Our ears are ringing. The headliners have said goodnight. The festival is over. As we join our brothers and sisters on the stumbling exodus from the festival grounds, it’s time to go home, realign our chakras, juice cleanse the festival grease from our intestines, and reflect on our weekend of revelries.
Many of us are no doubt somewhere on the spectrum between amateur and professional festivalgoers, and, well… we’ve seen some stuff. Hopefully, some of those faux pas can be used as a lesson to better the festival experience for everyone.
Here is a (very) nonexhaustive list of music festival party fouls. If you catch yourself doing any of these, maybe you should take a few minutes on the sidelines and think about what you’ve done.
Apparently, 2019 was the year of the folding fan for music festivals. Though they have existed since before the 4th century BC, festivalgoers only recently discovered them. But with the introduction of these high-tech marvels came an incessant, insufferable clack to the beat. CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK! Anyone claiming that this isn’t annoying is probably a fan clacker. Don’t be a fan clacker.
Over tightening your wrist band
Every festival — EVERY. FESTIVAL. — People manage to screw this one up. Sure, festival virgins get a one-time pass, but for everyone else… shame! The black wristband toggles have teeth that let it slide in only one direction. Put your wristband on and stop screwing around with it.
Habitual set talkers
Yes, music festivals are all about experiencing with your fellow human. Yes, music festivals are some of the best times to make friends. No, no one wants to hear incessant talking about literally nothing in the middle of a set. Save the babbling for set change. No one wants your noise pollution.
Whistling to the beat
Who does this?! Why do you do it?! Did someone hurt you??
Those who think their placards on a stick are the epitome of creativity and wit need to reevaluate. Honestly, just quit being a thoughtless jerk to those around you. Enough said.
Everyone has experienced this at least once… per set. You’re minding your own business waiting to groove to Chris Lake, when a tiny girl tries to squeeze past you, followed by her friend. Followed by their boyfriends. Followed by their cousins. Then their cousins’ boyfriends. Suddenly it’s an unending torrent of humans flooding past you. There is no escape from this one, and the only solution is to close the gap in front of you as soon as possible. Hurry!
Throwing your beer into the crowd
In what universe is this appropriate? Grow up.
Being a hulking, massive, sweat-slick dude bro without a shirt, thereby forcing everyone around you to also touch your sweat
Look, body acceptance is a part of a music festival’s ethos; this will hopefully never change. And yes, you might be totally ripped, which is impressive to be sure. But if every inch of your skin is slick with sweat, then every single person within a three-foot radius has been forced to feel your lukewarm, salty moistness. Please put a shirt on (and you’ll actually be cooler that way).
Sitting down during a set
Standing and raving for a dozen hours in a row is understandably exhausting, but sitting down in the middle of a set is an awful solution. Not only is it dangerous to everyone around, but it also creates a false vacuum that other attendees will undoubtedly try to fill, which is exactly how you get stomped on.
Being tall and planting yourself in front of short people
No, it’s not your fault you are tall as hell. No, no one is asking you to stay behind the soundstage. But have just an ounce of self-awareness and try not to plant yourself in front of those girls who are only about 4’11″… they can barely breathe as it is.
Not hydrating and passing out
Not bringing your own hydration pack
Everyone has that one friend who doesn’t bring or even own a hydration pack. Somehow, they think they’ll make it through 16 hours of raving with a single 12oz bottle of Aquafina they ganked from the medical tent. Then, in the middle of the biggest set of the night, they get a panicked look as they realize they are literally dying, and they puppy-dog eyes everyone around until being fed water by their friends.
Don’t be like this.
Getting wasted before setting up camp
Tents suck to build at the best of times. Now try doing it while inebriated and in the pitch-black festival campgrounds.
Getting super wasted, getting naked, and becoming an internet meme.
If this is even a remote possibility, then you might need to lay off of… whatever substances you partake in. Sheesh.
Brian Baker is a writer and photographer based out of St. Louis. You can find his portfolio here.