Bonnaroo music festival, Tennessee.

It’s 4 a.m. and I cannot find:
A. My friends.
B. My shoes.
C. My shirt.

Spring break is here and summer is coming – it’s time for the festival season to begin!
(Okay, I live in Colorado, and we basically have festivals year-round because there’s always something going on in the mountains – which is awesome)
Anyway, back to my embarrassing story…

Oddly enough, I walked all the way back to the tent without even a second glance from anyone. This was not my first festival, but it was the first time I lost damn near everything in one night and nobody seemed to think this was odd. The guy operating the groomer (they re-groom the dirt area in front of the stages each night so it doesn’t get too uneven) said there was pretty much zero chance I was going to find my sandals again, which meant I was barefoot for the rest of the festival. Not the worst thing in the world, but still – I really liked those sandals.

The point here, is that while I did, (literally) party my socks off, I was not so out of control that I was making poor decisions. I did not pass out – I just didn’t care very much about my possessions apparently.

There’s a moral here somewhere, I know it…

Rule #1: Stay in control when alcohol or other festival mood altering products are involved

Outside of staying in control and knowing your limits if you decide to party at a festival, there are some other things you can keep in mind when you show up that will help you have a safer experience.

Take the short way home

Who did you come with? If you need to leave, or if they leave without you – how will you get back to town or home? **This is especially important if you’re doing a study abroad or are not very familiar with your festival buddies.

When you walk into an outdoor festival, identify

  • Exits (official or otherwise – if there’s an emergency, I’m getting my party out however I can)
  • Medical tents – for when you lose your shoes and step on glass or other sharp objects. Don’t waste time locating one when you need it most. Know where they are beforehand.
  • Security locations – both stationary tents and roving patrols. Anyone with a walkie-talkie will do in a pinch.
  • The mojito slushy machine – hey, you asked.

At an outdoor summer festival?

Keep in mind:

  • Sunstroke = bad news bears. Sun blocking clothing and sunscreen are a must. Wear light layers that allow air flow and protect from the sun.
  • Heat exhaustion can be A) awful and B) a long-term issue once it happens.
  • Hydration is easy – take electrolite tabs, I use Nuun or Uppy if I’m in Europe.
    • Festival tip: Leave the electrolite tabs in the empty bottle so you’re not taking in liquids. Then when you fill the bottle, add the tab to make for a hydrating nectar of deliciousness. I’d hate to miss J-T cuz my ripping headache knocked me out.

They’re headin’ right for us!

Crowd rush, fires, bomb, stage collapse, overcrowding, rioting result in thousands of injuries and deaths every year throughout the world (Rahmat, Jusoff, Ngali, Ramli, Zaini, Samsudin, Ghani and Hamid, 2011). Yes, for the best experience you want to be so close to the stage that the lead singer sweats on you – I get it. However, this is the probably the best place to get crushed if the crowd decides to surge forward. Find a place where you can easily squeeze out if need be.

Staying in control, being prepared for the elements, mentally rehearsing an emergency and getting a lay of the land as you show up will not only make you safer, it will also ensure you don’t miss out on an awesome part of the festival. So get out there, explore and take part in the festivities! Oh and please share your own festival confessions… I can’t be alone in this.

What’s on your festival calendar?

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