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Music Festival Do's and Don'ts From a Diehard Music Fan

Despite popular opinion summer isn't over yet and we still have some really awesome trips heading to festival and concerts all over the Northeast so we sat down with Adam, our resident audiophile, and diehard music-of-all-genres-fan, to get his advice on how to make the most of your music festival experience:

When you hear the words “music festival” nowadays, you may immediately think of massive, colorful events like Coachella, Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, or EDC.

For me, however, festivals had to be simpler, more homegrown. I’ve never been one for spending much time in the sun, and am a notoriously grumpy person in general, jaded and weathered by my ever-worsening hearing and lured constantly by the charms of sticky, dark rock clubs where leaning on the wrong countertop may lead to a brand new fungus friend on your shirt.

I will confess, though: I have made it to a few festivals in my day, and would like to think I’ve learned a few things that I can pass along to you, my reader, that will make your all-day glamping I MEAN enjoyable music experience much easier to handle.

1. DO prioritize storage.

Whether at Coachella or a hippie gathering in the woods of New England, you will need to carry things. Big things. Small things. Medium things. Weird pointy things that don’t fit in a pocket properly. If you’re a fashion-forward citizen and would rather lick dirt than wear cargo shorts, grab yourself a fanny pack or a nice drawstring backpack and thank me later when you’re not holding everything in your hands and have lost two charging cables and a water bottle by the end of the day.

2. DON’T forget about hydration.

Constant trips to the beer garden/beer ten will drain your wallet and your H20. Think ahead and find out where the water stations are - all festivals have them, nowadays - and grab yourself a packable/rollable water bottle. If you can bring a canteen or reusable water bottle in with you, then DO THAT.

3. DO get there early and listen to acts on the undercard.

My first festival experiences were always made richer by the fact that my brother and our friends arrived early and were able to see bands on smaller stages, with smaller crowds, and discover a lot of the artists and music that we may not have known about, but who we still listen to to this day. Just this year at Boston Calling, crowds were lining up early for smaller indie bands and artists like Charly Bliss, Leikeli47, Weakened Friends, and STL GLD - were they initially just making sure they got spots to see the headliners? Maybe - but when you support the emerging artists at a festival lineup, you make future lineups that much stronger.

5. DON’T forget about power.

The year: 2014. The scene: a cold, rainy Boston Calling Music Festival. Your protagonist: yours truly, then a Digital Content Manager for an independent Boston-based promotion company. His phone: dead, with only a wall charger on his person. Manning the social media channels for his employer, he searches for an outlet while his media peers all plug their devices into portable battery packs, easily stowed in pockets or situated in bags. With multiple artists’ performances canceled, concertgoers had been shuffled out of the festival grounds (then located at Boston’s Government Center) for safety from lightning. These concertgoers were clamoring for information about when gates would be reopened. Somehow, I was able to find an outlet and stay informed through festival organizers of the weather status and keep the Twitter feeds I was operating up to date, but at the expense of my sanity (and likely a bit of my soul). The lesson here: it’s a festival, your phone will lose power, your service will be terrible, please plan ahead.

As I finish typing this, I’m preparing my weekend for the New England Country Music Festival, where I will be charged up, hydrated, and stocked with festival necessities (in a rad fanny pack). What are your festival do’s and don’ts? Let us know!

0 Comments 10 August 2018
Adam Parshall

Adam Parshall

Boston-based community marketer & tinnitus-haver. Adam is easily located at any number of poorly lit clubs in Boston moonlighting as a show photographer or scrounging Armageddon Shop for records.

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