One of the best parts about summer is the abundance of outdoor music concerts and festivals. From Coachella to Sasquatch to the TD Jazz Fest running in Toronto this upcoming week, there’s so much to look forward to and so much to anticipate for next summer.
Having been incredibly ill-prepared to go to the Mumford & Sons concert earlier this week in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I’ve made a small tip sheet for all you outdoorsy music fans.
- Don’t forget your tickets & your map there and back- Quite possibly the most important things not to forget. Whether that means sticking it in your wallet or purse, just keep it in a place where you just can’t forget it. Other things not to forget: a printer, printer ink and paper. Apparently printing tickets on lined paper is acceptable.
- Don’t arrive right as the gates open- As much as I loved getting as close as I could to the stage when I went to Shania Twain last summer in Charlottetown, P.E.I., I much preferred sitting further back and Mumford & Sons. Not only were there still nearby parking spots open (for free, I might add), there was still plenty of time to check out the outdoor food and drink vendors before deciding on a spot to listen to the opening act- The Maccabees. During the concert itself, I had enough space to dance around much more than the usual up-and-down jump-style dance found exclusively in mosh pits.
- Slap on some sunscreen (and a hat, if it’s the middle of the day)- If I were to personify my relationship with the sun, the sun would be the leader of a mean clique called the Rays who would go around yelling “Burn!” and I would be the victim until I joined the coolest club on the playground – the SPF50 club. (Definitely put on my thinking cap for that one… Which also protected me from the sun and his posse.)
- Grab a blanket to sit on- Preferably a hot pink shaggy one that your friend’s mom was planning on donating to Good Will. Not only will you be the envy of your neighbours, it’s easy to spot on your way back from the washroom or grabbing some food or drinks. Plus it doubles as an actual blanket for when it cools off at night or an imaginary magic carpet ride for when you get bored waiting for your friend to come back an hour after going to grab poutine for dinner.
- Eat before & bring a water bottle- Avoid long food truck and beverage lines by eating before you leave, bringing an empty water bottle to fill up at the venue and packing some snacks to leave in the car for after the concert. And tip for those who want to grab some drinks at the venue – start with some pre-drinks before you head over, as alcoholic beverages are notoriously overpriced at these events. Just please be sure to have a designated driver or take public transit/a taxi home afterwards.
- Take photos & videos, but don’t forget to enjoy the experience- As much as I love to hear my favourite, inspirational lyrics being sung to me live, it’s really not as satisfying playing it back or looking at the photo on my phone or camera. The show is over. I can’t feel the vibrations of the music run through me or hear the thousands of people scream and dance to the lyrics all around me through the tiny speakers on such tiny devices. So take your photos and videos during your favourite songs and then put your device away and enjoy the experience.
- Sing along and save the chit-chat for later- You can always talk to your friends later about how Jonathan is going to propose to Kate during their trip to Vermont next month after the concert. Enjoy the music and sing along instead!
- Always demand an encore- Because what’s the harm in hearing your favourite band(s) play all your favourite songs again?
Do you have any more tips for outdoor music concerts or festivals? Share it with everyone at The Full-Time Tourist in the comment section below or on Twitter (@thefftourist)!
Extra special thank you for my lovely friend Sarah for her selfie skills and for letting me use some of her photos for this post!