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2014 Summer Music Festival Guide

If you're a music fan you have two options for the summer: 1. Stay in your hometown and hit up three shows a month at the venues you frequent all year long or 2. Get out of town and make 80,000 new best friends at a music festival. Truth be told, most concerts throughout the warm months are routed around artists' festival appearances. What you're spending to see those three shows a month could easily cover a ticket to a fest featuring those same groups plus a ton more. Easy choice, yeah?

Once you've bit the bullet, received your wristband in the mail and have the game plan for the most baller tent city in the whole camping area, there are still a few steps to take to ensure you have the most memorable music fest experience of your life.

1. Discover New Music

It's easy to get caught up with the allure of seeing the headliners at any given music fest. No shame in getting up close to hear some familiar jams, but make room in your schedule to check out some new blood. Daytime acts on this year's circuit could be headlining main stages in 2015, so keep an open mind!

2. Stay Hydrated

There's a good reason you'll find a medic tent no more than twenty paces from your current location when you get inside the gates. Have the time of your life, party, rage and turn up, but stay safe! Dehydration is no joke at an outdoor music festival. All fests have water stations where you can stop by and fill up, so take advantage. Plastic bottles are annoying and not great for the environment, so I'd suggest getting a backpack with hydration capacity from your local camping supply store. These tiny backpacks have a reservoir for water and will cost you under $40.

3. Get In On Some Good Eats

Music fests are really stepping up their game in the food department. Gone are the days of surviving off of pizza and hot dogs for a weekend, though you can definitely go that route if you want! Music fans have eclectic tastes and that extends to their food choices. It is very common for festivals to bring in local cuisine and have an ample selection of food trucks. Ditch the junk food and go after some good stuff! Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free? Good chance you aren't the only one--I'm a vegetarian and have never been let down in all my years of festival-going!

4. Explore

Yes, there are potentially hundreds of your favorite and possibly new favorite artists playing the fest that you're attending, but there are a lot of other sights to see! Festivals have been revving up the other attractions for years now. Comedy tents featuring superstars and up-n-comers, theaters showing cult classics and indie documentaries, carnival rides and art installations are just a few things you can check out between acts.

5. Stay Fit (No, Really!)

Just because you're out of town for a long weekend doesn't mean you have four "cheat days" in a row! If you're so inclined, festivals are coming up with ways you can keep up your exercise routine while enjoying the music. Let's face it, a little exercise in the morning can help get rid of those toxins from last night (wink wink). Fests are now hosting their own 5Ks and some offer yoga classes in the AM. Keep it tight!

6. Look Out for Each Other and Be Cool

There are stories out there of people getting out of control and having a bad time at music fests. Whenever this happens, fingers get pointed and scapegoats take the hit. My first thought is always "Where were his/her people," when said bad time occurs? Cell coverage can be spotty when 50,000+ people are in any one place, so keep tabs on everyone and keep your wits about you. Music festivals are about having a good time, so just be cool, make a few thousand new friends and enjoy!


Kurt spends all his vacation days on music fests. Make plans to meet up here --> @theactualkurt

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