Summer music festivals: sunshine, timeless jams, good vibes, full hearts and dirty feet. Also summer music festivals: sludge pits, casual assault, blown eardrums, tachycardia and dirty feet.

While music festivals can represent the heights of warm-weather communal fun, the events are also hard-to-navigate tests of physical and mental endurance. Colorado revels in more than its fair share of summer music festivals, from urban day concerts to remote mountain camp-outs, so here’s how to survive these summer festivals — while not being a jerk, actually enjoying the music, and with friends and brains (mostly) intact.

Where to Start:

Make a budget
No one can make it to all the festivals offered in one summer, and ticket prices plus travel and food/drink adds up fast. Luckily, many major festivals include overlapping acts, so you can catch your favorite touring artist at some point. Make some hard choices and book early to get better ticket prices.

What to Bring:

Tickets, wallet, keys
Tickets, wallet, keys. When you get in your car to go to the festival, and when you get out of your car to go into the festival.

Hydrate, and not from that drainage ditch you're convinced is a mountain stream! Bring your reusable water bottle, canteen or CamelBak, and refill that bladder three to five times a day. If you're not doing that, you'll burn out faster than a ginger covered in baby oil. It's for combating the sun and also all that beer you're drinking.

If the festival allows, bring your own snacks. Trail mix, fruit and energy bars are all solid options, so you're not waiting in line for a $14 corn dog every time you need a caloric re-charge.

Sun gear
Bring sunscreen, reapply liberally, share with new friends. See also: lip balm with SPF, sunglasses with actual UV protection, hat. But not that one. Never that hat.

Avoid lines at the ATM and being S.O.L. if you lose your card in the mosh pit.

Guess what? All the musicians on stage — yes, even the DJs —  are wearing earplugs. And you've decided to stand directly in front of the mile-high speakers. Stick some plugs in your ear holes, dummy.

Other Tips:

Don't plan on your cell phone
While we're writing things down, just bring a tiny notebook or stack of Post-Its. Even if you keep your phone charged all day, coverage at festivals is notoriously bad. Write down the phone numbers of your fest squad/emergency contacts and keep it with you, in case you need to borrow a phone or someone needs to make a call on your behalf.

Meet-up spots
Once inside, immediately decide on a meet-up spot with your crew. This can be where you'll meet to get food at 7 p.m. or, if you get separated and can't call each other, where you meet up as a last-ditch effort. Meeting at one of the enormous art installations is a great idea

Identify safe spaces
Before you dive into the crowds, do a scan for safe spaces at the festival — whether it's a medical tent, a security station, or a booth sponsored by an organization. These are resources for help in a variety of situations, whether you're sick, separated from friends, threatened, or hurt. Identifying these locations can also be helpful if you've lost one of your friends.

Explore non-musical elements
More and more, festivals are incorporating non-musical entertainment, whether it's art installations, silent discos, flea markets, workshops, the Yoga Sanctuary at ARISE or even rafting excursions. Take advantage and add dimension to your experience, as well as a much-needed break.

For the full story, what to bring, what NOT to bring, and other tips, visit Westworld


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