Top Ten Festival Tips

by Judi McWilliams

Over the years Gary and I have discovered a number of festival tips. Many of these have been learned through the “School of Hard Knocks”! Although I have mentioned a number of these in various articles, I thought I would present them again in this “Top Ten” list.

1. CHECK THE FESTIVAL’S WEBSITE – Most festivals and events now maintain a website. If you are planning on visiting a festival or event, this is the best place to start. On the festival’s website you should be able to find out important information such as festival dates and times, exact location, costs and activities.
2. PRE-PLAN YOUR ROUTE – Nothing can be more frustrating then getting held up on the highway because of a traffic jam! Having an alternative route plan can help eliminate or minimize “traffic frustration”. The “Google Map” is the festival visitors’ best friend. Judi and I use it all the time. By using their “Get Directions” (Link to Get Directions) feature, you can find and print plenty of alternative routes. And, who knows, the alternative route will likely be a lot more adventuresome and fun then the direct route! Speaking of routes, planning your route through a festival/event can also be very helpful. Try walking the festival site in the opposite direction of everyone else. You may find that there are less crowds at interesting activities, washrooms and vendor booths.

3. DEVELOP A CHECKLIST – Having a festival/event checklist can make visiting an event more enjoyable, especially if the visit includes children! Forgetting something important can be quite bothersome, if not downright annoying! No-one likes to have to turn back the retrieve an important item! Planning what you need, in advance, cuts down the chance of this happening. Once you have created your initial list, you can use it for all the festivals and events you plan to visit!
4. BRING A FRIEND – If you enjoy visiting festivals and events as much as Judi and I do, you’ll likely want to share the experience with your family and friends! When you are deciding what festival or event you plan to visit, ask around to see who else would like to go with you. If not your family or friends, consider asking a “senior” to go with you. “Spread the festival joy and fun!
5. PACK A PICNIC LUNCH – Not all festivals and events have a wide selection of nutritious food. If you are concerned about this, pack a picnic lunch. This way you can choose food that is appealing to the whole family and you’ll likely save a little money in the process! As I keeps reminding Gary, “Don’t let me forget the sanitary wipes to clean our hands!

6. WATER – It is very important to bring water with you. Not all events have water available. This is particularly important in the hot summer months! Without enough water in your system, you can easily become dehydrated quickly! Using a refillable water bottle is best, especially for the environment! A frozen washcloth will also help with the summer heat. Simply freeze a wet cloth the night before and then put it into a plastic page and pack with your picnic lunch.
7. TAKE A PICTURE OR FIVE – Capturing the memories of a great event is so easy and inexpensive these days because of digital cameras! You no longer have to worry about wasting “film”! A word of caution, though, make sure you have enough memory space on your “Memory Card” and that you have an extra set of batteries.

8. CLOTHING – Always plan your clothing for the event you are visiting! This goes for both clothing and footwear. If it’s a summer event, remember to bring a hat and sun block. If it’s the winter, “layer” your clothing so that you can “strip” down or up depending on how hot or cold you feel! As for footwear, make sure you wear your most comfortable walking shoes or boots.
9. BRING CASH – Many festivals and events only accept cash for their admittance fee. The same goes for food booths amusement rides and parking. Make sure you bring enough cash to cover all contingencies! Some festivals and events do offer ATM machines, but most don’t.
10. WASHROOMS – If you are like some of us (Gary), knowing the location of event washrooms is a must! Some events mark the location of their washrooms on their program and that’s great! However, you can’t always count on that convenience, so make sure you ask festival staff where they are located. If that’s not possible you might want to reconnoiter the grounds while you still can!