1. Make friends with your neighbours
Nine times out of 10, the people camping next to you will be some of the coolest people you will meet throughout the whole fest. Not only does befriending the people in the next camp establish a sense of community, you'll have more people to look after you (and your stuff) no matter where the festival takes you. Plus, if you run out of supplies (i.e. booze) at any point during the weekend, a friendly neighbour will usually be there when you need them.
2. Bombard the food vendors after hours
Best kept secret of camping music fests? After the music has stopped playing, many of the food vendors are willing to sell their tasty treats at a discount in order to avoid tossing perfectly good food into the trash. Throw the vendors a couple dollars, and satisfy those late-night drunchies as you make your way back to camp.
3. Pick up trash and others will follow suit
Leave the festival space better than it was before. While keeping the grounds clean is pretty difficult, it's important to pick up after yourself so that others will do the same. Try picking up a couple pieces of trash per day; all it takes is one other person to see you being a good festival-goer, and soon enough, others will be keeping it clean, too.
4. Embrace the fact that your phone will probably die
While we do suggest bringing a solar or battery powered charger for the weekend, there's still a high chance that your phone will die within a day of arriving at the festival grounds. Rather than panic about all the missed Instagram opportunities, employ a system that will render your phones useless anyways (meet up spots, flags, buddy systems, etc.). Besides, having a dead phone throughout the weekend will be strangely liberating.
5. Prepare for any type of weather
Yeah, we know that the forecast said clear skies, but it's better to be prepared for torrential downpour than not. Be sure to bring a pair of boots you don't mind destroying, a poncho to protect the festi outfit you spent weeks picking out, and a light, down jacket for the chilly nights. And we know that the rain cover on your tent is a hassle to put on, but the extra five minutes setting it up will save your belongings in case of a sudden shower.
6. Navigate through the crazy crowds like a pro
While the overwhelming crowds of people can definitely be intimidating, it's important to learn how to navigate through the throngs like a seasoned pro. A polite "excuse me" usually works and refraining from getting pushy while keeping patient will win you fans as you scope out a perfect spot. If all else fails, pretend like you're about to throw up and the crowds will be sure to move quickly. Or pretend like you've lost your friend!
7. Research bands before attending
Rather than just going for the main headliners, it's important to research the lesser-known bands on the bill as well. While yes, the main attractions are an important factor in buying a pricey ticket, the obscure groups usually have more to prove, and therefore will be motivated to put on a great show. And who knows, you may just leave the festival with a new favourite band.
8. Make some hard choices about which bands to see
Yes, you are going to have to make some difficult decisions over the course of the weekend. Try as you might, it is near impossible to see every band that you are dying to see live. To make things easier, talk things over with your group about which bands everyone wants to see; it's okay to split up so you can catch that alternative band no one but you has heard of, but you should all reconvene for the headliner. Want to see both of the headliners that are scheduled on the same night? Catch the first half of one and then sprint to the other to catch the final act, that way you can say you've seen both live and LOVED it.
9. Set up meeting spots for your group
There's nothing worse than losing your group of friends during the festival. However, getting separated from the group for the rest of the afternoon/evening can be easily avoided. We suggest using a buddy system so you're never completely alone and choosing designated meet-up spots and times before you guys head into the festival. That way, you won't have to groove to the headliner by yourself, and you can have a consistent retreat for the rest of the weekend.
10. Be tactical with your bathroom breaks
Be sure to time your bathroom breaks accordingly; no one wants to be holding it while you're trying to get your groove on in the middle of a band's set. Make sure that you're good to go before trudging through the crowd; the lines may be annoying, but it's better than having an emergency. To avoid crazy lines, avoid the bathrooms that are placed next to the stages; they're more likely to be crowded, and there's usually port-a-potties hidden throughout the fest that are significantly less chaotic (and cleaner, for that matter).
11. Fashion yourself a flag or staff to stand out in the crowd
Design a flag or a staff that is unique to your festival crew, and you'll never be lost in a crowd again. Having a distinct flag poking out above the crowds means you can have a sense of direction while navigating through the throngs of people, and you won't be afraid of losing your group. Designate different people to be in charge of the flag throughout the day and let your freak flag fly.
12. Use social media
Most festivals have their own apps that include maps, notes on where to find free things, etc. Download them! If you can, familiarise yourself with it before actually getting to the concert grounds. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartache. Follow hashtags and social media as well for real-time updates and for a chance to have your photos featured!
13. Dry shampoo and baby wipes are a girls best friend
Did I hear someone say convenient late night make up removal and early morning fresh hair?