You have your outfits picked out months in advance. You have your money saved up and have been looking online daily for any hint of a line-up announcement. Yes, summer festival season is just around the corner and if you and your friends want to make the journey to any of the hottest music events of the year the planning starts now. Whether it’s making sure to buy to tickets to an event notorious for selling out in hours (even if Coachella has two weekends now) or booking a hotel and flight to make sure you get a price that doesn’t rival your college tuition, I am here to offer some advice. Although the music festival experience is one of the greatest a person can have, everything before it can sometimes get a little stressful. And the stress sometimes starts when picking which festival to go to. So here is some advice and things to take into considerations while choosing the festival that’s right for you.
The Music: Obviously if you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars and travel hundreds of miles (unless you are lucky enough to have one in your home town) to a music festival, make sure you like the music. Sure we all want party till we drop, meet hot girls/guys and tell our friends back home how we ran through the fountain naked, but the real reason we spend this crazy amount of money and travel long distances is because we are devoted music fans. And music promoters cater a festival to almost every type of music fan. Whether you want to dance all night to your favorite DJ (go to Electric Daisy Carnival), you want to chill out on the lawn and check out your favorite jam band or you want a little mix of everything , there is a festival out there for you. It’s as easy as a quick Google search with your favorite style of music and the word festival next to it. Spending 2 to 4 days listening to stuff you either love or hate really does make all the difference. It takes maybe an hour of research to find the perfect fit for you. Here you can find a list of some 2013 festivals.
Comfort Concerns: Another big factor in deciding where to go on your festival adventure is your comfort level. If you absolutely have to shower in a hotel room everyday let me tell you right now that camping is not going to make your experience all too pleasant. Festivals like Bonnaroo get hot and sticky. After 4 days of dancing, porter potties and being in crowds of thousands of people, things tend to get a little dirty and funky. If you do choose a festival like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch or Wakarusa be prepared to except the fact that you’re going to get dirty, smelly and you probably won’t see a shower until you get home. Granted these festivals usually offer onsite portable shower stations, they do charge a fee and you better get there early because there is usually a line. Also (especially Coachella) there are some hotel options in the areas of these festivals. But to me the real festival experience is in the campgrounds and most of the time hotels require shuttle passes, parking passes, arrival and departure schedules to follow and sometimes they just book up to fast. If you are attending a mostly camping festival be prepared to camp. Be prepared to wake up early, have strangers camping inches from you (don’t worry they usually become good friends) and be prepared to get dirty. Now if camping is just not your cup of tea there are plenty of non-camping festivals to choose from. Just to name a few of my favorites, Lollapalozza, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits are all located in the heart of the city.
I really enjoy city festivals because not only do you get the festival experience but you also have plenty of time to explore a different city. Actually a lot of the time the real party starts when the festival grounds close. Being these events are held close to where people live and work they usually run on an earlier noise curfew. So after the festival gates close the city is full of after shows and parties. The downside is a lot of after shows require separate tickets but most times you can find plenty of free or cheap events held specifically related to the festival. And although I love camping and partying on the campground it is nice to take a shower and sleep in a real bed after a long day of shows. So if comfort is a concern be sure to consider the accommodations the festival location offers. Remember a good night’s rest is crucial to keep going all weekend.
Price and size: Some festivals are massive and last four days with a hundred thousand people. Others are shorter and attract smaller crowds. Usually the larger festivals have the bigger line-up and the all star headliners but they also usually come with the larger price tag. That doesn’t mean the smaller festivals don’t put on a good show. As a matter of fact they usually have one or two of the major festival headliners and just have a smaller under bill. And just because you’re not attending a mega festival it doesn’t mean your experience is lessened. Most the time the shows are more intimate and the environment more relaxed. If you’re working with a budget consider a smaller festival closer to home.
It’s your choice: All in all it comes down to what festival you want to go to the most. If you have heard about a festival or have been following one for awhile and you have told yourself one day you will go, well then go. Don’t be worried about price or comfort levels. If it’s something you just have to do then you will find a way to make it happen and all the inconveniences will take a backseat to the amazing time you will have. The hardest part is committing and buying the ticket. Just GO FOR IT. One word of advice, commit to it before tickets go on sale and try to buy them the second they do. Usually the online traffic gets extremely backed up when tickets go on sale and some festivals sell out in less than a half hour. Have your credit cards ready and every type of pass you need to purchase handy. Some festival sites require an account before you can purchase tickets so set that up days in advance. Research the pass options and purchasing process before sale day. There is nothing worse than hyping yourself up about a festival and finding out it sold out in seconds.