician he’d run to see seemed to be getting larger and smaller in his vision. And then— nothing.
He woke up a few hours later, disoriented but safe in the Medic tent with an inkling he’d been drugged. Luckily the crowd around him had alerted EMT’s when they’d noticed him acting strangely in the audience and the medics were able to carry him out before he completely passed out.
While this story sounds scary, it taught one concert-goer to hierarchize his health and safety more when he went to festivals. He noted how easy it was to get lost in how kind everyone seemed that he didn’t think anyone would have tried to harm him in any way.
For the most part, the people you meet at festivals want to help you enjoy your time as much as they can. You’ll meet diverse groups from all over the world that could become some of your lifelong friends. But it is always important to ensure that you trust a person completely before taking food or beverage from them.
So now you’re thinking, “Wait, I have to do all that?” You have three tabs open featuring an article about high-protein snacks, an online cart full of wearable safety tech and another highlighting a 128oz insulated water bottle that you are sure wouldn’t be *too* heavy to carry around with you.
1. Stay hydrated with water, gatorade and pedialyte
2. Pack high-protein snacks, but also bring cash to buy a meal inside the venue
3. Mentally prepare yourself for crowds (have an exist strategy if you need, find the less crowded areas of the venue, know how to deescalate your anxiety— which will be a different process for everyone)
4. Know how to contact your friends in case you get separated and vice-versa
5. Make friends with people you meet, but don’t take items from people you don’t know
And just like that, you’re ready to jump and jam, rock and roll, clap and create some lifelong memories at the music festival of your choice!
*The people mentioned in this article are not affiliated with Guardian Band Inc. in any way. All opinions are their own. The author of this article is affiliated with Guardian Band Inc.