Picture this: It’s 2am and day one of the festival you’ve been looking forward to for months now is coming to a close for the night…
In utter exhaustion, you make the trek back to your tent, ready to collapse onto your make-shift bed that feels like it was somehow transformed into the coziest cloud you’ve ever felt. You’ve spent all day walking miles around the park, dancing, drinking, laughing and singing along to some of your favorite music. It was arguably one of the best days of your life! Once you finally arrive back at your site, you fall asleep almost instantly. Your dreams are filled with pretty lights and sounds dancing around a starry sky… only to wake up completely drained, unable to force yourself out of bed, and cranky. You spent all your physical and mental energy on the first day, and you are left with practically nothing for the rest of the weekend. You either decide to stay in your tent, with hopes that you’ll feel one more burst of energy before the day ends, or you force yourself to push through, ultimately having a far worse day than the one before. You’re trying your best to keep a positive attitude, but it proves a difficult task when you have to try equally as hard just to stay awake. You begin an internal debate if it’s worth staying for the rest of the festival, since you can hardly even get your legs to move. For practical reasons, you decide to stay and push through the rest of the weekend. As the festival comes to a close, you are left with many wonderful memories and moments, however, most of the weekend is clouded by your tired mind painfully sore body.
Now back to reality, because no one wants to live out that experience. That being said, it’s unfortunately all too common for rookie festival-goers. The excitement of attending a festival often overshadows the fact that festivals are seriously draining, both mentally and physically, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Whether planning for your first festival or your 100th, it’s important to make sure you are sufficiently prepared, not only with proper items packed (like the ones on our Ultimate Packing List), but that your mind and body are ready to take on the beast that can be festival weekend. So, how can one adequately prepare for festival weekend? Truthfully, you can never be completely prepared for what festival weekend might throw at you. For this reason, you need to forgive yourself ahead of time and understand that you WILL have rough moments. However, there are some precautionary things you can do to help ease the struggle.
- If you aren’t on your feet much in your every-day life, get up and move around! One of the hardest parts about festivals is the amount of walking. Buy well supported shoes and get your body used to, and comfortable with, being on your feet for long periods of time. If this is not already a part of your routine, I recommend starting this at least two months before the festival. Set aside time in your week to be on your feet; this can mean anything from going on a hike, to a simple walk around the neighborhood. It’s easy, and will make a drastic difference in how your body responds to festival weekend.
- Get used to drinking TONS of water. Even if you aren’t attending a festival, you should do this. Everyone knows the importance of water consumption, especially at a festival. In the craziness of the weekend, it can be easy to forget to take regular sips of your water. This can be detrimental for a multitude of reasons (feel free to google if you want the details here). In order to not make this easily-avoidable mistake, I recommend developing a habit of frequently drinking water months before the festival takes place. This will keep your mind clear, your body well, and your energy high.
- If you haven’t already, pick out a couple artists that you are definitely going to see, and listen to their catalogue on repeat. Concerts are always more fun when you know every song. This step, while maybe not as necessary as the others, will ensure that you are able to maximize your festival enjoyment.
- Practice mindfulness. Just like drinking water, this tip is useful not only for festival weekend, but for the rest of your life. The term “mindfulness” can seem a little intimidating if you’ve never tried before, but it’s much simpler than you might think. An easy way to add mindfulness or meditation to your day is by taking five minutes as soon as you wake up to focus on your breathing patterns. Personally, I do this first thing in the morning as well as last thing before I go to sleep at night. It feels like a reset button for my mind, and helps make everything I was stressed about from the day seem far less significant. For festival weekend, this would be a great habit to counter the constant high energy and intense emotions. Your mind, like any muscle, becomes tired when exercised. By practicing mindfulness during your festival weekend, you will keep your mind fresh and revived, which in turn will positively affect the rest of your body and experience.
- Lastly, don’t make any set plans. Sure, having a couple artists that you MUST see is not a bad thing, but try not to make this a list longer than about 5 artists for the whole weekend, especially if you are going with a group of friends. You risk becoming so set in the plan you created that it ruins your mood when things don’t end up following suit. Festival weekend is about enjoying yourself, feeling free and being surrounded by thousands of like-minded individuals; anything except a laid-back attitude and positivity has no place on the grounds.
By following these five steps, you’re sure to have the time of your life all festival weekend, instead of just the first day. Take care of your mind and body together, and you’ll notice a drastic improvement in your overall experience. Now go drink some water.