This is the fourth year for our month-long music festival, and it’s going to be bigger than EVER. The Amp in St. Augustine and the St. Augustine Distillery have teamed up with over 300 FREE musical acts, and all the historic bed and breakfasts (including yours truly!) have chipped in with over 30 FREE events as well (and some include alcohol!)
So pat yourself on the back for making a great choice for your September getaway.
Keep on the path of great choices with these tips from Front Row Tickets for surviving a music festival–not just Sing Out Loud, but any fest. And don’t forget our greatest tip–if you haven’t booked a stay for September, it’s not too late to do it now! Just click on the Reservation button in the upper right hand corner of this page, and pick the room that you like best.
Tips for Surviving a Music Festival
Music festivals can be a blast. With your favorite musicians rocking out, your friends by your side and the sun shining down on you, it’s easy to bliss out in the crowd. Unfortunately, though, such moments can be hard to find if you’re not adequately prepared for the experience. For every happy moment in the sun, there are usually at least another dozen spent in line for a Porta-Potty, sweating in the humidity of the crowd, and struggling to sleep over thumping bass lines. That’s not to say you should avoid a music festival altogether – they can be fantastic opportunities to see the bands you love and make memories with friends. Still, every concert-goer should know what they’re in for before taking the plunge.
Every music festival is different. Preparation for Bonnaroo looks a lot different than prep for Coachella, for example. Still, some questions are universal: what will you eat during the festival? Where will you stay? Where will you park? When should you plan to arrive? When is your favorite band going on? Have you bought your Coachella tickets?
These questions can often be answered on the festival’s website, but some aren’t obvious until you show up. Going into a festival with an open mind and a go-with-the-flow attitude will serve you well in this regard. Resist the urge to nail down every detail of the weekend. Instead, be prepared for anything.
Nail down your plans for food and water *before* you enter the festival. If you’re hoping to take advantage of on-site offerings, check out the festival website to determine what food trucks will be available. Some will only take cash; other festivals ask participants to load a wristband with credit for a cashless experience.
Music Fest Musts
Whether you’re dropping in for a day or plan on camping for the weekend (or–better yet–staying at one of St. Augustine’s best bed and breakfasts), create a music fest survival kit to keep in your car. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats can help protect you from the heat. Some festivals even allow you to bring in small, hand-held fans to keep you cool. You’ll also want to pack any prescription medications you’re taking, along with a medicine cabinet-worth of over-the-counter drugs. You’ll be grateful for ibuprofen should you develop a headache or sleeping pills when you can’t seem to fall asleep.
In addition to the physical items you bring along, check in with your friend group to create a policy about meeting up. Inevitably, you’ll want to split up and see different shows at different times. When cell service is a challenge, finding your friends again can be an exercise in futility. Choose a landmark to meet up at specific times throughout the day. Even if you just meet to grab food together and opt to go your separate ways again, it’s a good strategy to keep track of one another.
If you’re heading to a festival to see a specific artist, you’ll probably zero in on their name once the schedule is released. While it would be nice to see all the bands on schedule, many festivals have multiple stages playing three or four sets at the same time. While you might be eager to catch Daft Punk, you might have to sacrifice seeing Lana Del Rey to do so. Before the start of each day, take a look at the schedule and decide what your priorities are – but remember, stay flexible. Knowing who is on stage at any given moment can help if you decide to bail on a less-than-impressive set.
Lineup changes and scheduling can change at the drop of a hat. Keep abreast of potential disruptions by following the festival’s official social media pages. Twitter is often updated first, so turn on the ‘alerts’ button for the app. In many cases, music festivals create their own apps that contain the same updates they post on social media. Sing Out Loud, for instance, has a great one that shows all the venues AND gives you up-to-date information on performances.
Keep in mind that when thousands of concert-goers enter a relatively small area, cell phone towers become easily overloaded. While you may have packed a portable charger to keep your phone accessible around the clock, you may not end up using it much because you can’t get a signal. Still, phones can be helpful to keep track of the time and serve as flashlights once it gets dark.
Thriving, Not Surviving
Ultimately, your music festival experience should be fun and not about survival mode. Create checklists for the week before the fest to ensure you have everything packed and prepared. Do your homework, understand what’s necessary, and you’re sure to have a fantastic time.