How to Survive a Festival-Concert
The summer festival-concert season is right around the corner, and as someone that has attended more than a few, I have some tips that will help you survive the fun in the sun. Although some of these bits of advice should be “common sense”, I have witnessed people at these shows that just do not seem to remember, think or even care. Some have needed medical attention, and even a few have been arrested. Having fun can get out of hand, but having fun responsibly can help you survive the fun. Plus, no one wants to spend all that money on something might bring back bad memories.
1. Stay Hydrated
Water, water, water and more water. All day long, water!
These shows take place during the summer, and they are performed outside, or at least most of them are outside. It is going to be hot, hot, HOT! It is also going to be extremely humid at most of these tour stops. The heat and humidity will dehydrate you quickly … and dangerously. Heat exhaustion is an extremely serious condition and should not be taken lightly. (I can relate multiple stories of my own in regards to heat exhaustion.) Moreover, if not recognized and treated in time, it can lead to heat stroke, which can result in death.
In my opinion, the best thing to do is to start loading up on water the day before the show and keeping going, especially if you do not normally consume the suggested daily amount. It might even be better to do a regiment of electrolytes the day (or night) before. Electrolytes are, as per dictionary.com,”compounds that dissociate in biological fluids into ions capable of conducting electrical currents and constituting a major force in controlling fluid balance within the body”. There is much debate on what are the best electrolyte drinks, and you should find what is best for you. However, for the sake of convenience and price, there is always Gatorade and Powerade. I might even go with Pedialyte. That may sound or appear weird, but staying safe is the overall point.
2. No Alcohol
I know alcoholic beverages taste good and lower inhibitions, which will help you loosen up and have a little more fun. However, consuming too much alcohol will dehydrate you, and it can lead to other acute health issues, such as alcohol poisoning.
Additionally, some people become hostile when drinking alcohol, and a few of those will even try to start fights. Furthermore, without a designated driver to get you home after the show, you could be pulled over for DUI. The absolute worst thing that could happen is possibly injuring or killing someone while driving after drinking. Therefore, to have the most enjoyable experience, it just best to save the booze for another day.
3. Dress Appropriately
It is definitely best to wear something comfortable, loose and light-colored. While some people might be comfortable in jeans, boots and black T-shirts, but these layers will contribute to you overheating, despite any amount of water consumption. In addition, black tees and blue jeans add to the “hardcore” image at the heavy metal shows, like Mayhem Fest, but it is better to be comfortable and safe than “looking” the part.
Ladies, I also recommend that you do not wear anything too revealing. I am sure that it is flattering to have your assets appreciated by so many strange eyes, but I am also aware that some of those eyes will ogle too long and make you feel uncomfortable. It might even lead to unwanted comments and sexual advances. Plus, revealing too much can lead to sunburn, and while sunscreen can abate this issue, I doubt it feels or looks very appealing, and it might even defeat the purpose in revealing that much skin. So, leave the sexy attire for more appropriate events.
4. Eat at Home or a Restaurant
Eating before you go is highly recommended. Food is fuel for the body, and the summer heat will tax your body at a higher rate than your normal activities. I also recommend eating something nutritious, which can only come from eating at home or select restaurants. Even fast food joints will offer entrees that are better for you than the food items from the concessions stands at the shows. Also, it will be easier on your wallet. Plus, those vendors are trying to put out as much as possible and as fast as possible, which could lead to some things being under-cooked. Uncooked meats and unwashed fruits and vegetables can contain bacteria and lead to health issues like diarrhea or vomiting, which dehydrate you just as fast as the heat and humidity. Now, I am not implying that every concert-attendee will become sick. I am just stating that the risk is viable. So, save your health and wallet by eating somewhere other than the show.
5. Go Late
Staying out of the heat as much as possible is the best way to not succumb to it. Besides, most of the bands and artists performing on the side stages are lesser known and/or just starting out. If you are not interested in learning about these smaller acts, I recommend leaving for the show at a later time. Nothing states that you have to be there when the gates open. Most people go only for one or two main stage bands anyway. You might want to research the newer bands on Pandora, I Heart Radio or Vevo/YouTube before deciding whether to see them or not.
6. Stay Close
If you go with a date or group, keep everyone together as much as possible. People gathered in masses can get short-tempered rather easily, and fights do break out. Furthermore, there have been incidents of other violent attacks. Safety in numbers can prevent this. It is prudent to stay together and completely avoid getting involved in the drama caused by others. And if you have someone in the group that is known for getting involved or even starting things like this, keep him/her in check or, better yet, leave that person at home.
7. Don’t Rush
Traffic will be horrible getting in and even worse when trying to get out. You can have far more fun by keeping your blood pressure down and being patient. Take your time when parking, walking from and to your car and leaving the venue. It will also help avoid vehicle collisions and jacked-up insurance rates. Nothing is so important at these concerts that it requires being in a rush.
8. Have fun
This is the most important tip. The whole point in going to a concert is to enjoy the music and feel of the show. Events like these are forms of escape from the stresses and drama of everyday life. So, dance, get caught in a mosh, forget work, the neighbors, overbearing family members and just have some fun … but safe fun.
(Photo disclaimer: I did get my friend's permission before using this photo. So, no, she was not blind-sided by the use of it. And yeah, we had a lot of fun at the show.)
Now, I am not saying that you have to follow my advice. If you do plan to attend any shows in the near future, I just hope you stay safe. Have fun, rock out … but live to tell the story of your experience. Besides, how else will we see the pictures on Facebook?
Rocklahoma 2013 Promo
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© 2013 Charles Dawson