6 Ways to Maximize your Festival Experience

My favorite unofficial season, festival season is underway and that means weekends will be spent listening to good music with great people.

Last year I did a post on festival essentials and compiled a list of popular U.S. festivals for you to check out.

To commemorate this year I’m bringing you 6 ways that you can make the most out of your festival experience. There’s nothing better than killing two birds with one stone. By the way, you shouldn’t kill birds but you get my point.

1. Take part in the social responsibility that festivals have to offer.

Many festivals have taken the green route to make it as sustainable as possible. Whether it’s recycling, reusing, or reducing, there are numerous chances for you to pitch in and there’s usually some perk involved.

For example, Bonnaroo has a partnership with Clean Vibes Trading Post to allow attendees to collect points by trading in cans, cups, bottles, and cigarette buds. Those points can then be used to redeem prizes such as camping gear, autographed band merchandise and more. Many other festivals such as Lollapalooza have similar programs.

Alternately, Firefly Music Festival has a partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where every dollar you donate enters you to win prize such as artist meet and greet, backstage passes, and more.

Be sure to check out the websites of festivals you’re attending to see how you can lend a helping hand.

2. Create a list of artists and bands you want to see beforehand.

Light planning is good so you can have a rough draft of when there is a good time to eat, use the restrooms, and queue at the stage for the next performer you want to see.

With so much to do and see, it can be easy to forget whose playing when, where, and what time so it would be a shame to miss out on catching a show. Reduce your chances by making your own daily schedule so you can efficiently soak it all in.

Remember too much of anything is never good so don’t over plan that you restrict yourself and you lose the essence of being in the moment and going with the flow.

3. Save money by packing your own food.

This tip applies more to camping festivals rather than non-camping festivals, but without a doubt it’s insanely easy to spend $50+ a day on food and drinks which adds up when it’s a 3-4 day festival.

Keep your wallet fat by packing food that is quick and easy to eat such as hotdogs, sandwiches, and fruit. Obviously, bring a cooler with dry ice for all your food and drinks that need to stay fresh.

For non-camping festival, you can bring energy or meal replacement bars to help you the cut the cost down.

4. Always camp when given the option.

Camping festivals are becoming more popular and they give you the option to camp or commute to the festival grounds. Personally, if I’m spending $300+ on a ticket then I better be in, up, and around the action.

Being one with nature allows you to be fully submerged in everything around you and nothing is more calming than waking up to the smell of a hot breakfast and music playing in the distance.

If you’re lacking camping gear, borrow from a family member or friend and if that’s a no go then there are plenty online camping rental sites.

5. Attend festivals for free by volunteering.

Sure, the price of festivals can put a damper on your funds but you could go for free by trading in your time. Festivals such as Bonnaroo and Hangout have volunteer programs that require you to complete a certain amount of shifts or hours that you can schedule around performers you want to see.

Volunteering not only allows you be a part of the action, but you also get to see the behind the scenes action. I’ve worked a few festivals before and I definitely enjoy getting to see how it all comes together. Plus, you get fed and what’s better than free food.

Typically there is a sign-up deadline and a refundable deposit as an incentive to complete all your shifts, but in the end it might end up being more beneficial for you to volunteer.

6. Go big or go home by upgrading to V.I.P.

Everyone likes to feel like royalty even if it is only for a few days and although there is a hefty price tag for V.I.P festival tickets, there are so many perks that make it well worth it.

I was fortunate enough to experience the V.I.P treatment at Bonnaroo 2014 and it made the experience that much better.

We had a camping spots extremely close to the festival grounds entrance that was separate from the general admission entrance, reserved viewing areas in the front of the main stages, luxury port-o-potty’s, special V.I.P camp grounds with TV’s, lounge chairs, and more.

Let me know if you try out any of these tips in the comments and check me out on social media for more style, design and photography!

Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create and grow!

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