Steamboat WonderGuide: Tips for the introverted festivarian |

Steamboat WonderGuide: Tips for the introverted festivarian

Julia Ben-Asher/For Steamboat Today

Photo by Hans Brunk

— A few thousand humans packed into a single space, grooving with so much spirit that they sometimes might groove right into your personal bubble. Thousands of conversations and multiple bands overlapping in an unthinkably huge pile, each making a grab at your brain for attention. The smell of other people's sweat invading your nostrils.

And all with the torment of knowing that each show is a precious, magical experience that will never happen again, so you really better not miss too much of it if you go take a break.

For those of us with brains that can be extra sensitive to these parts of festivals, here are some tips for how to drive the struggle bus on through.

Location strategy

The periphery of the crowd is a great place to see and hear the music without the discomfort of being severely sandwiched by bodies.

Recommended Stories For You


• Ear plugs (disguised with a warm hat, if you want) do a great job of muffling loud, meaningless chatter you'd rather tune out.

• Sunglasses or ski goggles (which are a good idea for the festival anyway) allow their wearer to close their eyes and concentrate only on the music.

• If you need a break from people recognizing you and saying howdy, there's no shame in wearing your ski buff pulled up to your bottom-lid eyelashes.

Exhaustion maintenance and recharging management

Stockpile recharging time before shows, and plan for it afterwards. The festival isn't a sprint, but a three-day marathon. Draining the energy reserves early on could be disastrous; pace yourself for success.

Places to escape

When the overstimulation, crankiness or exhaustion crosses that line, the festival site is filled with and surrounded by solid places to take a quick breather:

• Picnic tables around the festival site (fun fact: they're handmade by the festival team of recycled beetle-kill wood).

• Coffee and warming tents.

• The stage with the band playing the most peaceful, least stressful song at that moment.

• The festival site is also a two-minute stroll from the base of the ski area, where a walk on the snow might help clear a head, and is a mile from the closest point of the Yampa River, which is bordered by some lovely, quiet banks.

• Conversely, the thick of the crowd might be the place where you're most invisible to everyone else, who'll be focused entirely on the stage.

• Into a good, meaningful, soul-connecting conversation with a friend, old or brand-new.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.