10 Tips to Make the Most of Late-Summer Music Festivals

Not so fast, Fall! I see you creeping in, peaking your cozy head around the corner with all things corduroy and plaid and impending pumpkin spice.

My bae, Summer, she’s still here. And there’s still end-of-summer concerts, baby, concerts! Music festivals and shows are still happening, and I am going to savor them along with every last scorchingly sweet summer day.

So keep your sweaters to yourself, Autumn, you’ll get your chance.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know to have a blast at one last summer concert.

1. Use Tech to Get Ready

To get the deets on upcoming concerts, sign up for weekly emails from Ticketmaster and Live Nation or follow your favorite artists or venues on social media. They’ll let you know when your must-sees are coming to town.

Now that you’re in the know, let the internet hook you up! Live Nation and Spotify will make recommendations and let you know when your favorite musicians are coming to town and sometimes they have great deals. I’ve gotten concert tickets for as low as $16 this way – and for artists I actually want to see.

Don’t forget to go paperless. Live Nation has an app so you never have to print your tickets, just show your phone at the gate and move right through. For Atlanta’s annual music festival, Music Midtown, they’re even partnering with Bank of America so you can swipe your wristband to enter the park and to pay for food and drinks. Easy!

2. Break Out the Fringe!

Now that you have your e-ticket, it’s time to release your inner hippie, and trust me, he or she frigging loves fringe! When you’re jumping around or moving to music, your fringe will sway with you. Your whole ensemble will be rocking to the sounds! (Here’s a little fringspiration to guide you.)

3. Don’t Forget Your Towel

Sadly many concert venues don’t allow patrons to bring in their own chairs. In that case, take a cue from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and bring a towel to sit on while you wait for your favorite band. Or spread it out while you enjoy a funnel cake or other delicious festival food.

This tip really just applies to outdoor festivals or any concert where you’re sporting a lawn seat; if you’re sitting in a chair you probably don’t need to protect your posterior from ants and grass stains. For everyone else, be creative; I’ve also seen people break out blankets, collapsible bamboo mats, and inflatable chairs.

4. Think about Your Feet

Heels are beautiful and flip-flops are easy, but consider the likelihood of getting your toes squished in the crowd or the inevitability of someone’s beer spilling on your foot. Comfort is key and closed-toe shoes are the most sensible.

5. Slap on a Flash Tattoo

Yes, flash tattoos are still a thing and they are so much fun! Stick-on tattoos are not just for little kiddos. Slap one on your arm, across your clavicle, around your ankle. On your neck or face? Why not? They come off clean.

6. Make a Friend (Not a Moocher)

Concerts are a great opportunity to meet people who share the same interests as you. You’re in the same place at the same time, waiting to see the same show. Strike up a convo! “This is my first time seeing this artist. How about you?”

However, be cautious. If you’ve got a great spot right by the stage, it’s only a matter of time before your twelve new best friends will want to cut in front of you to get closer to the action. To avoid this happening, see #7.

7. Stake Your Claim and Hold Your Ground

There is a beautiful anarchy that takes place in general admission sitting or standing areas. Those who arrive first (or those who pay for the privilege) will move in first and take the spots closest to the stage and everyone fills in behind them. Elbow room and body language dictate how close together everyone will get.

People are bound to bump into each other and latitude must be given for accidents, but don’t take any crap. If you went to the trouble of arriving early, or paying for priority entry, don’t you dare let those shifty-eyed interlopers move in on your turf. You should avoid getting physical, but it is perfectly acceptable to use your words to let someone know that they are standing too close.

Be tough, but smart. Fist-fighting at a show is a lame way to get kicked out and ruin your night.

Pro tip: people who are “just passing through” can do so behind you.

8. Stay Hydrated

Check the concert venue’s frequently asked questions and find out if beverages are allowed. Outdoor festivals usually allow one or two empty bottles that you can fill at a fountain and sometimes sealed water bottles are permitted. (But if I know you like I think I do, I’m sure you’ll find a way to wet your whistle.)

9. Put Down Your Phone and See

Almost nobody is interesting in watching the show second-hand via 10 second Snapchat clips. So when the lights get low and the crowd is roaring, lower your phone, look around, take it all in, and smile.

10. Create Good Concert Ju-Ju

Everyone around you came to have a good time. Even the obnoxious frat guy who keeps bumping your elbow just wants to see a great show. So when some drunk or obnoxious boob gets in your space, makes a stank face, or generally puts out a bad vibe, forgive them, but don’t take any crap (see #7).

Thanks to the generosity of friends and even strangers, I have been the lucky recipient of a few free concert tickets. Now, I take pleasure in paying it forward. When I hear about a show that I am desperate to see, I go ahead and buy two tickets. Someone will want to come along and we can enjoy the show together.

It’s an amazing thing to stand in the crowd and watch Kiss, Gaga, or Rihanna bring down the house. Entertainment has never been more accessible to so many people. It would be a shame to look back and regret missing your all-time favorite musicians. So, go, follow these guide-lines (or not), and have a great time.