Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rules of Festival Etiquitte

I went to college in Memphis, and every May kicks off with the Beale Street Music Festival.  Music Fest always fell right before exams and, with my heavy academic workload, I was in study mode during that weekend.  Somehow, my sweet roomies (yes, you Sarah and Em) always convinced me that I needed a study break down by the river, and am I ever thankful that they kept my social calendar hoppin' even when I tried to hide out in the library :)
2004 was a good year for us :)
It would never take long, after arriving at the concerts, before we would come up with "advice" for all of the other concert goers, rules of festival etiquette.  With CMA fest kicking off today and Bonoroo this week, I couldn't help but reflect on our wisdom at such a young age.  You are in luck, to prevent you from embarrassing yourself, your friends and family and in an effort to pay it forward, here are our top festival do's and dont's.
photos from our glory days!
  1. Do leave your big purse at home!  It's hard to get your swag on while toting a huge arm bag.  Opt for a small cross body or use your pockets for the day.  Under no circumstances are fanny packs acceptable. Cash, ID, Cards, Phone, Lip Gloss, travel sized sunscreen and/or hand sanitizer. Done.

2. If you are going to try to dress with the "theme" of the concert or festival, don't take yourself too seriously and own it.  For CMA fest, if you want to sport your favorite cutoffs and a pink rhinestone cowboy hat, DO IT!  You Bonoroo-ers, embrace the lack of showering and grunge look.  But, keep in mind, you will be looked at like a spastic redneck or a nasty, dirty outcast when you are out of the festival bubble, so don't take offense to the rest of the world. 

Exhibit A: Fully embracing a theme
3.  If you are a mother, daughter, sister, wife, or girlfriend, under no circumstances should you flash the band.  No elaboration needed. If you choose to get up on someone’s shoulders, people will expect you to flash… especially if you are wearing “questionable” clothing. Just keep that in mind.

Exhibit B: What you look like in your head

Exhibit C: What you actually look like....and friends judging you in the corner
4.  Shoes are a big decision.  If it's raining, your flip flops will get stuck in the mud and you will be in jeopardy of losing them- rain boots are absolutely acceptable.  If it's too hot, the last thing you want to wear is boot/tennis shoes/socks.  Check the weather forecast and plan your footwear accordingly.  Heels of any type- (yes, wedges included) are a huge “don’t”. Under no circumstance should you be that girl that wears uncomfortable shoes and is the buzz kill.  And most importantly- never go barefoot. Sounds like an obvious decision, but you will be amazed at the number of folks trolling around barefoot in the mud at certain festivals. You cannot predict know what you might step on or in!
ExhibitD: Inappropriate Festival Shoes
5. Say please, thank you, excuse me, sorry. People in the crowds tend to get pushy so if someone lets you by, be courteous and drop a quick “thanks.” If you bump or are pushed into someone, especially if beverage spillage occurs, say “sorry” and move on. Your momma would be proud of good manners.

6. Wait to “break the seal!” Because you will undoubtedly be hydrated, whether good ole H2O or adult beverages, keep in mind that once you break the seal, you can ensure several more port-a-potty stops throughout the day….

7.  Losing your phone, keys or ID is a big possibility.  If you don't absolutely have to have it, leave it in the car.  Identify the most responsible person in the group to keep up with tickets :) that was not me!

8.  Bring a towel for the car ride home....essential if rain is in the forecast or there is a possibility of getting muddy. 

Finally, have fun!  Rules are meant to be broken, so if you love your hot pink fanny pack, and can't live without it, then wear it with confidence as you waltz through your favorite festival.  You never remember the nights you had plenty of rest, rather the ones you had a blast with best friends ;) 

AND thanks Em and Sarah for your help with these music fest tips!


  1. I laughed pretty hard at #7 - don't think either of us qualified as the responsible party back then (but for completely different reasons!!)

  2. ahhh I FINALLY GOT CAUGHT UP on the blog =) love this. and love those classic photos of us... so true and GREAT advice for fesitval first timers!