Tips For Surviving A Summer Music Festival (Particularly Pitchfork)

Pitchfork Music Festival is smack dab in the middle of the summer festival season. After spending half a hot season sweatin’ it out to black metal, sissy bounce, and indie pop at street fests, one comes to accumulate a list of what to prepare for during the bigger festivals such as Pitchfork. Here are a handful of survival tips:

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. TC mark


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  • Anon

    I could not care about Pitchfork if I tried/TC kept having fucking articles about it.

  • Guest

    “…a band who’s set you’ll now miss” – um, perhaps you mean WHOSE?

  • Clara

    this was the most useless summer music festival survival guide ever. wow, make it sound like day camp why don’t ya.

  • Frida

    You should have tips on going alone to music festivals.
    I’m going to end up going alone to Lollapalooza, and since it’s the first time too, I’m wondering if it’s really the best idea…

    • Shwax

      I agree. 1 & 2 are good but the many people traveling with friends naturally have fewer concerns: You can borrow $$ from someone for the day, you can take turns between saving a spot and getting water and you (probably) don’t have to worry about that guy impeding on your personal space.

      I too am going to Lollapalooza for the first time and am going solo and would appreciate some legit tips on how to survive more than obvious: drink before you dehydrate.

      • Frida

        I’m scared of being alone in the crowds since I’m short!
        I wonder if I’ll even be able to see. Haha.

      • Uhnonnymus

        Fests alone are fun I’ve never been to a festival and not gotten separated by my friends at some point so there’s that. Don’t worry about crowds, the nice thing about festivals is that you can usually see from the back (don’t go in the middle) and if not you can usually make your way to the front pretty easily assuming you aren’t seeing the headliner that day or something like that. Don’t overthink it, it’s just a festival, if the bands you like are there then you’ll enjoy yourself…you’ll make friends there anyway.

      • Frida

        Thanks for the tips! I’ll remember that.

  • hertz

    This post doesn’t mention anything about psilocybin mushrooms (??)

  • Björn

    We get it, you all like Pitchfork. Please, let this be the last article.

  • Uhnonnymus

    This guide sucks. The only thing you need to remember at fests (and stfu about Pitchfork already) is to do a ton of drugs and ignore your friends because they all want to see shitty band X and you want to see someone else.

  • Anonymous

    “during a band who’s set you’ll now miss”

    “during a band who’s set you’ll now miss”

    “during a band who’s set you’ll now miss”

    Just sayin’.

  • Anonymous

    This guide was very logical, i don’t understand how people are saying it’s a shit guide. Saying how it’s forgetting to mention the use of illicit drugs at the festival without the thought of getting busted by the copious amount of cops and sniffer dogs there….dumb asses.

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