Your 2011 Music Festival Guide

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By Cody Willmer, Circulation Manager

Summer is just around the corner, and you’re probably planning on checking out some music festivals.  Here’s a friendly guide to help make your festival experience fantastic.

Attending music festivals is as much of an art as is the music being played. There is a way to attend festivals, and there are some unwritten rules to follow, including things you just don’t do at music festivals. There is a way to select the festivals to attend, as well as rules for what to do and how to behave.  There are a few important things you will need: a place to crash, a few cool friends, transportation, food, a positive attitude and some knowledge.

So, without further ado, here’s my condensed rules list:

Rule No. 1 – (The Golden Rule)Don’t be a douchebag. There is simply no need for that.  If that is your plan, do everyone a huge favor and smash your face into a wall, preferably your own before you leave the house.

Rule No. 2 – Don’t get kicked out/locked up. Contrary to popular belief, you can get kicked out of music festivals. There are often cops and private security who will be more than willing to put you outside the fences if you’re being a jerk.

Rule No. 3 – Don’t drink more than you can handle.No one appreciates you vomiting and/or passing out on him or her.

Rule No. 4 – Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!I suggest purchasing a camel back or other mass storage hydration device for music festivals. If you do, you won’t have to wait in the water lines nearly as often. Most festivals are in hot areas, and you will be dancing outside for long periods of time.  Stay away from dehydration. You don’t want to spend two days of a three-day festival in the hospital.

Rule No. 5 – Don’t start fights.Festivals are supposed to be chill and peaceful. If you want to fight, then join an ultimate fighting league.

Rule No. 6 – Be spontaneous.  Festivals are not places to be shy. Go out and mingle. This is often the most fun you’ll have. Almost everyone there is super friendly and willing to share their blanket or spot.

Rule No. 7 – Be courteous.Do to others as you would want done to yourself.  If you want to get close to an artist, it is up to you to get there early enough to get to the place you want. You don’t just force your way to the front. The crowd will often turn on you.

Rule No. 8 – Be prepared. It’s up to you to have reliable transportation, a place to crash and access to emergency funds. Be smart because even though Tennessee and Texas are fun, you don’t want to be stranded there without money.

Rule No. 9 – Know your location and festival.You need to know how to navigate your festival/area/city and so does your crew.  You will need a gathering spot for finding each other, and it’s imperative that you know where you are. Many festivals have maps and FAQ sheets available.

Rule No. 10 – Have fun.  If you follow the rules above, be wise and take care of yourself, the fun will overwhelm you and you will become hooked on festivals.

Be aware, they aren’t cheap.  You may be wondering how to pay for your trip.  The answer is simple: work and save. However, there is also the volunteer option, where you work at the festival in exchange for a ticket.

So, which festival should you go to?  Fortunately, I have compiled a list of some of the best festivals.

The Hangout Music Festival, May 20-22 in Gulf Shores, Ala. Three day passes cost $174. Notable acts include: My Morning Jacket, The Flaming Lips, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys and Widespread Panic.

Summer Camp Music and Camping Festival, May 27-29 in Chillicothe, Ill.Three day passes cost $180. Notable acts include: Umphreys Mcgee, Moe, Widespread Panic, Bassnectar,  Wiz Khalifa and STS9.

Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival, June 2-5 in Ozark, Ark. at Mulberry Mountain. Four day passes cost $170. Notable acts include: My Morning Jacket, Thievery Corporation, STS9, Ghostland Observatory, Mumford and Sons and Bassnectar.

Bonnaroo Music and Camping Festival, June 9-12 in Manchester, Tenn.Four day passes cost $250. Notable acts include: Eminem, Arcade Fire, Lil Wayne, The Strokes, String Cheese Incident and Florence + The Machine.

Lollapalooza Music Festival, August 5-7 in Chicago, Ill. at Grant Park.Three day passes cost $215. The full line up gets release April 26. Confirmed acts include Muse, Eminem, Foo Fighters, Kid Cudi, Deadmau5, Crystal Castles and The Kills.

These are just a few of the festivals happening this summer.  There are probably a hundred more out there, and while they may or may not be of the same size or quality, a festival is a festival!

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