Country Music Festival Survival Tips
The most popular country music festivals — like Taste of Country’s own — last up to five days and include dozens of artists. It’s a big commitment to try to take it all in, and you’ll want to do so in a way that allows you to be presentable at work on Monday morning. By following this list of 10 Country Music Festival Survival Tips, you’re certain to make the most of the experience.
Leave Sexy at Home
When it comes to footwear, don't bring anything you don't want getting muddy. Your six-inch stiletto heels may look like they provide good traction, but a more sensible pair of outdoor sandals will probably serve you better. The extra benefit to a waterproof shoe is that you'll be able to wear them in the community showers, should one of those be on your weekend itenerary. Bring an extra pair of sneakers to wear at night when the temperature dips low.
Unless you're going to audition for the role of the Kool-Aid man in a community play, use SPF30 or higher this summer. Bring a bottle of something that smells decent and offer it to all of your friends. Should one guy ask another guy to spread some on his back, it's cool -- as long as the first is buying the second a round at the festival concession stand.
Plug it Up
Are you planning on camping at a weekend country music festival this summer? A pair of earplugs might serve you well if you're cranky without eight hours of sleep. Just because the music ends by 1AM on most nights doesn't mean the party stops. The tents and campers are packed tight like teenagers in a taxi, meaning you'll hear every shout, laugh and belch within two square miles.
If you find yourself packing multiple cameras, computers, bluetooth headsets and a tripod for your video camera, you're doing it wrong. Chances are you'll never revisit that footage. In fact, you may be glad none exists after a weekend of cold beer and country music.
Pack light. Bring your fully-charged phone and maybe a small speaker dock for an iPod. Or, bring an acoustic guitar and create your own soundtrack after the official music has stopped each night.
Pack a Poncho
You can buy an inexpensive poncho and keep it in your tent until a big rain shower comes. It won't take up much room, and should the sky open up with lightning, hail and frogs, you'll stay dry while your friends search for shelter. We don't suggest offering to share your poncho with the country cutie in the next tent, but if he or she is willing ... we won't judge your transparent intentions.
There's an App for That
More and more music festivals are developing apps for fans to keep track of schedules and other important happenings across the long, music-filled weekend. The CMA Music Fest introduced a handy app in 2012. The Stagecoach Fest also promises an app for iPhones and Android phones in 2013. No more pulling a sweaty paper map out of your back pocket every time you need to find the water tent. Check your festival's website to find out if one is available.
The headliners will steal the show, but most country music festivals have side stages to showcase lesser-known musicians and songwriters. It's here you'll find a real gem -- someone you've never heard of before -- to talk about until next year's festival, when he or she is on the big stage. Some of the best music happens during these more intimate shows.
Know the Opener
You paid a pretty sum for tickets and camping, so make it worth your time and money by checking out the opening acts. Often the lesser-known stars sign autographs after their sets. You may even find one or two walking around to shake hands with campers. You'll make a better impression if you know their music.
Don't be a jerk, pick up all of your garbage before you leave and be kind to the festival staff -- it's just good karma! Even if security does seem to be heavy-handed and the beer vendor says you've had too much, they've got over 100,000 people to worry about and don't need your hijinks.
Find a few hours of rest each night (and maybe a few more early in the afternoon). Unless you have Monday off to recover, you'll need a little more than two hours for four days straight. It's one thing to show up with mud still stuck in your hair, but quite another to fall asleep on your keyboard. Make sure you take a break throughout the festival weekend.