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5 Tips for Surviving Summer Festivals


photos by Hillary Nguyen-Don


The summer season is the season of music festivals.  Whether you’re into pop, hip hop, indie, EDM, or rock there’s a festival out there just for you.  Music festivals like Squamish Valley Music Festival, and Pemberton Music Festival are some of the biggest festivals on the west coast this year.  Festivals can be scary and for those first-timers out there, this list can help you survive the crazy world of music festivals.


1.    Make a schedule

“Let’s watch Eminem later.” “Oh Foster the people is on right now!” “Hey when does Aiden Knight play?” So many acts, so little time. You may not get to see all of your favourite artists perform, but preparing a schedule will probably help you get the most bang for your buck.

2.    Pack light

It’s 4 days in a field. You don’t need 7 pairs of high-waisted floral shorts and an inflatable mattress.  Bring the bare necessities and if you forget to bring extra clothes just head to the merch table and get yourself a sweet band shirt.



Thousands of music fans gathered around the Stawamus stage at the 2011 Live at Squamish music festival.


3.    Make friends

And I don’t mean the ones that you came with.  When there’s an intermission or lull in a performance talk to people in the crowd.  If you’re camping hang out with other campers in the area.  Everyone is there for the same reason: the love of the music.  Making new friends will better your experience there and result in a jolly ol’ time.  Also the more friends you make, the more friends you have that are willing to help you escape the mosh pit you accidentally walked into.

4.    Wear comfortable and durable shoes

When you’re in the crowd and the artist starts playing a popular song be prepared for the worst. For those less experienced show goers the momentum of the crowd will probably knock you over and you may have to say goodbye to those pair of TOMS you had on.  Wear something with laces like Converse, Vans, or Doc Martens.



There are many kiosks and vendors available at music festivals for those forgetful folks. (Hillary Nguyen-Don)


5.    Be positive

You’re spending hundreds of dollars to see some bands and rappers perform on an open field so the least you can do is enjoy it. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer.  People will push. People will sweat. And there will be obnoxious drunks. Complaining about everything won’t help anyone so either solve the problem, ignore it, or put a positive spin on it.  Too much pushing? Spontaneous mosh pit! Sweaty crowd? You mean “wet t-shirt contest.” Obnoxious drunks? Pass me a beer and welcome me to your world.


Extra tips:         

  • Write down everyone’s names and number on a piece of paper, take a picture of it and set it as your phone’s background. If you lose your phone the founder will be able to call one of the numbers and there’s a chance you will reunite with your loved one again.
  • Most festivals will only allow unopened water bottles into the venue. I’m not telling you that there is a way to sneak in alcohol, but let’s just say that YouTube is the master of “How to” videos.
  • Be nice to the security guards by the front of the stage.  They’re the ones that determine who gets the extra set lists after the performances are done.
  • Watch the small local acts. These underappreciated bands are hidden gems in the music industry.  They usually interact with fans after their set giving you the opportunity to become buddy-buddy with potentially the “next, big, thing”.
  • Book accommodation as soon as you get your tickets. Hotel rooms, and motel rooms book up fast and will usually get filled up months in advance. If you’re a camper then just add it onto your ticket, but if you’re a little more high maintenance then you better get yourself a room early.