By Anna Tabet |

To some, the first weekend of October is just like any other. But for Texas music lovers, it marks the beginning of the two weekend long music festival, Austin City Limits. While known for it’s fun and lively atmosphere that attracts festival fanatics, just like any other music festival, there are multiple challenges that can surface from attending an event of that size. To those of you who need guidance through the jungle that is ACL, I’ve accumulated 10 tips to help you live your festival fantasy without fear of having a less than stellar weekend.

  1. Hydrate or Die-drate: As much as I hate to admit this, that Redbubble sticker quote really rings true at festivals. There tends to be very little areas for people to escape the heat during these events making it imperative that you constantly drink water in order to fend off dehydration. Whether it be from your cutely-stickered hydro flask or your functional CamelBak, make sure you always have something with you that will keep you hydrated. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the nearest refill location as you move throughout the venue.
  2. Bathe in Sunscreen: Even if you feel as though you have coated your body in an extensive layer of sunscreen, it will be no match to the intensity of the sun. As someone who is blessed with the gift of not burning easily, even my cockiness didn’t stop me from looking like I could be served at Red Lobster by the end of the weekend. So, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above, before getting on the grounds of the festival. And bring a bottle with you to reapply every hour or so.
  3. Memorize your group’s location: Music festivals are consistently crowded. It can be very easy to get lost in a crowd or forget how to get back to your group of friends. Make sure, before you separate from your group, to memorize a landmark, booth, or flag that will help guide you back to where your friends are. Also, always travel with a buddy so that you have an extra pair of eyes if you were to get separated in the flood of fans running to see Cardi B.  
  4. Don’t drink out of strangers’ bottles: While this may seem like a no-brainer, you don’t know what you’d be willing to do to survive after standing in a crowd for hours to see your favorite act with no water and in the direct sunlight. Although drinking out of a stranger’s bottle or CamelBak may seem like a harmless, quick and easy fix to your current state, you may end up with more problems than you had anticipated. Even though he may seem like a nice guy, the truth is you’ll never know what drink is actually in his bottle, and worst of all, you have no clue where his mouth has been. So save yourself a case of the flu and invest in a hand-dandy reusable water bottle. 
  5. Check all your parking options: If you’re reading this before going to a music festival, I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you just how expensive tickets for these weekend long events can be. Since you splurged on the ticket, the best option is trying to save the most you can when it comes to parking. Obviously the easiest course of action would be to have someone drop you off and avoid the parking fee entirely, but that’s not always feasible. In that case, check all the surrounding lots near the venue to ensure you know the cheapest and most efficient way to park near the event. 
  6. Plan out which artists you’re going to see: The larger the group of friends you’re going with, the more difficult it is to plan out which artists you’re going to see at what times. That being said, you should still plan out which artists are your top five must-sees everyday, to ensure that you have at least one friend joining you at every show. The last thing you’d want to happen is your favorite artist coming on in a few minutes, but all of your friends want to see Lil Uzi Vert for the fifth time instead. 
  7. Leave time for meals: At times you can get so swept up in jumping from one stage to another, watching artists after artist, that you forget to block out times for actual meals. I know I’ve emphasized enough the importance of being hydrated, but there’s not much your body can do without the energy that food provides it. So take time between concerts to browse the long list of yummy vendors that are there to keep you fed and happy. 
  8. SIT DOWN: I know part of the magic of concerts is standing and dancing around to the music of your favorite artist, but you can’t stand for 12 hours without your body giving out at some point. There’s no shame in taking a break to sit on the grass and people watch for a few minutes. It’ll give you a brief break and you’ll probably see some people that you would never encounter outside of that festival setting.
  9. Put your phone down: We all have that one friend that posts a clip from every song that the artist performed. Don’t be that friend. You spent a lot of money to see these artists live. Take in the moment instead of watching it through your phone screen.
  10. Talk to people around you: In most instances, the people you’re around during these festivals you have and never will see again. But that’s the beauty of music festivals. Everyone came together to appreciate and enjoy the art of music. So don’t be afraid to talk to people in the crowd around you because you’ll probably get pretty closely acquainted after you’re shoved into them because a guy double your size thinks the world is his mosh pit.