Only three more days until Shaky Beats! Part 3 of your survival guide here, and I’m going to discuss some basics about actually getting around within the festival. Welcome to Part three of your Shaky Survival Guide! See Part One here and Part Two here.
When you first get in line as a new festival-goer, you’ll probably either think:
“Wow everyone here is dressed in neon suspenders and mesh hoodies and I’m here in a polo and J-Crew shorts”
“Oh no, everyone here is dressed like a Banana Republic model and I’m here in a full-scale dragon costume with functioning wings”.
Honestly, everyone that’s been new to festival life has had these thoughts, especially people that don’t roll in 10 deep with their crew. If you’re rolling in with 10 of your best friends, congrats! If you’re not, just take a deep breath and calm down. My tip to get over the anxiety of fitting in at a music festival, especially EDM festivals is to just talk to the person closest to you. These are the friendliest people in the world, and anybody in line next to you is going to be happy just to know you. Nobody there is judging you and the more you socialize the more you’ll come to realize that everyone at Shaky Beats is there for the same reasons – to listen to some great music.
On the same note, there are some general codes of conduct to follow. It can be tempting to judge others for their outfits, actions, or behavior. Just keep it to yourself and focus on enjoying the show, because everyone else is just trying to enjoy the show in their own ways.
Finding Your Friends
So you’ve made it to the festival and you can hear your favorite artist off in the distance! Your friends are messaging you to come meet up, so you start walking into the swarm of colorful outfits and BAM you’re lost as all hell. Yeah Central Park isn’t the biggest venue, but the festival can be a daunting place. How are you going to find your friends?
- Use your landmarks. The stages are great landmarks of course, but you have to think smaller if you want people to be able to find you when you’re trying to meet up at a show. The sound booth is a quality landmark, drink stations, food stations, etc. will all work better than the vague “I’m at stage X”.
- Use totems! Your best landmark when you’re actually in the crowd will be totems. Totems are those tall poles with funny or neat pictures on them, lights, foam animals, whatever. They rise above the crowd so texting a friend “I’m standing under Spongebob” or “I’m between Oprah and the Rainbow Cat meme” will work great for finding one another. These are especially useful when you’re not close to any larger landmarks like sound booths.
- Stand out in a crowd. Wear something fun, unique, or distinct. It doesn’t have to be a 15ft tall T-Rex costume, but wearing a wild hat or a neon shirt or something to make you a bit more distinct in a crowd will always help your friends find you.
- Have a fall-back plan. If your phones die, if you all get lost, if your friend gets way too wasted and can’t read a map, have an easy-to-spot location where you can meet up. For most festivals there are central pillars with schedules that will be there each day – these work great for meet ups because they are tall but have narrow bases. This makes them easy to spot from a distance, but ensure you can find each other easily once you arrive. Food stations are also good meetup spots so long as they’re there day after day.
Getting a Good Spot
Getting a prime location to view your favorite artist is important, but don’t think it’s the end of the world if you can’t be front row. It’s important to remember not shove your fellow concert-goers and to try to be mindful of those around you.
Standing up front is nice for seeing the show, but you’re going to have the force of a few hundred people up against you. If you like to dance in any way other than bouncing, enjoy breathing anything but freshly exhaled CO2, or like to have a bit of personal space I would not recommend this life. If you are bent on being up front, don’t push through from the back. Walk up the side, then cut through sideways. The best option is always to come to an earlier show and keep your spot.
For more visual shows and people that like to dance more, I’d recommend standing further back. Central Park has some hills you can take advantage of for seeing shows without being in the middle of the crowd.
Being a VIP
It’s an age-old question, but we still ask ourselves whenever we buy tickets – is VIP actually worth it?
My opinion is, probably not. For 90% of us your standard ticket will do just find and there is plenty of room to go around. Being closer to the stage is nice, sure, but what’s the point if there’s nobody to enjoy it with? In my opinion there are two people that VIP is suited for:
- Actual celebrities. If people are going to be stopping you and bothering you with requests for autographs, then sure. Go ahead and get yourself VIP so you can enjoy the show without being bothered.
- People with IBS. There is one understated perk of VIP access and that’s the ability to take craps in peace, with full AC. If you have IBS, then by all means you go ahead and get VIP because you need the access and comfort.
If you’re not on TV and don’t have a chronic bowel disease, then I think you should just go ahead and get general admission and join the crowd.
That’s it for post #3, but stay posted for tomorrow’s post where I’ll be going over food and drink tips for the festival!