When I wrote the festival survival tips article last year, I hadn't actually yet attended one myself. Well, now that I've been to Bonnaroo, I better understand many of the things I suggested in that article. I also learned a few other things that I think will come in handy to someone attending a festival this year.
With that in mind, here are five more tips you should take heed of before attending a festival.
If you're tent camping, bring a tent that actually fits you
You're not going to be in your tent a lot while you're away hearing the great tunes, but when you have to get some sleep it's worth it to have a tent that fits you. I'm not a very tall guy (5' 2"), but it was just a little too small for me. Even if it had been just square foot bigger, that would have allowed me to stretch out without hitting the sides every time, causing leaks. You should never expect five-star treatment while camping, but when you're away from home for several days it's the little things that count.
Take the opportunity to sleep at some point
This applies to camping and non-camping festivals, but the opportunities to get some sleep are greater at camping festivals, especially if you're at an all-night festival like Bonnaroo. It is tempting to just stay awake for the whole thing. I can understand this, because many of the best bands are at night.
Don't do this. What's the point of pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion by trying to do it all? Instead, if you pace yourself and get at least some sleep, you'll have a better time. Also, with many festivals held during the hot summer months, that sleep will help you better regulate your body temperature, making your experience safer. I tried my best to get plenty of sleep and I think I had a better time for it. You need not sleep all at night, either. Sleep partially during the day and then you'll still be awake for those late-night shows.
Find shade, and find it often
Between the beating heat of the sun and all the body heat from the people around you, it can be tricky staying cool. Developing heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke, during the festival is no fun for anybody. So if you're going to be outside a lot, definitely find shade as much as you can. A tree. A tent. Something.
Granted, this is not always easy, as the bigger stages are usually wide open fields. So in this case having extra water with you can help. But when you're at smaller stages, try to find shade somewhere, or get under the roof if it's the stage is tent-style.
Let yourself wander a bit
I'm the kind of person that likes to plan trips out ahead of time. It's a quirk of mine, at least partially born out of medical necessity, but one that has generally become part of my life, anyway. So before attending Bonnaroo, I planned it all out. What'd I'd do in the morning, which acts I'd see, and how I'd get to the sets once in the festival area. But there were still gaps of time when I found myself with nothing to do.
I could have tried to plan out those times, too, but I didn't. Instead, I let myself wander around a bit. I'm glad I did, because it was during one of these wandering sessions that I discovered Dawes. So allow yourself so freedom to explore the acts you might not know anything about, because you might be surprised by what you find.
Drink plenty of fluids
I had this as the first tip last time, but it really can't be emphasized enough. I tend to get dehydrated faster than most people, even when in temperature-controlled environments, so it was important that I drank more fluids than most people to keep my levels up. Even if you don't get dehydrated fast normally, you will when standing in 80°-110° temperatures.
I didn't originally intend on doing it, but I'm happy that I brought one of those backpack water holders. They hold more water than most containers, so it's something that keeps you set for a while. I probably filled it three or four times a day, at least, so expect to do about the same.
Don't try to tough it out on this. There were definitely a couple times where I felt the exhaustion coming on, and I'm glad I had a large supply of water handy, because it definitely helped make my festival experience a lot better. Having plenty of water will make yours a lot better, too.