You know spring has sprung when talk is swirling about upcoming music festivals. With Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Cali kicking off last weekend, my social media accounts are filled with nothing but pictures of people (mostly celebrities) decked out in fringe, flower crowns and Elton John inspired sunglasses. While general admission tickets to Coachella are a whopping $375 (without considering airfare, transportation or hotel stay), you can experience festival fun right here in the Queen City for as little as $30. Now that’s a steal!
This past weekend I went to Creative Loafing’s first ever Moo and Brew Fest with my editor. That’s right, a festival celebrating craft beer and burgers. Does it get much better than unlimited beer tastings and burger sliders for drunken munchies? I didn’t think so. General admission tickets were $45.
Most festivals are characterized by live entertainment, lots of people and, of course, plenty of drinking. Don’t be fooled though; this isn’t your ordinary cup of tea — or pint of beer in this case. Day drinking is a huge challenge, especially when you’re outside in the sun. In order to achieve MVP status — read, actually make it the entire festival — there are certain things you need to keep in mind.
Here are some essentials for surviving any festival.
Cash: First things first — make sure you stop by the bank and grab some cash. There are plenty of vendors and swag to be purchased at festivals. While some places took cards, I used my cash to buy a neon Moo and Brew Fest tank and some Black and Bleu Blood pimiento cheese from Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale. Yum.
Lots of Food: You always want to make sure you have plenty of snacks to keep the effects of alcohol at bay. If you were smart enough to get a VIP ticket to Moo and Brew, you were given tickets to try three burger sliders from some of the best restaurants in the area. (Congrats to Bang Bang Burgers for winning the Best Burger Contest!) Or maybe you had the right idea and snagged a sweet — well, mainly salty — pretzel necklace. That’s literally a piece of yarn that has been run through a line of crunchy pretzels. Definitely a conversation starter and the perfect snacking accessory.
Hydration: You get that, right?
Appropriate Clothing: When you’re planning on being out in the sun all day for a festival, you have to make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Besides trying to incorporate the wildly popular bohemian outfit, the main takeaway here is to plan for the hot weather. The less clothing, the better. A cute tank and shorts works, or if you’re so bold, no top at all and a pair of really short American flag running shorts with side splits, like one Moo and Brew festivalgoer we saw. Also, what a huge difference a hat would have made. But most importantly, and the topic of many of our festival-wear conversations, comfortable shoes! Even I wasn’t wearing the right kind of kicks, a mid-calf boot with a half inch heel. But the funniest were the girls wearing wedges. Even if the festival had taken place on asphalt, heels at an all-day event are never a good idea. I can’t tell you how many ankles I saw turn.
Selfie Stick: Obviously the only way to really capture a memory, especially when you’re planning on remembering very little the next day, is to take pictures. While I haven’t gotten on the bandwagon, it appears the selfie stick is a must-have.
If you keep these few basics in mind, you will definitely be equipped to survive a festival. But it’s on you to monitor your own drinking.
April 17-19: Tuck Fest (U.S. National Whitewater Center)
April 19: Beer Me Brew Fest (South End)
May 1-2: Carolina Rebellion (Concord/Charlotte)
May 8-9: NC Brewers and Music Festival (Huntersville)
June 19-20: Uptown Charlotte Jazz Fest (Uptown Charlotte)
July 18: Barnstock (Huntersville)