By Amanda Cosenza
This past year I did something that most young single women would never dream of doing: I went to a music festival alone. Without knowing a single soul attending, I went to Austin City Limits by myself. While most would shy away from this for safety reasons or fear of loneliness, it was actually one of the best experiences I’ve had at a music festival. I got to see every music act I wanted to see because I didn’t have any friends to coordinate with, I stayed at an awesome house with other attendees, and I learned how to dance alone (or find new friends to dance with). When done right, attending a music festival alone can be an eye-opening and exciting experience. Here are 10 things you should know about going to a festival alone:
- It’s not that scary! Seriously, as long as you follow basic personal safety precautions, like not walking alone down an alley at night or get too intoxicated, then you will have a great and safe time.
- Pack extra gum. A great way to make friends is by helping out others. So pack some extra gum and offer it to those around you as a conversation starter!
- Find those with totems. At many festivals, you will see a sign “If you’re lost come dance with us”. While you may not be lost, this is an indication that this group is open to new friends! Find them and dance the night away.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Whether it’s asking to sit at someone’s table or in the shade under their umbrella, do not hesitate! Most people are happy to share their space and it’s a great way to make new friends while also relaxing.
- Stay with others. Most people don’t realize that a lot of major American cities have hostels very similar to those popular in Europe. In Austin, I stayed in an Airbnb that operated much like a hostel. The host had normal travelers as well as those attending the festivals. It gave me an opportunity to make instant connections and made coming home at the end of the day much less lonely. On Sunday night we even shared a family-style dinner!
- Hydrate! This is a given at any festival. Dancing around in the sun is exhausting and sometimes you have so much fun you forget to take care of yourself. Especially since you will not have your friends there to remind you to take a break, make sure you are being proactive in your own self-care.
- Limit your alcohol. Festivals are a great time to let loose and crack open a couple cold ones (if you are of the drinking age) but alcohol can also impair your judgment. While you should always drink responsibly, especially in the absence of a squad mom you should watch your intake.
- Compliment people. Does someone have a cool outfit? Awesome shuffling skills? Tell them! The best way to connect with people is to make them feel good. So tell them how cool their pink hair looks, how awesome they’re butterfly wings are, or how insane their running man is!
- Sit down and enjoy. If you’re like me, then you usually have a whole squad running from set to set. Take advantage of this time alone to sit and enjoy the music.
- Research! Go in early and listen to some of the opening acts. Do some research before and listen to someone new. Be proactive about your festival experience.
Now it’s time for you to get out there and try a music festival on your own. It’s not that scary, and who knows it could turn out to be you favorite festival experience. Don’t forget to pack your Rave Doctor and your dancing shoes!