Move on, rainy days and bipolar temperatures – you are sepia history now. It is time to make room for the season we hankered after for too many weeks to count. Days are longer, the weather forecast converted to the scorching-sticky cult, and music festivals are bashfully emerging from their hibernation cave.
If this isn’t the perfect time to get down to the nitty-gritty for festival tips, we don’t know what would be.
But we can’t forget the pain of receiving the silent treatment from the fest season – for two years in a row. A new generation of festival-goers will peer out in the crowds, seeking the pinnacle tower of human joy that only their music heroes can grant.
Be it straight out of college or fueled by the “I’m never missing a party ever again” mantra, festival virgins have one thing in common. They have no clue how this event chips away at your mental well-being when you’re not prepared to embrace both its highs and lows.
Since we’re not getting any younger and #YOLO is a mood, we’ve compiled all of the festival tips for first timers.
Read, re-read, and bookmark the page if you want to keep your sanity and make your first fest unforgettable (for all the right reasons). You can thank us later.
1. The holy baby wipes
Also dubbed as the best pre-festival $3 that you will spend, wet wipes are your ultimate savior.
You already know that festivals are very cool. What you haven’t yet witnessed is how filthy they can get.
Your hands will touch an outrageous amount of germ hotbeds and you will step in human vomit – maybe even poop.
These magical little sanitary cloths will keep you in a squeaky-clean bubble of safety.
In a sea of mud and microbes, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your body clean-ish and sanity intact.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
We know this might come off as a dire necessity rather than part of the festival tips for first timers.
But we cannot stress enough how important it is to keep the good, old H2O in your hand, bag, or wherever you keep valuable belongings (trust us, water will be one of your most prized possessions).
The weather is boiling and your mouth is drier than Sahara – the double G&Ts you downed at Paco Osuna’s set might be at fault for that.
More than half of your body is water, so it is no surprise that this odorless and tasteless liquid will be your most lusted-after festival item.
3. Sturdy shoes FTW
Honestly, we don’t care about the Balenciaga crocs you spent a fortune on. We don’t care about your flip-flops either – they might be Amnesia Ibiza-themed, but that doesn’t put them into the foolproof festival wear category.
Fuck everything that’s open-toe, made of rubber or uncomfy.
Festival grounds are littered with vomit, spilled Red Bull, and sad food leftovers. It can get sticky, filthy, and overall disgusting – in this marvelous environment, anyone would rather rot in hell than wear heels or open-toe sandals.
Put on the type of shoes you won’t mind dancing in for 14 hours straight – soft sole, uber-comfy and lightweight.
Not your fav pair of sneakers though. We’re pretty sure you don’t want to cause irreversible damage to your beloved sneakers.
4. Choose your festival gang – and please do it wisely
Sleeping in a soggy tent, dealing with the fourth hangover of the weekend, and not having a proper shower in the last 48 hours will make you feel like an untrained Tarzan trying to swing from a liana to another.
Festivals are a thrilling adventure – but the “shit is going down” moment is an inescapable part of the thrill. You might get lost, suffer from an aggressive blackout, and lose your phone on your way to Tame Impala’s mosh pit.
You need the right crew next to you. The friends who would pick you up from the meeting spot, although their favorite artist is playing. The people who will hold your head above the toilet while you’re vomiting the last round of shots. The gang who will deliver a supportive speech when you feel overwhelmed by the festival’s craze.
That’s probably one of the most important festival tips for first timers.
5. Equip yourself with toilet paper
You might have never walked on festival grounds – but you must have stumbled upon a picture of festival-goers queueing up for the port-a-potties.
That’s the summeresque version of the highway to hell.
Imagine keeping those portable bathrooms armed with toilet paper around the clock, considering thousands of people use them every hour.
This utopian universe concept doesn’t happen in real life – bring your own tissues, sanitize everything, and, for the love of God, hold your breath.
6. Let the power of apps guide you
Oh, the mighty technology. Her digital claw is always there to catch us when we least expect to fall. Can we all have a moment of appreciation for that?
From timetables to updates, festival apps like Soundclub make the knotty process of understanding WTF is going on a lot easier to navigate. As a social platform, it also connects you with the community of festival-goers attending the same event.
This alone makes Soundclub your bestie when you’re festivaling solo or seeking to meet people who worship Lost Frequencies the same way you do.
7. Beware of the no signal agony
Cell phones are like socially-anxious individuals. When there is a sea of people roaming around, they get a little laggy and find it difficult to concentrate – even when concentrating means letting that damn text message get through.
On the festival planet, the phone signal is weaker than your legs after surviving that Tyler, The Creator moshing.
But there will be moments when you will pray to the festival gods for one bar – most probably after your bar adventure or while you queue for the toilet.
Don’t expect calls and text messages to go through instantly.
Act accordingly and message your gang a few minutes before you feel the “where the hell are they” rush kicking in – it will save everyone an unnecessary headache.
8. Carry cash
It’s 2022, so it sounds counterintuitive to carry cash during a music festival. Did you really attach your credit card to every smart device – from phone to watch – to end up in the ATM queue? We assure you that in the festival world, cash is king.
Some food stalls and bars may not be keen on taking credit card payments. In the festival’s chaotic mess, you will be baffled by the importance of your phone wallet, super hungry, and literally dying for a drop of water.
Now you wish you’d have considered bringing cash, don’t you?
We got some extra festival tips for first timers on that note. Take an additional security measure by distributing banknotes wherever you can – bumbag, phone case, bra, and zippered pockets case are just some of the options. It’s all about being creative.
Even if you drop a tenner from a hiding spot, you still have a couple more to count on.
9. You’ll need that extra pair of socks
Some type of bizarre, black sorcery occurs on the festival grounds – there is no other (somehow logical) explanation for the despicable state that our feet, shoes, and socks reach by the end of the last set.
Is it the Lord of the Rings trekking from one stage to another, people stepping on your foot like they get paid to do it, or the fact that you’ve been dancing for like… nine hours?
Maybe it’s a mixture of those – we will never know.
What we know is that there will be at least one moment during the festival when a spare pair of socks will feel like a blessing.
10. Re-shield your skin with sunscreen
By now you should know SPF is your bestie, even when it’s not part of the festival tips for first timers.
That UV radiation doesn’t do you any good – especially if you spend all day soaking it.
During the festival, the three main feelings you will be chasing are freedom, lust, and ecstasy.
Getting a lovely sunburn will prevent you from experiencing anything at all – besides the bothersome itchiness, of course.
Avoid sunlight’s damage to your skin by re-shielding every couple of hours with some creamy sunscreen.
11. For the festival’s sake, please don’t record the entire set
We get it. You’re finally losing your festival virginity, it’s fucking awesome, and you want to remember it forever – maybe even after that.
So you aggressively press the record button, hoping that your precious battery will create a festival-themed time capsule that will heal your broken heart until next year.
But don’t be the kind of person that holds his phone in the air every three minutes. You are pissing off everyone behind you – plus, you are inviting bad karma with this rookie behavior.
Live the moment. Listen to it. Look at it – but please, don’t do it through your phone.
12. Don’t overpack
Brining three extra outfits might seem like a bright idea. But as soon as you find yourself dragging a painfully massive bag through a muddy field, you’ll instantly regret it.
It’s easy to pack far more than you need while forgetting the things you need the most.
For a trouble-free festival experience, use your curating powers when packing.
We are pretty sure you can cut more than half of the things on your list.
FIY – you might not need dry shampoo and two bumbags, but you can’t skip the sunscreen and sunglasses. That’s festival tips for first timers at its best.
13. Keep your valuables in your bumbag
Oh, the holy bumbag – we know it, we’ve seen its many silhouettes and color variations, and we surely have one tucked away in the depths of our wardrobe.
Put it into use, strap it around your body and let the bumbag guard your belongings. Every festival veteran knows that shit can go down when you’re squeezing through the crowds or dancing with your phone in hand.
One second you have it, then the second one it goes poof. Honestly, taking a peek at how chaotic and messy festivals can get, the scenario where you lose your precious phone or indispensable cardholder is more of a normality rather than a fluke.