If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably know that I was out of town this weekend. I, along with three other friends, hopped in my car and drove down to Tampa for the Coastline music festival. It was a one day festival that started around noon and lasted about twelve hours and we rode down the day before, drove back the day after. I never realized how long that car ride would be but it's 11 hours, basically, of swapping drivers, bad jokes, and too much cigarette smoke for one tiny green car. But I wouldn't change one thing about this weekend. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. But before I get into the Dos and Don'ts I want to tell you, first - I'm going to share the lineup.
Two Door Cinema Club
Matt and Kim
The Joy Formidable
Fitz & the Tantrums
The bands in bold were my favorite. And Matt and Kim is italicized as well because they were absolutely freaking AMAZING. OH MY GOD. I don't really think that I could explain how high energy and incredible they were, but I'll just say that everyone should go see them. I didn't even know who they were when they came on stage [though I did have a friend drooling over them all day], but it didn't even matter. If you know their songs, if you don't, if you think you do...it's all good. They will still make their time slot the best hour or so that you've had in the past week. Or year. Or lifetime. I mean, really.
And festivals are definitely worth the drive, even when it's into double digit hours. There's just something about hundreds or thousands of people coming together in one place to see their favorite bands, spend a weekend with both their friends and strangers they just met, buy the ridiculously overpriced drinks, food, and cigarettes, and ignore the rest of the real world that has to do with jobs and homework.
If you've never been to one, my advice is to go. As soon as possible. It's so worth it.
But I did learn a few things while I was there.
Even though I've been to a good few concerts, this was my first festival, so I didn't really know how to prepare. But if you're planning on going to one, here's my list of things you should [and shouldn't] do.
// wear comfortable shoes. i feel like this should be a common sense thing.
// bring CASH. and lots of it. it's better to bring more and to not use it than to bring less and have to use the ATMs there. those ATMs will charge you out the wazoo for withdrawals [as i found out this weekend].
// bring sunglasses. it'll be hot and even if it isn't sunny all day, chances are that it will be sometime. and sunglasses help more than most things.
// wear loose, thin clothing. obviously, this is more for summer festivals, but i don't know of many in the winter anyway. at home, it's in the 60s, so when i packed, i packed a few things that were in between warm and cold weather clothing and one crop tank and shorts. and i lived in the crop tank and shorts all weekend. literally. it was in the 80s in Tampa. and even if it hadn't been, the amount of people around you, especially if you're in the pit like we were, will keep you warm. I promise. there's no reason to pack anything cute if it's any kind of warm. bring an extra sweater. that's all you'll need.
// eat fast food. you're already going to be spending a TON of money inside the venue wherever you go because that's how the place makes its profit. I had two drinks, a sandwich, and a water and I spent basically $41. It's crazy. There's no point in going out somewhere nice to eat anyway because you're going to smell, need a shower, and be wearing clothing that has other people's sweat on it...so the nicer restaurants probably wouldn't let you in even if you tried. :)
// take advantage of the free breakfast that your hotel most likely gives you.
// mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you're going to reek of smoke, alcohol, festival food, and sweat all weekend. it's okay. everyone else is in the same boat.
// tip the people making you drinks. they have to be there the whole day too, but they don't actually get to go and enjoy the music like everyone else. they're bombarded for a straight 12 hours by people wanting different kinds of drinks and you know they've got to be exhausted. plus, if you do, they're more likely to make your drink even better [or at least not spit in it...]. i feel like this partially comes naturally because i'm a waitress too, but still. don't be a jerk.
// buy what you love. you're probably not gonna ever go back to the same festival again, and even if you do, it won't be the same. if you love a band and want a tshirt, buy it. even if it's ridiculous expensive, at least it's yours now and you're supporting their music.
// HAVE FUN. my friends and i were joking about this yesterday on the way back because some people that were there literally looked like they were trying so hard to be "cool" that they didn't enjoy themselves near as much as they could have. you are never going to see these people again [unless you make some really ballin' friends] so don't worry about what you do, say, or look like. it's cliche to say, but be you. you're out of town with some super awesome friends...why ruin it by trying to be someone else?
// overpack. i packed SUPER lightly for me and i still had more than i needed. i had makeup, one pair of shorts, one oversize tank, pajamas, and two other shirts. oh, and three pairs of shoes. save yourself the leg room and leave all but one pair of shoes, one pair of shorts, and maybe two shirts [along with your pajamas] at home.
// wear a ton of makeup. it'll melt. i'm absolutely one of those people who can't go outside without makeup on but i'm pretty sure that all of it was gone by the time we left that night. twelve hours in the hot sun does not make for a pretty made up face.
// drink so much that you throw up halfway through the day. thankfully, none of us were in that boat, but while we were walking to one of the last sets, there was a guy laid out on his back by some security guards. i kid you not, he looked dead. and as we passed, i heard a guard lean down and say "it's alright, hon, we're gonna go get you a wheelchair." you do NOT want to be that person. your friends will hate you for making them miss part of a show, the guards will hate you for being obnoxious, and the general population will always remember you as "that guy who needed a wheelchair."
// get dehydrated. i have a heat problem and i get really dizzy and start to black out if i get too hot. so please, please plan on having extra cash to buy those $4.50 bottles of water. even if it's just one, there are water fountains to fill it up again later. water is important.
// push people unnecessarily. trying to get back to your friends is one thing, but don't knock out a girl my size if you're trying to get to your buddy at the front of the line. say excuse me. i'll move. most other people will too as long as you aren't a douchebag about it.
// throw stuff on stage. one of the bands we saw had a rule about bottles - you couldn't have any. so the festival workers passed out paper cups for their set instead. apparently they had a problem at some point with people throwing bottles on stage. what?
i love these guys.
and i couldn't have asked for better people to go with.
i hope all of your weekends were fabulous as well!
P.S. - if you have any festival stories, i'd love to hear them below! :)