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The Dos and Don'ts of Summer Festival Hopping

Kendra Nicholson gives you a handy guide to having the best time and protecting your bodacious vessel on the summer music festival circuit.

DO plan your journey before hand. Are we flying training or driving? If you’re driving, a convoy can add hours to your journey once you factor in individual car stops along the way. It’s efficient to pre-designate several destinations to meet along the way once a day. That way you don’t get held up when every car wants to stop and take a picture with the giant Loonie or take a pee break.

If your destination is of a further reach (Coachella, SXSW, Bonaroo) consider your stopovers. You’re going to need a hotel stay in eventually (consider this the last call for showers) so why not make a night of it in a place you’ve never been? We had a massively fun bar night in Nashville which happened to coincide with the CMAs, the streets were a’ flooded with fake Tobey Keiths and Tim McGraws 

DON’T forget the essentials. Spray sunscreen, water, ibuprofen, a small package of Kleenex for when the Portapotties run out of toilet paper,  facial hydrating spray, and, special shout out to the baby wipes. With that many people stomping on the ground it’s apt to range from hot and dusty to rainy and muddy. Either way, baby wipes will be your weekend BFF or FWB depending on usage.  

DO modify your prep routine. This is what you’ve been perfecting your 5-minute face for. Depending on the climate, you’re likely to sweat it off before entering the venue, so avoid powder blushes and bronzers that will end up streaking. Think tinted moisturizer with an SPF, cream blushes, liquid bronzer and Kohl eyeliner. Leave lipsticks at home as they will just end up melting all over your face or in your purse, and  opt for a lip stain instead. If you’re overdone you will stick out like a Courtney Stodden in a sea of Boho goddesses. Ditch the flat iron and go with the texture your momma gave ya. Funky messy on purpose braids keep your hair off of your neck and provide sexy mermaid waves for night. Or if you’re like me, you might want to braid a glow stick into it for Skrillex…. Whatever tickles your pickle. 

DON’T be the princess. Going to a summer music festival means: Extreme heat, huge crowds, long lines, rustic sleeping accommodations, people spilling their beer on you and often traumatic port o’ potty horrors. Suspend your expectations and remember that roughing it is a huge part of the adventure. 

DO your research before hand, You will get so much more out of the experience if you give the lesser known bands a listen and coordinate your schedule beforehand.

Not everyone is going to be into on the same shows and you’ll drive yourself mad trying to to catch every band. But the more organized your schedule, the more time you will have to make compromises and ensure everyone is synched up and happy. 

DON’T be afraid to go your own way. Once you’ve got the lay of the land, if you have your wits about you, don’t be afraid to catch a show that nobody else wants to see solo. You would be amazed at how many people do… even go to festivals completely alone. Music festivals draw legions of Music Nerds. It can be a much more rewarding experience to watch an act surrounded by fans rather than friends you’ve dragged along that just aren’t “getting it.” 

DO set a designated meeting spot. One that is above crowd level, can be seen from a distance, and make sure it’s stationary. That tall guy in the Phish T-Shirt may not be a landmark when you get back. For longer festivals many people bring in PVC tubing, flags and floaty toys to build a monument that can be seen from any vantage point. Kindergarten rules apply here; holding hands and head counts are all acceptable forms of keeping your crew together. We were kicking ourselves for not bringing a 6-way child harness. 

DON’T be afraid to go for the glow. At night, surroundings can look vastly different and become disorienting. If you’re a lost glo-ldier who finds themselves AWOL and searching for your glow army, odds are you’re better off finding the neon freaks than regular civilians. If you’ve created a flag-type construction to use as a meeting point get that bad boy glowing too

DO protect yo’ neck. It’s a given that summer festivals are a hotbed of debaucherous behavior; whether it be ice cold suds, party favours of the narcotic variety or stranger danger sexy times. Everything you do has a morning-after consequence; hydrate, pace yourself and be kind to your body. The festival will end but you’re stuck with this bodacious vessel long term. Take your vitamins and fight against your internal FOMO struggle to find a shaded place to catch some Zs when you can. You will thank yourself while surrounded by zombies on the last day while your energy levels rival that of Rachel Berry from Glee. As a general rule, JUST SAY NO TO BATH SALTS.

DON’T be glued to your phone. As tempting as it is to live Tweet /FB/text and let all your friends know about the awesome fun you’re having, it will be that much more satisfying to regale friends (who will have missed your virtual absence) in person. Be in the thick of it all, soaking up every moment. Did you see that messed up girl making out with the tree? No, you missed it ’cause you were finding the perfect Instagram filter to best illustrate how much fun you’re having.

DO THIS NOW. I fully believe a summer festival is something everyone needs to experience once in a life time, why not do it when young and dumb and full of c** (but seriously girls, bring condoms if you’re thinking about festival nookie). 

~ Kendra Nicholson

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