5 Tips For Surviving A Summer Music Festival

It’s been about a month since you last heard from me, and in that time a lot has happened. Mostly sitting on my ass watching TV (damn you Big Brother and City Girl Diaries!); but shockingly, also a few things that involved leaving my apartment.

Like attending Lollapalooza – the annual three-day music festival in downtown Chicago, Illinois.


As a 27-year-old music festival virgin, I will admit that I didn’t really know what to expect. Would I have fun? Was I too old for all of this? What if I fell for the Jimmy Kimmel trap and became a viral sensation? 

Luckily, I ended up having the time of my life. However, there are a few things I wish I had known before boarding that flight filled with excited 21-year-olds debating the merits of the male tank top. And to spare you all the same fate, I’ve decided to share them with you today.

1. But What Will I Wear!

I’ll just go ahead and save you the trouble of Googling “festival chic” and trolling Urban Outfitters for hours on end, because this, apparently, is the only thing you’re allowed to wear to a music festival:


If you’re a girl that is. If you’re a guy, it’s something a little more like this:


Dont say I didn’t warn you.

2. When Nature Calls…

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, unless you a) bring a catheter or b) are a freak of nature with super-human bladder control, you’re gonna find yourself up close and personal with these bad boys.

lolla8That’s right. The dreaded port-a-potty. If you’re a guy, you’ve got it easy. Just plug your nose and try your best to aim in the general direction. If you’re a girl -God help you.


But never fear! It IS possible crawl through the river of shit and come out (relatively) clean on the other side. Here is how you do it:

  • Front-load your bathroom trips early on in the day (these puppies grow exponentially grosser with each passing hour)
  • Choose a line with mostly guys in it (women move at a glacial pace)
  • Once inside, grip the door handle and hold on for dear life (try not to think millions of germs)
  • Squat
  • Pee
  • Try not to get it on your own shorts  (easier said than done.. this is a serious leg workout, ladies)
  • Finish your business
  • Immediately head to the nearest hand sanitizing station (You should probably cover your entire forearms, just to be safe.)
  • Repress
  • Repeat

3. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

Pace yourselves, kids, because it’s going to be a long weekend. You don’t want to be the FunDrunkFriend passing out at 4:00pm.. or worse, throwing up in the corner while the evening headliner croons on.

Keep it sensible. Alternate every Bud Light Lime-Rita:


With a box of water.

Yes, apparently this is a thing.

Don’t forget to eat.

Deep dish pizza if you’re in Chicago, obvi.

… and whatever you do, remember that wine in a sports bottle is a sneaky bitch:

seemed like such a good idea at the time…

4. Personal Space? Who Needs It!

If you dislike crowds, noise, and drunk people all up in your grill, then you miiiight want to hang out near the back and watch the shows projected from the jumbotron.

That being said- to the victor come the good seats. Here’s what you do:

1. Make yourself as big as possible. I’m talking starfish, people.

Clearing space for Kendrick Lamar.. it’s a jungle out there folks.

2. Try your best to ignore the verbal abuse being hurled at you from concertgoers in every direction.

3. Find your happy place


(this may or may not involve a sports bottle filled with wine).


5. Don’t Hate, Appreciate 

I get it. Its hot. Its crowded. You kinda want to kill that dude with the 100 foot pole coming out of his backpack. But remember, you’re the one who paid $300 for these tickets. You bought all those t-shirts at the merch stand. So let’s try to be cool, ok?


One way to prevent yourself from getting too burned out is to spend some time away from the festival grounds. Because I am a (relatively) old lady, I chose to be selective with my concert schedule and spend the first half of each day exploring the beautiful city of Chicago.



I even managed to get in a bit of instagramming  exercise.



… And if all else fails, you can always take the edge off with a friendly push-up competition

Yes, these are my grown-up friends.

………And don’t forget to pose for copious amounts of photos and convince your friends at home what a great time you’re having!! 389





Remember kids- if you didn’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen!

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to a music festival? Any interest?


23 thoughts on “5 Tips For Surviving A Summer Music Festival

Add yours

  1. Osheaga 2011 with my then-17-year-old daughter. Just one day, though, so it probably doesn’t count. All I can say is you haven’t lived until you’re 45 and surrounded by a Ratatat crowd.


    1. Some of my friends went to Osheaga this year, which is the same weekend as Lolla. I felt like we were having a social-media-off all weekend to see who was having the best time. It was all very mature.


      1. I felt that the headliners at Osheaga this year were geared to my demographic. The Cure? New Order? Beck? Mumford and CBC Radio Sons? Glad you had a good time and good to have you back.


  2. I’ve never been to a music festival, although I’ve been to some all-night raves before if that counts.

    As a survivor of a rave on an island, I’m not surprised you managed to get right into the festival vibe. I’ve never seen that Limearita before but your nails match the can marvellously.

    Awesome pouting in that final pic.


    1. Thanks. We were headed to a concert by 2 Chainz, a hip hop artist, and were wearing our best chains in preparation. I’ve never been to a rave- I’m not sure I could even handle staying up all night. You like it?


  3. I think I would probably hate a music festival, just because I am very selective about who I even want to see live. I’ve been to exactly two concerts in my lifetime, which I will be making three in September.

    We just recently had our first music festival (BottleRock Napa), and there was only one artist I’d even want to see, but the tickets were so expensive, I wasn’t going to drop the money just to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Even though it is Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.


      1. I went to see Fall Out Boy when they were touring Folie a Deux, and saw a mishmash of bands (including The Cab, Never Shout Never, maybe Hey Monday) at a concert in SF as well. I’m going to see Fall Out Boy again while they’re touring Save Rock and Roll (can you tell they’re my favorite?).


    1. haha my hair was attacked by humidity the first day, and after that I only wore sock buns. Luckily this festival didn’t involve camping- don’t think I could handle that!


  4. I went to a one day affair peace concert before the beginning of the 1st gulf war. Even though I lived in Seattle I was somehow under the impression that Alice in Chains was a girl band, they were the headliners but hadn’t made it big yet outside of Seattle – Seeing them changed my life! ok maybe not but it set me on course for a music revolution, inside the confines of my own head, for the next couple of years. Couldn’t see enough shows after that.


  5. I went to Pitchfork this year in Chi-town! I loved that festival and that city! It was pretty small and manageable, definitely want to go again next year. Other than that is Bonnaroo…which was INTENSE.


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