Know what you can bring in to the festival grounds: It’s good to know if you can bring a bag into a gated-off, ticketed event, and it’s good to know if you can’t bring a DSLR camera. No one likes showing up to a hyped-up, multi-day fest only to find out you can’t bring that really nice Nikon you were hoping to use during a band who’s set you’ll now miss because you need to bring it back home. It also can’t hurt to know if you can, say, stuff food in a bag and avoid having to drop a lot of cash when hunger eventually hits. Speaking of…
Budget yourself: So, you really want that cool P4K fest t-shirt to show off to all your friends who couldn’t get in. But you’ve only got a $20 on you, and suddenly you’re hungry. Oh, and you’ve scoped out a sweet, hard-to-find 12-inch record somewhere in the record fair. Better hit up an ATM before you head into the fest the next day (unless you don’t mind the extravagant fees that all portable ATMS at festivals inevitably charge you).
Travel with friends: There’s a lot that can bug you at daylong events: The heat, standing around, the guy who doesn’t understand the difference between dancing and personal space. If you forsee unpleasantness ahead, it’s best to experience it in the company of friends: Chances are, they’ll know how to cheer you up if you get a little grumpy.
Set a meeting place: Yes, these days everyone has a cell phone so it’s easier to keep in touch. But everyone has a cell phone, so at an event with tens of thousands of attendees calls get dropped, signals fall to the wayside, and technology suddenly seems more flaccid than ever. So if you arrive with a team, it can’t hurt to find a meeting spot for between-band hangouts. Because even if you get great service, the last thing you want to have to do is glue your ear to a cell just so you can try and locate a friend in a massive crowd during a metal performance.
Know your limits: Getting tired? Find a place to sit and rest. Thirsty? Perhaps it’s best to relinquish that spot you’ve been saving for five hours so you don’t get dehydrated (or get a friend to grab you water). Susceptible to sunburns? Lather yourself in suntan lotion, grab a hat, and hide in the shade as much as possible. You’re at this festival to enjoy it, so you might as well ensure nothing gets in your way of getting the most out of it. Unless your idea of a good time is getting sunburned, dehydrated, and passing out from exhaustion: If it is, more power to you.