Thursday, August 2, 2012

The HauteMess Guide to Doing Music Festivals Right

It's that time of year again....the beautiful intersection between Bad Decision August (Third Annual, ya'll!) and my favorite music festival, Lollapalooza.

Side note: In case you aren't familiar with Bad Decision August, the premise is this: I generally spend most of my life trying to make the best decisions possible (what to eat? what to wear? what to watch? who to call? who to kiss? how to seem cool/not crazy?), but for all my effort, life sometimes just seems a wee bit predictable. One August day two years ago, I thought to myself, "I spend so much time agonizing over the proper things to do - fuck it! what's the worst that could happen?"  

And "Bad Decision August" was born, and the little devil on my shoulder finally has her month to be the boss.

Back to Music Festivals....

Not to toot my own horn, but I do Music Festivals better than the average bear. (Toot! Toot!)  So if you are new to the music festival circuit or just curious about how to improve your experience, here is how to have The HauteMess MusicFest Experience:

1. Fold Up Blanket with handle:  I recommend this Coleman model because it is a 3-in-1: waterproof blanket, fold up stadium butt cushion, and poncho.   The handle is essential because you are stuck with it all day, might as well make it easy to lug around.  This blanket serves 3 main functions:

  • Creates and ownable territory: helpful when you are saving spots for friends, posting up for a future show.
  • More comfortable than sitting on very dry or very wet grass. (bonus: it protects my jorts from dirt/grass stains and my legs from the asshole stray grass blades that inevitably burrow into my thighs, highlighting cellulite)
  • The official "Alcohol Sneak'r In'r"  - Fold up blankets in carrying cases are allowed. Security will squeeze them and pat them down, but they have never asked me to unfold my blanket.  SO, I roll up my recommended item #2 inside the blanket and it easily smuggles in past security.

2. The Disposable Flask: This amazing invention fits almost anywhere - purses, cargo pockets (not that I EVER recommend wearing anything with a cargo pocket), secret compartment of your backpack, and the roll up blanket.  These soft sided plastic flasks are BPA free and hold up to 7.5oz of booze. (That's 5 shot for the non-math majors out there)  I personally like that you can get them in all kinds of hilarious colors and patterns.  I shall be rocking my leopard and camo print flasks this weekend.

3. The Wardrobe:  Festival fashion is a unique beast all its own.  It is a time when a Ray Ban and American Apparel stock skyrocket and costumes make a non-Halloween special appearance.  You should expect anything from Greenman, grown ass women wearing Indian Headdresses and no pants, men wearing tank tops and neon shorts, to a parade of body paint & body glitter.  I leave that portion of style to you.... but for me the two most important things to consider when picking your clothing/costumes are:
The acceptable kind of Crocs.

  • Tan lines (I recommend strappy tops or tube dresses for this purpose)
  • Comfort (comfort in the heat AND comfort standing/walking for hours on end)
If you forget everything else I have taught you....please do not dismiss this suggestion.  CROCS.  Of course I don't mean the fucking hideous things that people wear only when they have given up.  I mean these. (on sale now)  They are SOOOO comfortable.  They wash off easily - perfect for dirty and muddy festival feet. (what do you think I wore during most of the Deadmau5 mud rave last year?)

Also of note: To stay cool and pay homage to the costume Gods, I will be wearing a unicorn shirt that DIY'd into a swim suit cover-up. (instructions here) If you see me - come on up and say hello!!

4. Body Glide and Baby Powder:  Attending an outdoor music festival is like running a marathon - it is a hot, sweaty endurance race to the end of the weekend.  And sweaty skin is friction-y skin.  In case you aren't a distance runner and aren't familiar, friction = chaffing.  Endurance sweating = chaffing in new, unexpected places. (arms, bra line, inner thighs, etc)  Body glide is a long-wearing lubricant to keep skin glide-y and baby powder is perfect to dry up damp skin. (Damp skin = Diaper rash...Chaffing IS diaper rash...if you think you don't want to smell like baby powder, trust me that you don't want to be an adult with diaper rash even more.)

5. The Screwmosa: Screwdriver + Mimosa = You're welcome. My favorite morning beverage is a mimosa, but if you are hoping to get a little more mileage out of the drink (and avoid paying festival prices for your buzz), adding a shot of vodka really does the trick.  Think of it as a sparkly Screwdriver...or a Mimosa with a kick!

6. The Lodging:  I have done this in many ways - from camping to renting houses to pricelining the cheapest hotel...and I cannot stress enough how WORTH IT it is to pay for the hotel that is closest to the main entrance.  For the 2nd year in a row, I will be staying at The Congress Plaza Hotel where I will enjoy a mini fridge of food, my own bar, twice daily showers, daily naps, and a non-porto-potty option for when I inevitably must go number two.

7. APPS: The Festival App and GroupMe.  If you are an adult attending a music festival and you do not have a smart phone...then you can probably stop reading, hang your head in shame, and walk away.  Otherwise - the two most important apps you can have are the Festival app itself (updates on showtimes, lineup changes, give-aways, maps, customizable schedules, and more) AND GroupMe.  GroupMe allows you to create a group text with your whole crew so it makes it easy to communicate, do your own thing & meet up later, get drink orders, make hilarious comments about the weirdos in front of you or whatever it is kids talk about in private chat rooms.  What makes this different than the group texting on your phone is that it works for any phone. (not just smart phones - but those with dumb-phones have to sign up on

I look forward to sharing some amazing Bad Decision August Updates with you next week.  Enjoy your weekend - wherever you are!  And if you see me at Lolla, come on up and say hello!


  1. girl, you rock at life. I love summer festivals so so so so much too. I had no idea about the coleman blanket/poncho/tote! and your t-shirt cover-up. HAWT!

  2. Can't wait to see your professional music festival going ass tomorrow! 

  3. I love lolla but Electric Forest is where its at.

  4. I went to Electric Forest back when it was time I never want to have again! :)

  5. Hope you had a blast!  And that the unicorn onesie was all you hoped it would be!

  6. Thank you!  We should totally hit up Lolla together next year. :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails