Do NOT go hard on the first night …

For some people, going to music festivals is a serious hobby. For newbies, though, music festivals can be a pretty intimidating scene. Festie veterans who have been around the block a few times usually have their own routine and know how to squeeze every last drop of goodness from their festival weekend. But whether you’re a hardcore fest head or a total virgin, these tips will help make your festival experience one of the greatest of your life.

Make a Totem

Totems are one of the best ways to meet new people at a music festival. They are also sort of like a security blanket for those who are afraid of being separated from their friends because no one is going to miss a giant cardboard cut-out of Grumpy Cat even if they are high on acid. Totems are a great way to express a little creativity and feel more involved in the festival rather than just being another face in the crowd. Bring a cool flag or a homemade poster; it doesn’t matter as long as you put it up high and rock that shit. (Pro Tip: Rep a Colorado state flag if you want to send out the Bat Signal to the other 100+ other Coloradans that are guaranteed to be at the festival.)

Immerse Yourself

In addition to booking more eclectic lineups, plenty of festivals have started moving in the “transformational” direction by offering a variety of workshops and curating a more rounded experience for attendees. Apart from the music, workshops are a great way to immerse yourself in the festival experience. Who knew that a music festival would be the place to learn about sustainability, love, sex, relationships, drug safety, overcoming anxiety, trapeze, fire spinning, hula hooping, meditation, yoga and just about anything in between? If you’re a little burnt out during the day, a workshop is a great way become involved and pass the time.

Be Prepared

This is one of the most crucial steps to having a great festival, but it is often overlooked in the excitement to party. Check out our list of essential festivals items to bring and pack appropriately. Read the festival rules. Learn about parking and camping. Know what to expect upon arrival. Understand how your wristband works. These all seem like common sense, yet there are still plenty of people who will be standing in the check-in line looking like an ass because they didn't read the FAQ section of the website. Moral of the story: don’t be that guy who packs a bottle of whiskey and a couple tie-dye shirts and then stumbles into the festival without a clue what to do.

Sharing is Caring

We all went to Kindergarten–well, most of us did–so we all know how to share things. Music festivals are just big pop-up communities and the struggle can be real for anyone, so helping out your neighbor by lending a hand or loaning something helps spread some good vibes. If you want to take it a step further and really spread some love, bring a bunch of little goodies–candy, stickers, extra gum–to pass out and brighten up someone’s day. (Pro Tip: If you smoke, bring extra cigarettes to give out and you will probably make some friends for life.)

Wander Around

Having a plan is nice, but when it comes to the daily music schedule your plan is likely going to be shot to shit, so don’t bother. Instead, wander around and check out everything that there is to take in. Of course you can set your alarm for when your favorite artists are playing, but in the meantime, just wander around and check out some new artists or visit the merch booths. Don’t stress about running from this stage at this time to that stage at that time. As Shakespeare once said: “Go with the flow, man.”

DO NOT go too hard on the first night.

A classic rookie mistake. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being surrounded by a giant multi-day party, but those who get swept up in that wave and ride it Wasted City on the first night are probably going to regret it on day two. One of the truest realities about a festival is that you will not get a bunch of quality sleep or eat very well, so it’s important to take care of yourself without that rejuvenating factor. Don’t feel the need to get shitfaced on the first night, and certainly don’t take all the drugs a couple hours into the experience. The key is to pace yourself and know that your fucked-up threshold is no different than at home.

Invest in an RV or Glamping Package (if money allows)

If you enjoy a certain level of comfort in your festival experience, we recommend that get into an RV or partake in one of the glamping (that’s “glamour camping”) packages that most festivals offer these days. These spots are usually in the VIP area which often provide showers, no lines for water and cleaner bathrooms. Plus there’s just something to be said for feeling like a fucking baller all weekend while you watch everyone else sweat it out in the camping shantytown across the way.