Music festival survival guide

With nearly three months of freedom ahead and balmy weather setting in, a music festival is a great way to spend a few days and relax.

Festivals aren’t just for extreme music junkies – they’re a place to spend time with friends, make new ones and enjoy a change of pace.

Choosing a festival
There are lots of things to consider when choosing where to go. Where you live, the music you like and your budget are all factors that come into play. We’re lucky in Canada that we have plenty of festivals to choose from. Whether it’s big ones such as Oshega, Shambhala and NXNE or a smaller local one like Wolfe Island Music Festival, find the one that appeals to you.

You don’t have to break the bank to have a good time
Depending on what festival you attend, tickets can be expensive. If you’re looking to spend less, try a local festival. What really puts a dent in your wallet is the food and drinks. Be smart about it, if you’re camping, bring a cooler and if you’re just there for the day, pack a lunch. Remember to bring enough cash to avoid charges at ATM machines.

Don’t rely on your cell phone
What happens when thousands of people in a crowd are all trying to Snapchat, text and Instagram at the same time? You won’t have reliable service, so don’t depend on your phone. Wear a watch and set a meeting time and place with your friends in case you get split up.

Be stylish and smart
For the sake of your feet, leave the flip flops at home and opt for close-toed shoes. There’s sure to be mud and lots of standing, and there’s nothing worse than having your toes stepped on.
Since festivals are all day affairs, remember to wear layers. It’s easier to take off a sweater and tie it around your waist 90s style than spend the day shivering or sweltering in the wrong clothes. However, your most important layer is that layer of sunscreen your mother reminded you to put on.

Don’t worry, be happy
If you don’t know everyone on the lineup, don’t worry. Festivals are a great opportunity to discover new music. Make the most of your time and catch a few new bands. A new discovery can end up being your favourite part of the festival.

Beyond the music
Remember to soak up the atmosphere. Part of the fun is being in a crowd with like-minded people who love music. Unfortunately that includes the shoving and that tall person blocking your view, but don’t get caught up in that.
You probably won’t see every band, and it won’t be a fun time if you’re stressed trying to. Instead take a wander around the venue, enjoy the unique food stands, people watching and meeting fellow music-lovers.

A good music festival can be the highlight of your summer, so travel light, let go of your worries and remember that at a push, a garbage bag makes a great raincoat.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.