How to Survive a Music Festival

Make it out of a musical festival with your head (and pride) intact.

If you’ve never been to a music festival, this guide will help you prepare

Tens of thousands of people, some of the best bands in music and enough recreational vices to satiate even the most debaucherous of party-goers. Music festival season is in full swing, and for many, it will be their first foray into these multi-day music and booze-fueled parties.


If you’re planning on taking your maiden voyage into the world of music festivals, a little preparation goes a long way.


Music Festival Costumes

Skeletor and the Human Condom approve of dressing up at music festivals. (Image: Flickr / fishbone1)


How to dress at a music festival

When it comes to fashion, there’s only one rule—anything and everything goes. Feel like evoking the spirit of Woodstock with tie-dye shirts and flower-print blouses? You’ll be welcomed with open arms. But beads, tassels and peace-and-love barely register a blip on the out-there fashion radar.


It’s an established trend that the wackier you dress for these types of events, the better. So grab your neon tights and sombrero, grow out your mustache and get the body paint ready. Bodysuits are popular but, at the opposite end of the spectrum, a little skin goes a long way.


Explore what works for you and what garners the most attention. Because these festivals usually last for multiple days, you’ll have lots of opportunities to stand out in the crowd. If you’ve got an outfit that is universally praised by your fellow attendees, expect free drinks, a pat on the back and plenty of hooting and hollering.


Drinking at a music festival

Just remember that with every drink you put down, the odds of it coming back up increase. (Image: Flickr / Emery Co)


With booze, pick your spots

When it came to boozing, things can go off the rails pretty quickly. Think about your first time experimenting with alcohol:


There will be downing of hard liquor followed by sour faces; a 45-minute zone of orgasmic bliss when the alcohol and music comes together in harmony; shots with someone you just met; puffing on a cigarette even though you don’t smoke; more drinks; laughter at tripping on your own two feet; a shot of tequila that lands on your face more than in your mouth; a vomit scare; hugging; drinks; tears; actual throw-up; outright sobbing; a final drink; more hugging; merciful blackness.


Just like that poor younger version of yourself, going in without a solid drinking plan can lead to disaster. Here are a few tips:

  • Pace yourself: sure, cracking a beer with your breakfast can be satisfying in a twisted way, just remember that slow and steady wins the race. You can’t enjoy the atmosphere if you’re passed out in the tent by noon.
  • Music festivals have enforced strict ‘no re-entry’ rules, so once you enter the music grounds, there’s no going back. Keep some cash on you so you can buy beer(s) later on in the day.

Music festival mud man

Go on, give him a hug. (Image: Flickr / Christian Haugen)


Make friends with your festival neighbours

Music festivals are social events through and through, so don’t be a loner. If you’re camping, reach out to your temporary neighbours. The more people you know, the more fun you’ll have. By growing your social circle, you’ll open yourself up to opportunities you didn’t even know existed.


With events like these, there will come a time when you’re in desperate need of something you don’t have (water, Tylenol, band-aids and countless other things you never thought to bring). If you’ve made nice with those around you, you’ll be taken care of. Plus, it’s just more fun to party in a group.


Music festival must-haves

A quick list of absolutely necessary items to bring:


  • A case of bottled water
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Bug spray
  • Air mattress or foamy to sleep on
  • Cooler and ice
  • Toothbrush (even if you can’t shower, brushing your teeth always makes you feel a little bit more human)
  • Flashlight
  • Cash
  • Booze and mix
  • Tylenol
  • Utensils
  • Festival Schedule (you’ll want to highlight the bands you want to see so that you can schedule your day)