From Bonnaroo to Sasquatch, music festival season combines some of our favorite things: art, music, style, road trips, and camping. This summer, we’re counting down all the ways we love festival season with the help of our friends and a few festival hacks, like what you need to know for your first festival and how to choose the perfect pair of shoes.
Stylist and blogger Leah Bradley grew up in Southern California, the land of perpetual summer. Which means, well, people there tend to make up their own seasons—and festival season may just be the most celebrated. Every year, thousands of people flock from the coast to the desert for a festival that’s grown so huge, it now takes over two weekends in April.
“I had never been to Coachella, or any festival for that matter, but I knew if I went with a few of my friends it’d be fun,” says Bradley. “Two of my friends who also haven’t been before decided to go on the adventure with me. One of them is from Hawaii so she is used to that small island vibe—this was a whole new experience for her.”
There are holograms. There are flower crowns. There a lot of people there, and a lot of shows to see—a lot. Which can make keeping track of your crew really difficult.
“Within two minutes of being inside you can all get separated in the sea of people,” says Bradley. “We joked that you literally almost needed to hold hands the entire time.” But Bradley and her squad survived Coachella, and came out of the festival gates with some tips for keeping your own crew together, happy, and ready for the weekend. No matter how long the bathroom lines get.
1. Always have a meeting point and decide on a time when you’ll meet there. Not everyone wants to see the same bands so you are bound to split up at some point of the day. Decide ahead of time when and where you’ll meet up.
2. Have a plan. Every morning my friends and I would look at the day’s lineup and decide which performances we were going to attend and who wanted to go where. This helped determine our meeting place. If one of us wanted to see a headliner, like Guns and Roses, we’d say, “As soon as they are done, let’s meet here.” Chances are you’ll be separated for most of the day and when everyone is rushing to the main stage it’ll be hard to find your friends.
3. Stay hydrated. It’s really easy to forget to drink water as you’re running around and dancing, so always buy a few bottles when you first walk in so you can pack them in your bag and whip them out when you need them. This will keep everyone happy.
4. Fully charge your phone before heading to into the festival. I suggest putting your phone on airplane mode until you really need it for calling or texting. There’s no time for checking social media so just enjoy yourself and try to keep your phone alive so you can take photos. There are charging stations but they aren’t very powerful so I suggest bringing a portable charger.
5. Be smart. When traveling in a group, you’re bound to have people offer you weird things or yell random things at you. Make sure to watch out for each other.
6. Split costs and responsibilities. I picked a cool house in Palm Springs with a pool that really was perfect for relaxing after a long day. We got a rental car and split that cost. We split up the meals and each one of us planned lunch and dinner on all of the days. You cannot bring any food into the festival so always make sure to bring some cash for food!