How to Enjoy an Electronic Music Festival


Want to lis­ten to what I’m lis­ten­ing to as I write this? Click here for Pan-Pot’s Sonar mix.

I fig­ured since I’m not in Vegas for Elec­tric Daisy Car­ni­val in pur­suit of other fes­ti­vals around the world, I’d like to offer some tips on how to make the most of an elec­tronic music fes­ti­val expe­ri­ence. I like to con­sider myself a sea­soned vet­eran, so I am aware of what’s essen­tial for me to have peace of mind to go out. I’m not going to get all PLUR on you, or be your mother, but I prac­tice what I preach. Hav­ing one bad fes­ti­val expe­ri­ence can ruin it for you, so just don’t have one. These tips can be used at pretty much any fes­ti­val, elec­tronic or oth­er­wise, but some are def­i­nitely geared toward long nights and morn­ings lis­ten­ing to dri­ving bass.

The Essen­tial Mix

I’ve been through enough fes­ti­vals to know what I don’t like to be when I’m there: dirty and stinky. So first, in your rave kit: hand­wipes. Seri­ously. Not just hand san­i­tizer (which you might not even be able to bring into the fes­ti­val), but lit­tle pack­ets of wet wipes will come in handy. I promise you that. Also, tis­sues. Don’t rely on port-a-potties to have toi­let paper by the end of the night.

Sec­ond: deodor­ant. A travel sized solid will do. Any­time you smell some­one else in the crowd, be aware that you prob­a­bly smell too, which is fine, we’re all sweaty and danc­ing. But if you can smell your­self, apply said deodor­ant. You’ll feel like a mil­lion bucks when you do.

A hand­ker­chief, to mop your sweaty brow. And i can­not stress this enough: sun­glasses. You may not need them now, but the sun will be up even­tu­ally and you will praise Jee­bus you can shield your­self from not only the sun but the really real world that awaits you out­side the fes­ti­val grounds.

don't leave home without them.

don’t leave home with­out them.

Can’t find your friends? Make new ones!

Some of the best friends I’ve made as an adult have all been at elec­tronic music fes­ti­vals and at techno shows. You already have one thing in com­mon: your love of elec­tronic music. Chances are if you sit next to a com­plete stranger who looks like they’re hav­ing fun, they’ll be easy to talk to. Avoid the peo­ple who are stand­ing there look­ing too drunk, or like they’ve just done bit­ter bumps.

Sure, you may end up just being fes­ti­val bud­dies, but meet­ing new peo­ple at these things ensures you expand your net­work of fel­low music lovers (and pos­si­bly secures a couch to sleep on if you’re ever in their city for another show!). But don’t for­get to text the friends you came with every once in awhile just to check in.

Calamity Jane and Controlled Chaos - techno BFFs!

Calamity Jane and Con­trolled Chaos — Rave BFFs!

No Drama Allowed.

Your friends are fight­ing and break­ing up at the fes­ti­val? Some­one in your group being a diva? Dance away, make your own fun. Don’t get sucked into other people’s bull­shit and let it con­sume your fes­ti­val expe­ri­ence. At the end of the week­end, do you want to be talk­ing about how some­one wouldn’t shut up about their ex? Or how awe­some that DJ’s set was?

Sit down.

Every once in awhile, just cop a squat to bob your head, take in the scenery and peo­ple watch. Take an oppor­tu­nity to say hello to your neigh­bor. You might not know how long you’ve been danc­ing or stand­ing, but your legs will thank you when you take a load off. Sit­ting down = never over­rated. Just don’t for­get to get back up again 😉

Sitting down = never overrated

Sit­ting down = never overrated

Dance, motherf*cker! Dance!

That’s what you’re there to do! Stop tak­ing self­ies of your­self with your friends, or com­par­ing your out­fits, or roam­ing from one side of the crowd to the other (what I like to call “run­ning errands”). Stand where you are, face the DJ, and move your body as the music directs you. Sim­ple as that.

Check your­self before you wreck your­self.

If you’re in it for the long haul, don’t blow your wad in the first night, let alone the first three hours.

Have a beer.
Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, you shouldn’t be drink­ing water the whole time. Over­dos­ing on water upsets your elec­trolytes and that’s when you get into seri­ous trou­ble. You don’t even have to have a beer. Have a soda or some juice. The only time I ever drink a Sugar Free Red Bull is at a music fes­ti­val. This might be the only time Red Bull does a body good.

If it’s not fun any­more, STOP.

This might be my most sober­ing point to make. If you have a con­scious thought of “I don’t want to feel this way,” just take a deep breath, and ride it out. It will be over soon. And for God’s sake, don’t take any­more (yes, that’s right, I just said that). Unless you feel like you want to again. But it’s highly likely you won’t get back to that feel­ing you had at the begin­ning of the fes­ti­val two days ago, or even the begin­ning of the night. After awhile, you’re just wast­ing money, or goods to be used another night. Know your lim­its. A fes­ti­val is not the place to test them. By no means am I con­don­ing any illicit activ­i­ties. I’m just say­ing: party smart.

Finally, you need to eat some­thing. Eventually.

Self-explanatory. Bananas, iced cof­fee, ice cream and pro­tein shakes are your friend.
eat something

Have fun at Elec­tric Daisy Car­ni­val, Las Vegas! As for me, I’m off to see Pan-Pot this week­end. My next fes­ti­val expe­ri­ence is Awake­Fest in Ams­ter­dam, where I am cur­rently holed up writ­ing this post. Rave the planet!

Have an essen­tial rave tip you’d like to add? Please feel free to leave a com­ment below!

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