Keys to Success: Festival Edition

Starting in late March/Early April, we enter one of the most wonderful times of the year: Music Festival Season! An array of musicians, food vendors and artists come together to create a truly unique experience. From Coachella to Bonnaroo to Shambhala, every festival has something special to offer. However, it's easy to get lost in the excitement, especially if you're new to the festival scene. Whether you're a first time festival goer or a veteran attendee, here are a few handy tips to optimize your experience.

photo courtesy of @stassievee

You don't have to bring all of these, but after several years of festivals and concerts, I definitely do. Note that this applies only to what you need on the festival grounds. If you're camping, you'll need a whole other set of supplies.

  • A backpack, over the shoulder bag, or fanny pack that zips or buttons shut completely. You don't want to be leaking belongings or worse, get something stolen.
  • Your ID, a debit/credit card, and cash. You really don't need anything else in your wallet. Cash is especially important because some (if not all) booths at festivals are cash only, and ATM lines are typically long once you're at the event.
  • Hand sanitizer. The soap and water situation can be unreliable. You'll want to clean your hands before you eat and after using the restroom.
  • A reusable water bottle. Most festivals let you bring them in as long as they're empty, and some even offer complimentary fill stations if you have your own bottle--it's a great way to save cash, reduce waste, and most importantly, stay hydrated!
  • A blanket or tarp, if you plan to sit. Most festivals take place on dirt or grass, and you aren't going to want to sit on that.
  • Toilet paper. It might sound ridiculous,  but festivals run out fast and aren't always on top of restocking. It's also a great way to become the most popular girl in the bathroom line.
  • An external phone battery/charging case. Some festivals now have charging stations, but you'll miss less of the fun if you can just charge your phone in your bag. A charged phone is super important not only for taking pictures (because lets be honest here...) but also for staying in touch with your friends. There's nothing scarier than accidentally getting separated from your squad with 7% battery.

photo courtesy of @stassievee

Festivals are a great time to have fun and be bold with fashion. It's March and I'm already planning my outfit for Outside Lands in August. That said, I learned the hard way that some things are better for a night out than a festival...

  • Comfortable shoes. You're going to be standing and walking a lot. Comfort is subjective, but I generally don't recommend super high heels or sandals. You could get your toes squished, and most festivals have Porta Potties. Open Toed Shoes + Dirty Porta Potty Floor = Ew. I've found that a pair of booties with a chunky heel is the perfect balance of trendy and practical.
  • Layers. Dress for your festival. Though most festivals take place in spring/summer, it gets chilly at night most places. You'll most likely want an outfit that will keep you cool during the day and warm at night. Generally a kimono, light sweater or sweatshirt will suffice.
  • Spandex Shorts, if you're wearing a dress or skirt. I've had my fair share of Marilyn Monroe moments while traipsing through a festival, and it's significantly less embarrassing if you're covered. See also:
  • Pasties or a Bralette. It doesn't happen often, but in the event that you have a wardrobe malfunction, this will prevent you from going full on Janet Jackson at Superbowl XXXVIII.
  • Accessorize a little! From flash tattoos to fun jewelry to fringe, festivals are the time to play.

photo courtesy of @stassievee

DOs and DON'Ts
Do go/meet up with your friends, the more the merrier!
Don't try to travel through tightly packed crowds in large groups--divide and conquer. You'll annoy the people around you significantly less and you'll actually have better chances of getting closer to the music, if that's the goal. That said,
Do use the buddy system! Make sure no one is wandering the crowds alone--it'll be hard to find each other again and cell service is often spotty when so many people are gathered in one spot.
Don't camp out at a stage all day unless you NEED to get up front for an artist you absolutely love. Festivals have so much to offer.
Do work your way up front early if that's the case, and be polite when you do it! People expect a certain degree of pushing in large crowd, but there's no need to be excessive.
Don't feel pressured to see every artist your friends want to see, unless not going will mean you're by yourself. Chances are though, at least one other person would rather see The Black Keys than Kendrick Lamar.
Do agree AHEAD OF TIME on a meeting spot in case you get separated from your friends or if you're in  a larger group that's breaking off.
Don't wander off on your own. I kinda covered this one with the buddy system, but it's super important for safety.
Do plan the bands you want to see ahead of time. If your festival has multiple stages, this is especially key. Leave yourself 15-20 minutes to walk to each stage even if they're close--you never know what the crowd situation could be like.
Don't just arrive in time to see the first band you like. I used to do this, but I recently discovered how much I was missing out on by getting there later. So,
Do explore! Taste as much food as you can (literally had a spiritual experience at a festival tasting avocado fries for the first time), check out all the art, and make sure to stop in at any major vendor's station--they often offer free stuff or services like hair braiding, henna, and photo booths.

Do you have any additional tips to totally winning at festival season? Share them in the comments below!

Happy Styling Ladies!




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