Saba’s Survival Guide to Music Festivals

I admit, we are well into music festival season, but seeing as I was working nonstop up until the month of July, I was unable to attend any until now. So come along with me to Pitchfork Music Festival, held in Union Park in Chicago. This is only my second time attending, but here is what I’ve learned.

Your health and safety is important first and foremost. This means if you’re drinking copious amounts of alcohol and dropping acid, please do so responsibly. If you have a bad trip the people in the First Aid tent just want to help, they aren’t going to arrest you. So always know what you’re drinking and what drugs you’re taking. If you don’t know, they can’t help you. This being said learn the specific festivals policy on water. Whether that means how many water bottles you can bring in, or where the water refill stations are, LEARN IT. The last thing you want is to pass out simply because you didn’t take the time to drink enough water. Water will help hydrate you after alcohol consumption and keep you cool and ready to dance nonstop all day.

Sunscreen.  My god.  Fucking wear it.  It’s a long time in the sun and you’d probably rather keep your tattoos as dark as possible.  Yes, you could be using your sunscreen bottle to hide booze, we’ve all done it, but someone in your friend group must have real sunscreen.  Whether rain or shine, put that shit on and thank me later.

Mole skin. Know what I’m talking about? Thay stuff that’s super sticky and hikers use to not get blisters.  You can pick it up at any drug store. You’re walking a lot, and you know what if your feet look ridiculous but you don’t get a massive blister that rips open, I’m not seeing a negative side to this. I rocked my Doc Marten sandals the first day and they destroyed my heels. I was one of those poor idiots who covered a blister with mole skin and then had to proceed to rip it off at the end of the day.  Even if you think you’ll be okay, better safe that first day.  Blisters are a motherfucker. Comfortable and practical shoes that you don’t mind getting coated in mud are also beneficial.  Those flip flops may keep you cool but your knees will be killing by the end of the day.

Battery pack. Some festivals, including Pitchfork do have charging stations that you can either stand at or it can take the shape of a locker that you pay to leave your phone in because it locks. If the festival you’re at doesn’t have either of these options invest in a battery pack. There are even solar powered ones that serve as a perfect option. It’ll charge the entire time you’re outside during the day and save your ass at night when you need to Snapchat your favourite bands entire performance. I personally have a ridiculous battery pack called a Red Fuel that holds 5-6 full charges, a great thing when you’re with a group.

Cash, ID, and Card. Cash is important for purchasing goods, some vendors have card readers but not all of them will have the technology. Especially at merch tents you could be SOL if you only have a card.  ID is because well, alcohol. Also having identification in case you pass out is also probably helpful so you can be returned to your rightful people. Card either debit or credit. Debit if you do want more cash because most places have ATMs to make purchases easier. Credit if you perhaps are able to buy goods that are a bit more expensive than what you’re comfortable taking out of the ATM.

The Buddy System. This is the most important if you are with friends. If you’re going stag then ignore this. Go make new friends and have a blast.  But if you’re like me and have a small group of friends, sometimes you’ll separate. Maybe someone had to go to the bathroom, or wanted to grab another drink and decided to leave the group.  Have a plan. Cellphone reception can be very spotty because of the high density of phone users in such a small vicinity so your calls may not connect and texts may remain unsent.  Talk with your friends right when you get to the grounds and have a plan.  If we get separated at the end of the festival meet by the tent until we all arrive, do not leave unless everyone is together. If you’re in a pit, stay in the same general vicinity so your friend ha a better chance of finding their way back. It’s really better if you always have a buddy with you so you’re not completely alone.

Now those of you who are on a budget because you had to drop a bit of dough on the tickets may be thinking, “But Saba! I want to sneak in my alcohol and drugs.” Yes, we all do. Alcohol at these things is so overpriced it hurts and the staff knows you’re bringing in booze, so you just have to be the best at it. Bring a plastic water bottle filled with vodka instead of water, put a flask on your thigh while wearing a maxi skirt, put a flask down the front of your pants, tie a bottle into your hair, the possibilities really are endless. The worst that happens is that they ask you to pour it out. No serious consequences will come so it doesn’t hurt to try. Drugs on the other hand, be smart. They have cops there for a reason and though staff is sometimes chill, they are required to make you stop. They can’t confiscate anything though. If you want more tips just Google how to sneak in drugs and alcohol, there are full tutorials.

There you go! Now you’re ready to conquer some music festivals.  Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the music.



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