Attending a music festival is basically a 20-something Rite of Passage. We’re not talking about one of those cushy festivals in a city with hotels and indoor plumbing, or even attending with VIP status, a sweet R.V., and a private shower. No, to really do a festival you must sit in traffic for hours only to get dumped into a campsite straight out of the Hunger Games where you fumble around trying to pitch a tent in the pouring rain. Organizers say it’s about community and the love of the music but if you’ve ever fought for space in Tent City you know that it’s more ‘every man for himself’ than it is ‘kumbaya.’
That’s not the worst of it, not even close. It’s day one and your hopes are high, your phone battery is charged, your Instagram is open and ready for the #sojealous comments. After a little pregaming, you make the mile-long trek into Centeroo where you wait in line for another 40 minutes before realizing you can totally cut to the front without anyone noticing because they’re all stoned off their asses. Finally, after months or maybe years of longing, you’ve arrived and ready to have the Time of Your Life.
I hate to break it to you, buttercup, but you’re about to spend three days trudging around a muddy field smelling like sweat and maybe urine and a melange of other scents you thought were left back in medieval times. It’s okay, don’t give up yet — there will be good music and overpriced alcohol, celebrity sightings and a dirty Santa who wants you to sit on his lap. There will also be tacos that save your soul, an impressive number of girls with flower headbands who pass out before noon, and maybe a coveted spot in an air-conditioned tent. You’ll have a good time (or so you’ll tell your friends via social media if you ever get a reliable signal), but by the end of the weekend, you will trudge back to the campsite, pack up your shit and praise the Music Festival Lord that you’re one long traffic line away from running water. You will cry when you get home and check your bank account and you will silently vow to never do that again.
Next year’s lineup will be released and for a fleeting moment you will consider blowing an entire paycheck on a three-day haze you’ll barely remember. You will then read this article and remember that there are alternative ways to recreate the music festival experience without ever leaving your couch:
Step 1: Wear as few clothes as possible without actually being naked.
Half the appeal of Coachella is spotting young starlets in their perfectly-styled desert ensembles, most of which resemble your mom’s vintage underwear. You can achieve this look for less by stripping your body of all non-essential clothing items and lathering yourself in whatever oil/lotion you have around the house. Don’t forget the body paint. A well-placed tribal design will instantly transform you into the desert warrior of your dreams. If you’re feeling adventurous, lay outside in the sun (a lounge chair is nice but if you want the authentic experience, roll around in the dirt for a few minutes) and bam, you have achieved the perfect sun-kissed festival babe look.
Step 2: Start drinking as soon as you wake up and don’t stop until you pass out.
There’s a subset of festival goers who are smart and don’t imbibe or if they do, they do so responsibly. You are not that person. You have a roof over your head and a liquor shelf at your disposal and you do not have to worry about heat exhaustion or spending your rent money on beer vendors so do it up, babe. When someone asks you how the festival was you’ll be able to tell them honestly, “it was awesome but I barely remember it tbh.”
Step 3: Use the discover function on Spotify and rock out like you know every word.
How the hell are you supposed to see all of your favorite bands when they’re playing the same time slot at different ends of the festival? Your guess is as good as mine but luckily you’re not at Coachella, you’re at #Couchella so there’s no need to throw daggers at the schedulers or try to procure Hermione’s Time-Turner. All you need to do is connect your computer to loud ass speakers, press shuffle on Spotify, and pretend like you know every every song. So maybe you didn’t get to see Tupac’s holographic resurrection but you discovered the sickest new band. To top if off, you were so connected with the lead singer, it was almost as if you were the only one in the audience. Can you really ask for anything better?
Step 4: Don’t cook. Order the greasiest meals you can find on Seamless and devour them unapologetically.
It’s kind of difficult to eat at a music festival because you’re either so dehydrated and full of alcohol that you’re just not hungry or the lines at the food stands are so long that it barely seems worth it. Instead you consume undercooked veggie dogs grilled at the campsite and munch on granola bars between sets. Midnight chicken tacos become the bastion of hope that carries you through the 14-hour days. But that’s when you’re at Firefly. Now that you’re living the high life, you can eat chicken tacos for every meal if you want. Stuff that enchilada in your face without worrying about the weakened functionality of your digestive system. There are no hour-long port-a-potty waits in you future so you might as well go to town. (Figuratively, of course. Don’t actually go anywhere.)
Step 5: Instagram everything, especially indistinguishable body parts and feather jewelry.
It’s that time of year again, when festival goers break Instagram with their excessive pics of inflatable astronauts and trippy cloud patterns. So you aren’t able to share tilt-shifted pics of your favorite band when attending a festival at home but that shouldn’t stop you from collecting likes and followers. Find a well-lit area of your apartment and contort your paint-covered body into weird shapes, have your roommate snap a pic, put that shit through four filters and bring on the hashtags.
Step 6: Go to work with the Worst Hangover Ever and answer everyone’s questions aloofly.
Congratulations! You survived the weekend and now you get to participate in the age-old tradition of making everyone jealous. Those late night munchies and that second tequila bottle have finally caught up to you but you can’t let them see you sweat. Show off your backyard tan lines proudly and when your coworkers ask you if it was the best weekend ever, take a moment to consider and answer with unattainable superiority. “Yeah, I mean it was an experience you know, but last year’s festival was way more rad.”