Summer 2K17, as the kids might say, is nigh upon us, and, hopefully, many fun and positive experiences are just around the corner as the weather heats up. Perhaps for you, one of these fun and positive experiences will be a summer music festival.
Now, I could sit here and give you advice and tips on how to make the best of your summer music festival experience, but if we're being honest with ourselves, I've only been to one of these things, so I might not be the best person for that.
I may not be able to tell you where the best camping spots can be found or let you in on some well-kept secrets or things of that nature, but what I can do is tell you what NOT to do when you go to a summer music festival. That's something I can claim to be experienced in — even if I've only been to this horse and pony show once in my lifetime.
In June 2016, a traveling companion and I journeyed to the capital of America's first state (it's Delaware; look at me saving you a trip to the Google machine (you're welcome)) to take in the sights and sounds of what I can only imagine is the premiere alternative/rock festival in the country: Firefly.
Headlined by the likes of Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon, Florence & the Machine, and Deadmau5 — and covered (not-all-that) extensively in a previous post of mine — Firefly Music Festival was a good time; a great time, I'd dare say. But man, we were not prepared for that thing.
For your general amusement, and maybe for a lesson or two, here are 11 things we did that you should NOT do if attending a summer music festival this year:
1. Don't run out of gas on the way there
Last summer I learned a very valuable lesson: you cannot always trust your vehicle's fuel gauge. The Chrysler Sebring we drove out to Delaware got good gas mileage, sure, but probably not good enough to get us all the way across Pennsylvania and through a good chunk of Maryland. Keep track of your miles, friends.
2. Don't pack only Shock Tops and PB&Js
Talk about being unprepared for camping. When all you have is a cooler full of PB&J ingredients and cans of Belgian-style wheat ale, you're liable to go mad. And not Lewis Carroll/Alice in Wonderland/Johnny Depp mad, but like, upset-with-yourself-that-you-didn't-think-this-out-in-advance mad.
3. Don't spill someone else's beer
An especially good way to avoid spilling someone else's beer is to not throw a volleyball errantly while playing giant beer pong. The person you hit will spill their beverage, and you will get into a tussle — unless you immediately offer to buy them another drink.
4. Don't look too much into your high-AF campsite neighbors' insights on the universe
"Yeah man, but what really constitutes a dwelling anyway? Does it have to have four walls? A roof? Can we really call a tree house a 'house'? Or like what's the deal with that?"
5. Don't skip a show to go to the casino and win $160
Actually, just kidding. You can totally do this.
6. Don't spend $26 on a plastic souvenir mug
Unless you are a collector of plastic souvenir mugs, I cannot recommend this one. And don't worry — this is one of the only things on this list I didn't actually do. I'm not that much of sucker.
7. Don't forget a towel/extra clothes/your portable phone charger
Because there had to be at least one practical thing on this list.
8. Don't wear a Ramones T-shirt if you hardly know any of their songs
Someone who is actually a fan of the Ramones will ask you what your favorite album is and you will feel shame equivalent to the heat of a thousand suns wash over you as you explain that you don't really know much of their music and are only wearing the shirt because your older sister gave it to you.
9. Don't take a video with your cell phone while standing next to a mosh pit
Those things get wild and before you know it, you may have a new crack in your phone screen.
10. Don't get blackout drunk, lose your friend and miss the best set of the night
This one's self-explanatory.
11. Don't leave halfway through Blink-182's set and drive 10 hours straight through the night with the aid of caffeine pills
Well, that got pretty specific. True story, though. Due to my traveling companion's work schedule, we had to book it on the last night of the festival — and I handled a majority of the driving duties.