Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

How To Get The Most Out Of Any Music Festival

Discover, don’t get smothered

Hey, it's festival season! For the next 10 months, your social media feeds will be witness to a deluge of branded moments, fringe, rave paint, flashing lights, expensive-looking Airbnbs, "wish you were here" updates, and at least four of your friends posting the same group shot—with different filters, of course—because one in the feed just isn't enough. No shade to December, but this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Whether you're a seasoned fest vet or a newbie, there are basic rules you must follow in order to truly make that hard-spent cash worth it. What's the use in paying hundreds of bucks only to fall ill within hours of your first day? That wouldn't be very punk at all! Abide by the following guidelines, though, and, chances are, you'll have the best time ever. Or at least your social media updates will make it seem like it. 

1. Hydrate

This should go without saying. If you're going to drink alcohol—or even just eat really salty foods—at a festival, please match it with good ol' H2O. Red Bull gives you wings, but water gives you life.

2. Eat

Again, this should go without saying, but most music festivals partner with local restaurants and catering companies. Don't sleep on the culinary lineups! They're your chance to discover and try restaurants you normally wouldn't. Plus, like, you need sustenance.

3. Schedule

Download the festival's app and use it to plan what artists you want to see. Yes, it's annoying to have to download yet another thing to your smartphone, but unless you want to memorize the schedule or go into your calendar and set up alerts, this is the way to go. The apps typically alert you ahead of time when your next set is. 

4. Wander

One of the best and most rewarding things this here writer has done between must-see acts is explore the festival grounds, checking out unfamiliar artists and interacting with the art. It cannot be stressed enough that festivals are about discovery and the only way you're going to actually do that is if you wander and keep your ears open. The art around festivals isn't there to just look good—interact with it! Music is but a third of a festival experience; fill your camera feed (and memories) with some cool artistic ventures.

5. Rest

Not to get super personal, but one of my fondest festival memories of late is when I stopped wandering and laid down on the ground, in the middle of the grassy grounds, and stared at the sky while the sounds of the various sets and people melded together. It was surreal—peaceful, even. Take time to sit, lay, and pause. Festivals take a lot out of your senses and body; like your phone, your mind, body, and soul will need some recharging throughout the day. Listen to yourself. It's the secret to festival longevity.

6. Edit

Be smart about what you post on social media. Don't post anything you wouldn't want your future self to see. Also, be cutthroat in deleting the images you take. If one doesn't immediately bring you joy or whatever, don't keep it on your device. Remove it to make room for other moments that will bring you joy... or whatever.

7. Group-up

You're most likely going to experience whatever it is you're going to experience with a group. (Though, if you're going solo to a festival, I applaud you!) Be smart and have a safe space to meet. Boy Scout Rule #1 is to stay in one place if you get lost or separated. Keep an eye out for one another's health and well-being. A good friend is one who tells a friend they've had enough (and then gives them water).