Festival season is upon us! I just returned from my very first Forecastle Festival in Louisville, KY; a three-day festival, on the beautiful Ohio River. I like to be prepared, so I did my research. I found a couple useful tips before I left, but of course, I learned more once I was there. So here are some tips that I learned along the way:
- Check the weather before you leave. This may seem obvious, but it does affect what you will pack. For instance, the first day of the festival, it rained. So I wore my outfit that included a hat, so I didn’t have to worry about my hair looking like a wet dog (bangs – am I right ladies?), and my makeup was safe too.
- Check the festival’s list of restricted items – you may be surprised by a few of them. For instance, many festivals don’t allow aerosol cans. There went my plans of dry shampoo and sunscreen! Instead, my boyfriend and I applied a very generous coat of cooling [aerosol] sunscreen at the hotel and brought a Neutrogena Sunscreen Stick in my purse for touch-ups. Read my rave review of this product on my blog post 5 Things to Bring to a Music Festival (that you might not think to)!
- Uber there, walk back (if possible). We stayed at a hotel about 1.5 miles from the festival site. That’s definitely walkable, but…I’d rather pay $6 to arrive before I’m dripping sweat, and to say a proper goodbye to air conditioning for the day. Plus, there’s no surge pricing TO the festival, but there is coming FROM the festival. Weird how that works, right? And by the time the festival is over, the sun is already set, so it’s not nearly as hot out. And who cares if you’re sweaty at that point? Be sure to keep an eye out for Uber/Lyft codes while you’re there! Check the festival event page, we found a ton!
- Check if they have an app! If the festival has an app – get it! The Forecastle app was incredible. You could look at the line-up, mark what bands you want to see, and it will send you an alert when they’re about to go on. If there are any changes in the line-up, it will let you know. The app also had the festival map, the list of vendors, the current weather, and links to all of their social media. We had a rain delay on Friday, so the app was super useful letting us know about the rescheduled set times!
- Eat before you leave. If you’re staying in a hotel, pack snacks! Festival food, while delicious, is expensive. Have some granola bars and Gatorade before you leave your room. It will get your energy up before you get there, and save you some extra cash.
- Locate water + bathrooms. Once you’re there, first things first, find the porta potties and water stations. Find a map, walk around, and find ALL of them. You don’t want to be waiting until you’re doing the pee dance to figure out where to go. And again, find ALL of them. Some lines will be way, way longer than others just because they’re in a central location, or easiest to find. I guarantee there will be a water station or porta potty along the border of the festival, with much shorter lines.
- It’s not the place for a full face of make-up. Stick to BB-cream and some waterproof mascara, or you’ll be checking your mirror all day – evening out foundation streaks, trying to reapply your winged liner while sweating, it’s not worth it. Or better yet, ditch the makeup! You’ll be wearing your sunglasses for 85% of the day anyway.
- Take a memento. Call me sentimental, but I always have something to remember my trips by. I got a Forecastle tank top because they were adorable. I also brought two disposable cameras with me for pictures. Yes, you’ll take pictures on your phone. But how often do you really print any of those out? Keep your ticket and/or your wristband, and put them in a shadowbox with some photos! Have SOMETHING to remember your experience by, other than your Instagram feed.
Now, go! Enjoy the festival! And please comment any useful tips you’ve learned!