Tuesday, August 14, 2012

College Life: OUTSIDE LANDS and Music Festival Advice

This weekend I attended Outside Lands, a music festival in San Francisco, CA.  It was the first music festival I attended, and I am quite happy I did.  It was one of the best experiences ever.  Some of my favorite bands I saw were Metallica, Foo Fighters, Fun., And Franz Ferdinand.  It was so much fun to explore the city and have a great time with my friends, however, my trip would have been greatly improved had I managed to dress and eat and time appropriately.

Polo Fields Stage
Tips for successful music festival attendance: My experience in pink

1.  Plan ahead! Give yourself at least an extra 45 minutes before you want to arrive at the venue, between traffic, parking, making your way through the line and getting to the stage, it takes longer than you'd think.  We did not leave early enough and had missed bands we wanted to see. 
2.  Get enough cash before you arrive and get enough to cover an emergency, you never know when you're going to need extra cash.  The last day when we had to drive into the city, we thought we would be able to find parking on the street, which did not happen and resulted in us having to pay $30 for parking, which depleted me of all of my cash.  I had no money left the last day for food, and luckily my friends had leftover food which I happily consumed.  Also, open water bottles were not allowed into the event, with $3 bottles or $1 to refill my reusable one, and no water fountains at the venue.

3.  Use a restroom outside of the venue as much as possible, and bring toilet paper with you! I made sure to use the restroom as much as possible when a real restroom was available even though I really did not have to go.  Because when we got there, it was an hour into the festival and the Port-a-potty lines were long, and everyone was out of toilet paper.  And being port-a-potties, they smelled so bad, I could have thrown up.
4.  Bring hand sanitizer! You're going to be touching people, bathrooms, and there probably won't be any place to wash your hands, stay sanitary! Like toilet paper, there was also a lack of hand sanitizer in the port-a-potties.
5.  Try to minimize any chance to get pick pocketed.  Do not leave wallet, phone or camera in your back pocket, easiest place for it to fall out or grab.  Also if wearing as backpack, do not put it in the easily accessible front pocket, in a crowd you may not notice someone unzipping it and grabbing something out of there.  If you're going to leave such items in your backpack, I recommend putting it in the biggest pouch, at the bottom of you bag with a sweater or other large items blocking access to it, cinch back packs are also good because you would feel someone opening the bag.  I kept everything on my wrist for the duration of the event, in a handy little wristlet that held my phone and my cards and cash all together, and kept my camera on my wrist also, I got mine from Z Gallerie but there are quite a few places that sell these now.  
I bought the aqua one, the only one I have seen available recently is the purple case.
6.  Eat prior to the festival, and bring in outside food.  Buy prepackaged sandwiches from a grocery store and take them in with you, much cheaper than the food they serve!  We bought ours for less than $3!
7.  Dress for the weather, and be prepared!  The weather report isn't always right and it will probably be colder wherever you are at night, so bring a sweater to keep you warm.  The weather report told us it was going to be in the 70's we wore shorts and thin sweaters the first day and froze in the fog!
8.  Do get a chance to walk around the venue.  If there's no one you want to see at one point, walk around because there will probably be booths giving out free stuff There were lots of booths giving out free products, which we would not have seen had we just stayed at the stage.  
9.  Charge your cell phone! We had so many people from out group who's cell phones had died, from taking pictures and video, and even after letting my phone charge right up until we left, it was less than 10 % left by the time we got back home.  This made it difficult to split up because we did not want to lose each other.  
10.  Plan out who you want to see ahead of time, but be flexible.  The best time to get closest to the stage was as the act ahead of time was leaving, because people are trying to get out of the crowd to go eat or use the restroom, and this was how we were able to get closest for the headliners.
11.  The best view is on the side, not necessarily in the center.  It is a fight to get to the center front, so don't bother unless you're planning on using your entire day to camp out.  We were able to see the artists easily by walking to the front on the side and working our way in from there, much easier than trying to fight to get a mediocre spot!  


Jack White Impromptu Show


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