By Hilary Crisan

Summer festivals are right around the corner, and being able to go and experience those magical, yet stinky and messy nights is a luxury. Between ticket prices, transportation and resource funds, going to a summer festival such as Bonnaroo or Coachella can be expensive. From my experiences at the Van’s Warped Tour to friend’s stories from festivals such as Riot Fest, here are some ways to prepare for the weekends of music, friends and campsites.

1. Make sure to plan ahead of time

There is a lot more to attending a summer music festival than just purchasing a ticket. It’s for the best to make the summer festival experience as stress-free as possible by planning ahead. Some start planning in the fall or winter; others start planning for the next year as soon as they arrive home from this year’s festival. Finding out who is going with you, if anyone, starting to save up money and creating lists of supplies ahead of time will reduce the last-minute stress of going to a music festival by a large amount. Also make sure to plan accordingly to the schedule of bands. If two bands you want to see are playing at the same time, discuss among your group and decide which band you would like to see ahead of time.

2. If able, bring your own food

Packing your own food for the weekend can be a tedious job. Making sure you pack food items that will last three or four days and making sure you don’t go over a budget is difficult, but with a little planning and some common sense, it’s possible. Create a budget and a list of possible food items that will fit in that budget, and make sure the friends who are going with you help you out with the funds. Pitching in for necessities makes things easier on everyone.

3. Make sure to stay hydrated

Water bottles, especially reusable water bottles, will be your best friend for the weekend. Staying hydrated while consistently exposed to the hot weather will ensure you are having a safe and fun time. No one likes to get sick or faint from lack of liquids, heat or exhaustion, and the only way to prevent those things is to keep track of the water you drink. Reusable water bottles will reduce cost as well, since water will more than likely be expensive at the venue. I know at Warped Tour, bottles of water sell for around $4, but some venues have fountains where you can refill your water bottle for free. Keep an eye out for amenities like that, so you can stay hydrated without having to cough up cash.

4. Use common sense

Everyone knows what kinds of activities happen at summer music festivals when people aren’t listening to music. While there won’t be specifics mentioned, it’s always in your best interest to use common sense when dealing with those activities. You’re at your safest when you think through a situation. If a suggestion makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to share those feelings of discomfort. While experimenting has always been a part of the music festival scene, it isn’t a necessity, and you should never feel pressured to think it is.

5. Dress appropriately

Music festivals, such as Coachella, are known around the celebrity world as a time to show off the latest Boho fashions. But, sadly, you are not a celebrity and, as much as you may think so, your outfit shouldn’t depend on being photographed or looking good. Summer festivals are dirty, stinky messes and dressing appropriately is the only way to go. Basic shorts and a light top, as boring as it sounds, are the best choices for these festivals. Functionality and comfort are your main priorities while choosing clothes for these festivals, not what looks the trendiest.

By following these tips, your summer can be filled with great new experience that you may want to repeat year after year. Good luck, fellow festival goers, and be safe.