I recently went to the Firefly Music Festival in late June. Just to give you a taste and, I guess, a microcosm of the whole epic experience: it involved me throwing glow sticks into a crowd of 80,000 people and riding a large flamingo pool floatie while Blink-182 played ‘Dammit.’ Summer means it’s music festival season. They can be some of the wildest times of your life and you get to see great performances by incredible artists. What’s not to love? While I don’t have any regrets from the weekend, I feel I could have prepared a little better.
Here are some essential tips for having an amazing time at your next music festival along with three books to get you ready:
Set Up Your Tent Correctly
I can not stress this enough. Follow those convoluted picture instructions that come with the tent as best as you can. My brother and I traveled five hours and arrived at 6 a.m. The sun hadn’t even come up yet. We were tired, drowsy and just wanted to sleep so we could be ready for the long day ahead. We didn’t really follow the instructions and left a few ‘extra’ pieces in the car. I woke up to a torrential downpour. Ourselves and all our belongings were completely soaked. We forgot to put the protective tarp over the tent. Don’t be me, kids.
Make Friends With Other Campers
If you’re going to a music festival, you most certainly should camp out. Yes, you’ll be sore and smelly but it’s part of the adventure. Other people are in the same boat as you and, for the most part, they’re going to turn out to be a great group of guys. Offer to help them unpack things from their car or to set up their tent. You’re going to be neighbors with them for the next few days so you might as well be friendly.
See Bands You Don’t Know
A big part of being a festival goer is letting loose that inner wild child. Festivals are places of zero judgment and when is the last time you let your freak flag fly? So, when planning out who you want to see perform leave some room to go exploring and see an artist you haven’t heard of. You might just find your favorite band. My brother and I were going to try and get to the front row of Fetty Wap’s set (apologies for my lack of taste) but we decided to see this band called Chvrches. The name looked interesting. Best decision I made that weekend. Mind. Blown.
Before Firefly I never truly understood the importance of water. But when you’re in 90-degree heat for 12 hours a day in the middle of a field, you get to learn that really quick. If you have a Camelback, bring it. It’s a literal life saver if you’re squished in with thousands of people in a crowd. Make sure you stay hydrated. Take this advice to heart if you choose not to listen to anything else written here. It’ll make the experience much more enjoyable.
Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I Shouldn’t Tell by John Popper (De Capo Press, April 5, 2016)
John Popper talks about his wild life as the front-man of the band Blues Traveler. Read about his drug-fueled exploits, his battle with obesity, and his love for music. This story of debauchery and redemption is essential for any aspiring music historian.
Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums by Travis Barker (William Morrow, 2015)
Drummer for Blink-182 Travis Barker is a god on the drums. Hailed by many to be the best drummer in the world, his biography touches on his wild life and his brushes with the death. For any Blink fan, this is essential literature.
Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein (Riverhead, October 27, 2015)
When you talk about trailblazers in music, few compare to Carrie Brownstein. Along with her band Sleater-Kinney, she broke the glass ceiling of the male-dominated Rock and Roll scene to be hailed as “America’s best rock band.”