SURVIVAL TIP #1: STAY COOL
You get the likes. You have the friends. On a personal level, you are tres cool.
But on a biological level, your fleshy parts will melt off your frame if you don’t plan accordingly. If you’ve wandered anywhere near the southern United States, this may not come as a surprise. But forreal, it’s flippin’ hot.
- Water: Most Louisiana Festivals are free to attend and don’t restrict outside food and beverages. If allowed, it’s best to bring a substantial stock of H2O. While bottled water is great, you may want to opt for a backpack with a bladder attachment for easy storage, refills and transport. Camelbak is a good go-to, especially if outside bottles aren’t allowed.
- Sunscreen: Do you want to BECOME a boudin? Because not wearing sunscreen at an all-day Louisiana festival will definitely turn you into one. Severe sunburns and blistering are not uncommon in southern heat. Sunscreen up and often.
- Bring Bandanas: Even if you don’t drive a Harley, bandanas are still useful. When the heat turns up, you can dip these bad boys in cold water and wrap them around your neck or forehead for instant relief.
- Medic Locations: Most festivals will provide maps of the area beforehand, which will help you locate stages, bathrooms and (usually) first aid tents. It’s good to have an idea of where these places are located in the event you or a friend becomes overheated or sick during the festival. You can view a list of heat exhaustion symptoms here.
SURVIVAL TIP #2: STAY FED
Have you ever waited exactly two minutes too long to eat? Could you feel the instant wave of rage rush through your body? You know the beast I speak of: The Hanger Monster. Destroyer of friendships and good days alike, this baddie should be avoided at all costs.
- Bring Munchies: Nothing can ruin a day quite like being hungry. If the festival you’re attending allows outside goods, be sure to pack some sustenance for in-between meals. Trail mix and granola bars are good options, especially if you want to stay fueled without upsetting your stomach in the heat.
- Locate Food Vendors: What’s the use of delicious festival food if you can’t find it? Trust us, you don’t want to be a 20-minute walk from the nearest stand when your tummy starts a rumblin’. View a map beforehand to identify all the mealtime hotspots.
- Don’t Eat at Peak: Avoid eating directly at noon or 6 p.m. if possible. This will save you and your crew from a 30 minute to (in some cases) an hour plus wait time for food.
SURVIVAL TIP #3: STAY SAFE
Face it. You can’t have a good time if bad things happen. And while some bad things are out of your control, there’s still a lot you can do to protect yourself. With that said, the best way to max out your festival fun is to be smart and stay safe:
- Choose a Base Camp: In dense festival crowds, outgoing text messages may get jammed, making it hard to keep in touch with friends or coordinate activities. Having an established “base camp” for reconvening when separated or arriving at the festival can help you sidestep any mobile device issues that may arise.
- Buddy System: Bad things can happen in crowds, too. Always bring a friend or two when you decide to separate from the group.
- Stick to the Map: Some Louisiana festivals have physical boundaries set up (JazzFest and Voodoo in particular). But most are completely open, making it easy to accidentally wander off. So, get a map and stick to it. Chances are, you will be able to find help within the festival boundaries, should you need it. Outside of those boundaries? Maybe not so much.
- Drink in Moderation: Getting plastered will most definitely make your festival life significantly harder. One of three scenarios will play out: 1) You will get sick. On EVERYTHING. 2) You will get lost and (maybe) die. 3) You’ll smell really bad and not even care. Just don’t do it. Promise?
SURVIVAL TIP #4: STAY SANE
The devil is in the details, friends. With all health and safety aside, there’s still a myriad of minutia that can quickly derail a good time. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s with these catch-alls:
- Carry Cash: Almost ALL Louisiana festival vendors require cash for purchase. You don’t want to make it all the way to the front of the food line with no pesos. Avoid that walk of shame.
- Find Parking: Don’t expect a well-planned, prepaid parking experience. Don’t expect to park on cement. Don’t expect to end up anywhere near the festival. These are not reasonable expectations of the Louisiana festival parking gods. If you can’t park at a friend’s house, just pay to park. Or take the shuttle, if one is available. It’s worth it.
- Plan for the Worst: Bring toilet paper. Bring bandaids. Bring Advil. Bring baby wipes. We can’t explain. Just do it.
- Get the App: Larger festivals have apps that are available to download several weeks before the event. These apps usually come loaded with handy maps, stage lineups and festival info and updates.
First-time festival goer? Seasoned pro? Tell us about your experience, and let us know if there’s anything we missed!