April 19, 2019 | 73° F

How to make the most of summer music festivals


There’s no better way to commemorate a school year well done than reveling in the glory of one of the Garden State's finest music festivals. There's no experience quite like it — people from all over gather to soak up the sun and watch live performances given by their favorite artists. Whether you're fondly reminiscent about your Bamboozle days, or assembling your first flower crown, there’s a music festival to charm the fancy of any music enthusiast.

How to Pick the Right Festival

Choosing the right festival is kind of like buying a car, your investment will be the most rewarding if you research what you are getting yourself into beforehand. The lineup is arguably the single most important aspect, so keep looking until you find the festival that mirrors your dream playlist. Somewhere out there, the perfect event is waiting for you.

Lucky for us, New Jersey’s conveniently central location opens up the opportunity to attend some of the most famous shows in the greater metropolitan area, and nothing is farther than a bus or train ride away. Summer festivals like The Govenor's Ball in New York require minimal train travel time.

While the ticket price and weather conditions are subject to fluctuate as the event draws closer, make sure to rally the troops with plenty of time in advance.

Your friends are what will make the festival experience so incredible, and the memories made will be what you most cherish later on.

How to Pack

Whether you’re out covering ground for the day or for the week, less is in fact more when it comes to prepping your survival gear. Think quality over quantity, and say yes to the essentials.

Any professional festival goer will tell you you’ll need some kind of lightweight book bag, satchel or fanny pack with plenty of compartments to keep your prized possessions safe, a portable phone charger to ensure you can take plenty of photos and videos and just enough cash to get you through your adventure. Festivals like the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware offer charging stations to attendees, while on the other hand, ATM lines can be a pain to wait on.

Extra points go to the festival-goer who remembers to pack a rain poncho. Starting at only around $2, buy an extra pack and count on making a new friend when the when the showers start to pour.

How to Dress

Ah, yes, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: dress-up time. Electronic, rock and country concerts, for example, all have decidedly different unspoken sartorial rules, so first consult your pals to make sure you will be rolling up in the correct style.

Ladies can never go wrong with summery dresses, high waisted shorts, kimonos, rain boots or leather booties, and of course, an excellent flower crown.

Gentleman can count on keeping cool in shorts, a tie-dye or printed tank, a hoodie and their favorite pair of old, beat up sneakers. Flannel shirts, floppy hats and a top-notch pair of sunglasses are also a must on anyone’s packing list.

Finally, the wondrous little bandana, whether you rock it as a headband, scarf or bandage, offers far too much potential to not tag along for the ride.

How to have the best time

Don’t work the crowd, make the crowd work for you. Know where the bathrooms, water tents, merchandise tents and food vendors are from the start, and hatch a buddy system to travel through.

If you’re camping out and staying overnight, introduce yourself to your neighbors, or if you’re hitting a multiple day fest in a city, genuinely befriend a cabbie to help you out and beat traffic.

While it’s noble and wise follow the official Boy Scout motto and ensure that you are “always prepared,” don’t fret too much if things don’t go exactly the way you planned. There is no kind of fun like the spontaneous or serendipitous.

Now go and book that ticket, elbow your way to the front and dance in the front row, because you’re young, there's a beautiful night, there’s live music and the world is a pretty cool place.

Janine Puhak

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