Summer is a great time for music, plain and simple. What with amazing summer music festivals such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, people, especially college kids, go nuts for these multiple day music extravaganzas. But, the magical music mayhem that is the summer musical festival is known to bring about overwhelming and dangerously zealous feelings from newcomers. Therefore, I have comprised a list of my top 5 tips to help you keep your head at a summer music festival.
With hundreds of bands to choose from, it can be pretty overwhelming to walk onto festival grounds with no basic outline of what acts you’d like to catch. Make a list beforehand of bands you know you want to see, and make sure you know what time their sets begin. With a concrete plan, you can prioritize all the acts you want to catch. However, you can establish a basic outline while still being flexible when it comes to what you see.
2. Stay Hydrated
In light of the two deaths that occurred this year at Bonnaroo, it is important in all the enchanting music mania not to forget your wellbeing. Keep water on hand at all times, and drink frequently. Try not to consume much alcohol, which is a major contributor to dehydration. Stow a couple granola bars or packs of trail mix in your pocket or bag, and crack them out when you need a pick me up. These little things may just save you! If you start to feel faint, do not try to be strong- get the attention of a security guard to pull you out of the crowd and get you to safety.
3. Practice Proper Concert-Going Etiquette
To avoid unneeded concert drama between crowd members, it is important to practice proper concert etiquette. First, don’t try to push your way up to the front ten minutes before the show starts. Nothing angers people more, especially the people who’ve been waiting in the same area for hours just to get a good spot for the show. Next, try to throw all your trash in a receptacle rather than on the ground- it saves people who have to clean up after the festival a lot of trouble!
4. Avoid Scalpers
Scalpers pretty much dominate the concert world right now, buying up thousands of tickets to concerts as soon as they go on sale, and then reselling them for double, triple, even quadruple the face value. The Austin City Limits music festival recently sold out of three-day passes, only to have tons of “tickets for sale” listings on Craigslist and the festival’s Facebook page days later for way over face value. If you’re after tickets, know the date and time of when they will be available to buy on the festival’s website. If you didn’t get tickets in time, and are desperate to buy some from a reseller, be careful! Print passes are easily counterfeited, and Craigslist is a breeding ground for scalpers trying to get your money. If you use Craigslist, make sure you get the phone number of the person you plan to get tickets from. Make sure you meet them in person.
5. Get Good Pictures
Do not use a flash! Half the time, security gets mad when they see flashes go off, although it hardly matters in a huge crowd after the big act has begun. Flashes will be going off everywhere- but flashes really only illuminate the back of people’s heads that are directly in front of you rather than what’s on the stage. Instead, try turning your ISO (shutter speed and light sensitivity) up to 400 or even 800. You could even try for as high as it goes, and see how that turns out. Next, turn the EV (exposure value) setting way down, into the negative number options. It will seem pretty dark, but this is perfect for concerts. That’s it! It makes a big difference.
Enjoy yourself, be safe, and soak up the amazing music!
Lily Angelle is a Radio-Television-Film major at The University of Texas in Austin, TX. She hopes to one day be a cinematographer or screenwriter. In her spare time she enjoys going to concerts, and often writes music reviews for the blog “30 Days Out.” Lily’s favorite bands are Weezer, The Beatles, and The Velvet Underground. You can often find her studying on campus in the Cactus Cafe, or around Austin at Home Slice, her favorite pizza place.