Your Music Festival Survival Guide

As a seasoned festival-goer (seven and counting), you could say I’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way. So here I am, your festival fairy godmother, to save you from the same mistakes. Here are my top tips to make your experience as seamless as possible, and make sure everyone has a good weekend!

This year I’m going to Osheaga (or Je vais à Osheaga, as I should say), so these tips are specifically for a non-camping festival. Have any tips for camping festivals, or one that you think I should have included? Let us know!

  1. Plan ahead – sure I might take this to the extreme (hour-by-hour schedule for the whole weekend, anyone?) but this has saved my life more than once. Be sure to include an emergency contact list with phone numbers (because can you really say you know any of your friends numbers off by heart?), plan a meeting spot in case you get separated from your friends, and write down any vital information your friends should know (allergies, parents’ phone numbers, etc.). Also, you need to decide as a group which performers you’d like to see for the weekend, because there will be conflicts (AKA your favourite band and your friend’s favourite band both perform at 7pm). You might have to split up at certain times, which is totally fine, but it’s good to know these things ahead of time.
  2. Meal prep – we all love a good poutine and burger, but can you really live off truck vendors for three days? Personally, I don’t want to find out. A good breakfast (eggs, tomatoes, avocado toast, smoothies, the whole works) is a major key, and I recommend bringing fruit and veggies and granola bars to snack on during the day. Drinking in the sun for a full weekend can really take its toll, so filling up on good food in the morning is essential.
  3. Choose your crew carefully – some people are great friends, but just too unorganized to plan a big trip with. You need to make sure you plan a trip like this with a group of friends that not only want to see the same artists as you do (because this can cause some big issues), but have the same vibe and want to have the same type of weekend. Nothing worse than wanting to enjoy the musicians and relax, and your friend is there to meet her next “Mr. Right Now”.
  4. Dress for the weather – this means rain ponchos, comfortable shoes, and a hat. Trust me, you DO NOT want to get caught in the rain unprepared (I was left with a water damaged phone and covered in mud at Governors Ball in New York after forgetting my rain poncho at home, rookie move). We all want to look cute, but dressing for the weather is a must!
  5. Wake up early – most music festivals these days are a mix of music and art (hello, Wayhome and Osheaga), but as the festival fills up during the day, it gets harder to see the art installations (or in the case of Osheaga, harder to grab one of the few dozen hammocks they have in a forest by one of the main stages, a task that has eluded me three years in a row). Try to wake up as early as you can at least one day so you can explore the area and see what else the festival has to offer; it’s always worth it.

Check out below for a glimpse into my Day 1 Osheaga schedule. A Google spreadsheet works great, because you can add everyone in and they can make adjustments as they see fit.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re there to have an amazing time with your friends, enjoy some stellar music, have a nice cold beer, and have fun. Cause that’s what it’s all about, right?




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