Festival preparations: what to expect at summer festivals

Photo by Julieann Tran | The Signal

Festival season is approaching us. Glitter flying in the crowd, the rumble of the bass shaking the ground–it is basically calling your name and taking your savings out of your pocket. However, if you’ve never stepped foot on Centennial Park when it’s transformed into a psychedelic realm for Shaky Beats, you might be in for quite the culture shock. The same goes for the Atlanta Jazz Festival as the sweet sounds of the saxophone in Piedmont Park transport you to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Whether you have a budget for several festivals to experience the different atmospheres or you have your heart set on a free local festival, this guide will prepare you for the best and worst parts of the festival experience.

PREPARING FOR THE FESTIVAL
1. MAP OUT THE FESTIVAL
Before heading to the festival, look on the official website and download the map of the location. Take a screenshot and make it your phone lock screen for easy navigation. The festival maps often include first aid spots, water fountains, food stations, merch tables, stages, and exits. This will be a quick and simple guide to reference while jamming out to your favorite songs.

2. HAVE A SAFE SPOT IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY
In the hustle and bustle of the crowd, it can be a life or death situation if you do not have a safety spot. You may not have time to focus on a strategic plan to leave the festival while in a real-life emergency, so make sure to have a plan. Come to an agreement on where to meet and advise your friends to keep this safety spot in view in case of an emergency evacuation.

3. WHAT TO DO IF I FEEL SICK
Chances are, if you are suddenly feeling nauseous at a music festival, you are probably dehydrated. Reminding yourself to keep your body nourished while having the time of your life will only improve your situation. Refrain from going more than six hours without food, even if that means losing a front-row spot to a popular band. Remember that Georgia heat without food and water will always leave you losing. You will thank yourself later when you feel energized and full at the headliners performance you have been waiting for all night.

4. WHAT TO WEAR
Ah, you have made it to the fun part. Music festivals are a prime time to explore your individuality and express yourself through clothing and makeup. The norm of summer festival fashion is wearing a little, but making a big statement. Shimmery face makeup, bohemian style clothing, and a fanny pack is your best bet.

5. HOW MUCH MONEY YOU SHOULD BRING
At large-scale festivals like Shaky Knees and smaller ones like Candler Park Music and Food Festival, it’s best to leave your wallet at home. These festivals have up-to-date equipment, like iPads, to make transactions. Often times, there is even an Apple Pay or Google Pay option, so you can complete your payment at the touch of a button. However, you are at the risk of losing your phone and having no source of payment whatsoever. So, you could bring just your card or $20 for food deep in your pocket (to refrain from losing it while dancing) or a drawstring bag.

6. SHOULD I DRIVE OR UBER?
If you are planning on drinking alcohol, plan on ordering an Uber or Lyft. Along with this, make sure to pack a mobile charger in case your phone dies during the festival so you have a guaranteed ride home. However, if you are not drinking alcohol and want to drive your own car, you are at an advantage. After the final set is complete, everyone exits the festival at once in an angry, uncomfortable stampede. Everyone is exhausted and the rush of adrenaline from the concert vibes disappear. Keep in mind, if you drive your own car, you will most likely save money, as the prices of Uber and Lyft skyrocket at the end of a concert, because everyone is ordering to be picked up in the same place. You also will not have to deal with the confusion of finding your driver, as it can be very difficult with 300 people doing the same thing.

7. STAY CAUTIOUS
If you are attending one of these festivals, always keep an eye out for yourself and your surroundings. If you have a drink in your hand, make sure it has a lid, so no one can slip anything into it. Similarly, if you see someone obviously under the influence of a drug, make sure they are okay, and if they are not, call 911 immediately. At many electronic dance music concerts, there’s often paramedics nearby. Make sure to enjoy the moment but always be aware of what could happen in the worst-case scenario.

A FINAL NOTE
Festival season can be the worst or best time of your life, it just depends on what you make of it. While the care-free mindset might be notorious of people who attend festivals, the ones who prepare are the people who will enjoy it most. Tackle this list of preparations prior to partying, then get in that mosh-pit and have the time of your life.

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