I know you have friends. They just aren’t here this weekend…
BUT WAIT! Isn’t a Music Festival more fun with friends???
Well, that depends on the situation, really. Think about it. Is it really that much more fun to roll with a crew that you had to drag there? Girls who are more into taking selfies, popping pills, and making out with strangers (no judgment — get your life) than hopping from stage to stage and hearing the music — or guys who end up going AWOL anyway until it’s time to meet back at the car? And let’s not even delve into the damper it puts on your weekend if you end up festing with someone who doesn’t feel well or is in a general funk and decides to be Debbie Downer or Granny Panties all weekend long…
Think about how much fun you can have on your own — it’s way easier to get close to the stages, move from act to act, and just get lost in the music without having to account for someone else’s whereabouts, feelings, or enjoyment.
Perhaps it isn’t the ideal situation. But you paid for your pass and dammit, no one else’s poor planning is going to ruin your good time. So, as we gear up for Festival Season 2018, here are some tips to consider if you end up one-man wolfpack-ing it to any of this season’s festivities.
1. Pack Your Essentials
There’s nothing worse than getting caught at a festival — or anywhere on earth, for that matter — all alone with a dead cell and no cash. Those are basics. But other than that you want to make sure you have everything you need to stay comfortable an in need of nothing from anyone all day. If you smoke, have your own lighters and cigs. If you like your hands to stay moisturized, keep your lotion. And you know I’m a strong believer in a port-o-potty survival pack… Keep what you need on you so you can keep it moving and enjoy yourself.
2. Map Your Fest Schedule
It’s cool to just float it out from stage to stage with your friends…but when going it alone, structure can keep you focused and feeling much less awkward about being a solitary raindrop in a thunderstorm. If you know where you’re headed and at what time, it can keep your own confusion low. Plus, having a schedule mapped out forces you to learn the lay of the land quickly, which can only work to your advantage in the long run.
Luckily, nowadays there’s an app for that — pretty much EVERY festival has a downloadable app to help you stay on track. Major con though: often times this app continues running in the background and drains the SHIZZ out of your phone battery. A lot of times there are physical maps and schedules available that most folks don’t bother to ask for, so do your best to get your hands on one on day one and hold on to it — they disappear quickly.
3. Stay Open
To be frank, being at a large social event all by yourself can get lonely and feel awkward at times, even for the biggest extroverts. But remaining all alone in a crowd of thousands is really a choice. If you keep an open mind and put on your extrovert hat, you should have no problem picking up a buddy for a few sets, or possibly even a crew to roll with for a few hours or the rest of the day, if you’re even remotely likable.
Body language expert Tonya Reiman notes in chapter 8 of her book, The Power of Body Language: How To Succeed In Every Business and Social Encounter, noting posture and mannerism is key if you’re looking to pick up a crew or make a few new friends for the duration of the festival.
She suggests, when approaching a group, to notice social cues to determine if the group is even OPEN to picking up a stray like you (jokes — stay with me here). Avoid getting shafted or brushed off by noticing if the group is closed. If the whole clique is standing in a clump with feet and bodies facing each other, you can’t sit with them. Don’t even try it, stranger danger.
BUT, if you see at least one person’s feet/legs/trunk/chest pointed away from the group, there’s your opening. Bonus signals like uncrossed arms, eyes scanning the crowd, open palms/body positions let you know these peeps are open to connecting. Reiman suggests you elongate your neck, pull back your shoulders, do a deep inhale and approach the person whose body language is the most open. 9 times out of 10, he or she will likely invite you right into the group. Best to let them start the convo — even if it’s just a “Hey, what’s up!” But remember — PAY ATTENTION to the flow of the convo. Jumping into your own new topic too early on might get you alienated, new girl.
4. Stay Charged
Being that you’re basically unaccounted for, you need your phone more than most people. That trek back to the car or the campsite can get creepy quickly if you let your iPhone go full Amish on you. I cannot stress enough the importance of a portable cell charger — or two — and taking the occasional break to juice up at a wall unit, if at all possible in your particular fest situation. You never know if or when you’ll need to phone a friend, reassure your Mom you’re still breathing, or (absolute worst-case scenario!!) call for help. Or simply if you meet a sexy stranger and need those digits locked in. Either way, keep that phone operational!
5. STAY SAFE
This is the most important tip. Watch your own back. For lack of better terms…now is simply not the time to be goofy. What do I mean by goofy? Overly trusting. Telling every random stranger you’re by yourself. Not paying attention to your surroundings or routes. Misplacing your things. Sitting your wallet and phone down just anywhere. Accidentally spending all your cash. Forgetting where you parked or the way back to your sleeping arrangement. Ignoring those red flags that pop up in the back of your head in sketchy situations. All of that. Going it alone can be great, but it’s still your best bet to stay sober, keep your eyes and ears open, and generally remain aware. No, music festivals aren’t horrible dangerous places full of drugged-up predators…but few environments are safe for a goofy girl.
Sometimes you simply have to run through the 6 by yourself. But a solo festival experience can be a great time if you stay smart, be friendly, and make the most of it.
Anything you think I’ve missed? Have you had a solo festival experience? Drop your two cents in the comment section…
Photos courtesy of Joe Chea / LoveBrownSugar.com / Pinterest