Katie Carroll: Summer Festival Etiquette
Steamboat Springs — It’s nearly May, and the summer music festival lineups at Sasquatch, Firefly, Lollapalooza and Telluride Bluegrass are sold out. Now is the time to start meticulously planning your summer festival season. Whether you’re at Howelsen Hill, down the river to State Bridge or Stage 3 at Bonnaroo, there are a few key things to remember if you don’t want your fellow music-lovers to hate on you. Just imagine what a disgruntled fan could do to your tent if you ruin their first-ever chance seeing Jack White live.
Hydrate. It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone loves happily buzzed people and everyone hates unable-to-dance-because-they’re-so-hammered people. This reminder applies in high and low country. Drink water with every beer or bowl (or at least every three) and avoid projectile vomiting on your neighbors. You may also want to remember the musicians you paid upwards of $100 to see.
Ladies, bring your style but don’t be ridiculous. It seems like every apparel website on the internet has a new special section called “Summer Festival Style.” I have no objection to bohemian-inspired dresses made of flimsy fabric that cost $149 or the fringed cross-body bags for an equally outrageous price, but an excellent “look.” However, wear smart shoes. Wearing flip-flops to a festival is worse than wearing sandals in the New York City subway in the heat of July. Just imagine the trip to the portapotty… I can see you’re with me. Wear sturdy shoes for hygienic as well as pushing through crowds purposes.
Make friends. Camping and the stages are the places to discover new people and create friendships, even if it’s just for a day. Instead of sticking with your crowd, build a concert crew. Reach out to your tent neighbors. Form a tent-erhood. I’m not saying you need to share everything and can’t’ hang out with your friends, just saying, stay open. Music brings people together in more ways than by just occupying the same physical space.
Be mobile aware. The most irritating thing at any concert regardless of the season is the jerk in front of you who is recording every single song at exactly your eye level. Your favorite song is all right — that’s why we all have video cameras in our pockets, anyway. But when you become the constant camera guy, not only does everyone hate you because you’re blocking the view, you also start the muttering: “God, who would record this song?” eyeroll, etc. Live music is just that — live. Watch it with your eyeballs, and don’t minimize your experience by watching it through yet another screen. Be in the moment.
Carry cash. It’s better to have cash on you than cards, period. Then you don’t have to worry about losing / forgetting your credit card and then canceling it before someone empties your bank account or buys airline tickets to Thailand for a Full Moon Party. Better to get $80 bucks stolen than charged $800.
Sunscreen. Wear sunscreen. Wear sunscreen! Also, sunscreen is not food.
Have fun my friends!
Katie Carroll is a writer with a love for music and adventure. She hails from New Jersey, just 8 miles from New York City and 57 miles from the legendary Stone Pony. After spending years music hopping in the city and working for performing arts venues, she is excited to bring her passion for music to Explore Steamboat and the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Despite the Jersey upbringing, don’t worry; there won’t be any Springsteen overload (unless he is the surprise concert at the mountain, of course).
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