It’s summer music festival season, which means hundreds of thousands of concert-goers will herd into dusty fields or the wet grass and pass out from a combination of heat exhaustion and over-indulging. Fun! But don’t let it happen to you. There are a few key do’s and don’ts to make the most of outdoor shows this summer.
Frank Bombaci Sr. is the organizer of the third annual B.O.M.B. Fest, taking place this May in Hartford, Conn. With marquee acts like Weezer, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Best Coast playing, we figured we could trust him to share some of his tips to do festivals right.
“You want to get to the event early and stake out some good strategic spots,” says Bombaci. “With a festival like ours, there is so much music and multiple stages, you should look at the schedule and map out your strategies. Anchoring your day around the one band you definitely need to see will help you figure out what you have time to check out elsewhere.”
Don’t lurk by the main stage
“Pay attention to all the stages and really give those artists the opportunity to be heard. At the smaller stages the music is phenomenal, even if lots of times people don’t really know who they are,” he says. “They might be headlining next year, so now’s your chance to see them up close.”
What to carry in
“It’s always good to bring a rain jacket,” says Bombaci. “You never know when the rain gods are gonna open up a bit.” Actually, yes you do. During every outdoor concert ever! Another tip: Lots of festivals, like B.O.M.B., have relaxed the restrictions on bringing water into the venue, but not all. Find out ahead of time what you can bring. And, it’s obvious but worth noting: “Don’t forget to bring sunscreen,” says Bombaci. “You watch people over the course of the day turn into lobsters.”
But don’t bring this
“At our event,” says Bombaci, “it’s not wise to bring in any kind of cooler. Those aren’t going to be allowed. You usually can’t bring in a professional-style camera either. Pocket cameras are cool, but people have to be understanding that artists don’t like flashes in their faces.”
Find the right angle
“One thing about festivals that have multiple stages, there’s always sound bleed. It’s always a good idea to get close to the stage, and near the centre of the stage, to reduce sound bleed form other stages,” advises Bombaci. “If a person can afford it, buy a VIP ticket. It’s always going to be in a great viewing area, in the shade out of the sun, and strategically placed so you get good sound quality.”
“I’ve seen people bring small children to festivals, which is cool to expose them to music and a fun crowd, but you’ve got to make sure you bring ear protection for kids, and make sure they’re lathered up with sunscreen.” But what about my other child — the family dog or another family pet? “Our events don’t allow pets, but some do,” says Bombaci. “I don’t think it’s a wise idea.”