Getting The Ultimate High: A Guide to a Great Festival Experience
I want you high.
Actually, I want you super high.
I want to take you higher than you’ve ever been.
Colors. Beats. Light. Love: it’s the perfect recipe for an unforgettable night with those you love and the music you crave. There’s nothing quite like the vibrational energy you feel walking into a festival or event. There’s an oneness, a goodness, a beautiful something that makes you feel invigoratingly alive and connected to everyone around you.
I believe it’s absolutely worth it for you to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and how to have the best possible time.
Believe me, I know all too well how an event experience can go really downhill, really fast. It sucks. Badly.
When I’m not dancing on the festival floor, I’m working as a registered nurse. I’ve been able to use my medical knowledge to both prevent and treat mind/body health issues before, during, and after musical adventures. With the rise of health concerns at festivals recently, I thought it might be poignant to take a moment and share some professional recommendations that will optimize your experience.
Below are my top 10 tips for having the best festival night possible.
1. Know Your Peeps
Attending events with your friends can create some amazing times, lasting memories, and share-worthy stories. It’s important that you know, get along with, and trust everyone in your festival group. Whether you’re going with your Festie Bestie, your significant other, or a whole group of people, it’s a really good idea to know that you’ve got each other’s backs. Festivals are huge and it’s easy to get tired and lost.
Have numbers of everyone stored in your phone in an easy to find list.
Establish a meeting point that everyone agrees in case of emergency or if anyone gets lost.
If you plan on splitting up from the group, it might even help to establish a meeting time that everyone agrees on, and can then go from there.
Determine a designated driver who you trust can maintain sobriety or make a decision as a group to split fares for a party bus, Lyft, Uber, or taxi prior to the event. Have the Lyft and Uber apps easy to access on your phones and have them preloaded with your credit card info so you don’t have to worry about doing that after the event.
Everyone in your group should have the phone number and address of the hotel or house that you’re staying in as well. You never know which one of you will be responsible for organizing transportation at the end of the night!
2. Salty Snacks
I like keeping a few salty, carb focused foods on me for marathon music events. Especially for long dusk ‘til dawn events like EDC, you’ll want to keep your energy up and your electrolytes balanced. You can do so by eating a moderate sized meal before the event, packing a snack to take with you, and bringing money for when those hunger pangs start (usually right around 1am).
My favorite combo is to have a bowl of cereal with bananas right before the event and taking a granola bar or a small packet of beef jerky in my purse.
3. Water, Water, Water!
You’re going to be hot and sweaty. It’s a fact. Stay hydrated at events by drinking plenty of water throughout the night. It’s worth investing in an Insomniac water bottle at Insomniac events because you get free water refills throughout the festival grounds. Or, if you’re like me and you hate missing any part of your favorite DJ set, bring an empty Camel Bak to the event and fill it up with water once you get there. It will last you a lot longer and will keep your hands free since it doubles as a backpack. You’ll also prevent headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue by staying hydrated!
4. The Go-Pack
You or someone in your group should carry a go-pack. This can be a small purse, a fanny pack, or backpack (even a Camel Bak with pockets or extra compartments) that has the essential items that you might need throughout the night.
I recommend stocking it with: keys, cash, and debit card all stored in a sealed Ziplock bag (you never know when it might rain or when the stage will shoot water out at you!), a snack or two, chapstick, Band-aids, hand sanitizer, bobby pins or hair ties, and a travel size package of tissues. Some festivals have phone-charging stations but you might want to keep a portable phone charger in the go-pack as well. It can come in handy in sticky situations. Note that some festivals do not allow phone chargers, so please check the festival website in advance to know what you’re working with!
Otherwise, keep your phone in airplane mode to preserve charge. You shouldn’t be on it all that much anyway…snap pictures throughout the night but try to actually experience the magic of the night with your eyes, not the camera lens.
5. Dance, Baby, Dance!
Let loose and enjoy the music! Now’s the time to dance the night away! However, you should also take advantage of the fact that events are really long and take breaks! It’s important to take breaks (even quick ones) from dancing and standing to sit. I promise that you won’t be missing anything! As a fan of being front and center in the audience, I’ve come to learn that it’s worth traveling to different spots in the crowd because it always gives me a sense of appreciation for the full show. Sometimes, the lasers, light shows, and sounds are better from the back of the arena or from an area where you can sit down. Besides, standing for too long has the potential threat causing muscle cramps and circulation issues. Taking a moment to rest can give you the energy to keep going for longer.
Festivals are gigantic productions. Teams of super hardworking people put in hundreds of hours of work to give you the coolest experience possible. These large-scale events are so pricy because of the experience that you wouldn’t be able to get at a club or smaller production. The fireworks, laser shows, sound quality, live performers, the sheer expanse of talent…it’s all a carefully created masterpiece meant to be a delight to your every sense. So enjoy it!
Be careful of how much you drink and partake in activities that have the potential of taking you out of the moment. Be free and have fun but remember that you’re only at this particular event once. Soar high on the incredible energy around you!
7. Sweet Dreams
Festivals tend to be weekend-long events that span the course of 2-3 whole days and nights. If at all possible, try to plan as much sleeping time as you can. Have a blast the entirety of the event and then rest as best as you can afterwards. Not only will you feel better, you’re giving your body a chance to reset its hormone and neurotransmitter balance, repair damage, detox, and recover so that you can go strong for the remainder of the event.
When booking a hotel, don’t forget about the day after the last night of the festival! It might be in your benefit to book another whole day because you’ll need that chance to sleep and rest before hitting the road for home.
8. Supplement Regimen
If you can, I suggest investing in some supplements that will help you go strong and recover well. In my personal experience, the following combination of supplements has proven to be extremely helpful. It might work for you too!
Before the event, I’ll take 200-400mg of magnesium citrate, a B complex vitamin that has at least 5000mcg B12, 1000mg vitamin C, and 2000mg alfalfa.
When I return from the event, I’ll take another 400mg magnesium citrate, a B complex, 3000mg alfalfa, and 100-200mg R-alpha lipoic acid.
Then, right before bed, if I’m having trouble sleeping, I’ll take 3-6mg Melatonin.
After I’ve slept for at least 6-8 hours, I’ll take 100mg of 5-HTP and another 200mg magnesium citrate.
After the festival is all over, I’ll take 4 capsules of activated coconut charcoal and a B complex.
Make sure to take these supplements with plenty of water!
9. Nom Nom Nom
Since festivals are super fun, but also super long, your normal hunger cues might be thrown off. Just one night of sleep deprivation will send your insulin, ghrelin, and leptin levels out of wack. To help your body recover and to feel better overall, I suggest eating a good meal full of protein and complex starches after you’ve been able to sleep. Something like chicken and rice with a side of berries will give your body the nourishment and fuel it needs to energize you for the next night of fun.
10. Get in the Know
Know how to recognize what’s going on around you and what exactly to do about it. The following situations occur commonly at events. Get in the know!
It’s very easy to overheat at an event. Festivals like EDC take place in the dessert where temperatures range from 90 to 110 degrees all the time. Since events are high energy, it’s easy to dance the night away and not realize that you’re overheating when you would otherwise do so in a smaller space. Warning signs of overheating include cramps in big muscles like your arms and legs, a failure to sweat, headaches and dizziness, fatigue, inability to urinate, and fainting.If you sense that someone is overheating, try to move that person to a cool area. Splash them with cold water to cool them down. Try to find ice if possible. Remove necessary clothing and fan them (festival brochures work great).
To prevent this from happening, try to wear cool clothes. I love wearing layers since it’s a good way to prepare for alternating temperatures. Also, hydrate throughout the night and encourage your friends to do the same!
Events can also be overwhelming. If you see your friend tense or like they are having an anxiety attack, try calming them down. It helps to remind them that the anxious and stressed out feelings will indeed go away. Ask them if they feel that moving around will help release the tense feelings. Sometimes, moving and dancing will help those feelings dissipate.
In other situations, keeping the anxious person away from loud noises and bright lights is a better idea. Help your friend to take in a few slow and deep breaths (instead of quick and shallow ones) and reassure him or her that everything is going to be alright. Sometimes, just the simplest change in attitude can be enough to make the whole experience a lot better. Sooth your friend with a calm, quiet tone and get them to focus on something other than their anxiety. Try talking about their favorite performance of the night or what they are looking forward to most that weekend.
Finally, remember the medic crew at events are your friends. Their literal job is to help you and to keep you safe. You’re not going to get in trouble by calling the med team and explaining what’s going on. Doing so can save your life.
Festivals are simply amazing. There’s nothing quite like them! I invite you to have as much fun as possible while staying as safe as possible. Go out there and have a blast!
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