In honor of the lineup for the 2017 Firefly Music Festival dropping tomorrow, I felt it was appropriate to write a post about my experience going to this specific festival in 2015.
This poster. I have a copy plastered on the wall in my apartment, and every time I look at it I get hit with oodles of great memories from that fateful weekend two years ago. First, let me start off by saying that if you ever have the chance to go to a festival, DO IT. Do it with no questions asked, don’t worry about the money or the exhaustion you will encounter or the crowds, just buy those tickets and get excited for one of the best experiences you can have (in my opinion). I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to format this post, but I have come up with a list of what I would assume to be FAQs regarding festivals, so I think that’s going to be the game plan. Oh and of course I will throw in a few pictures from my festival experience, along with a few stories you have to hear to believe.
How much do festivals usually cost?
So this varies between the different festivals, but my 4-day pass to Firefly ended up being ~$350 (I don’t remember the exact amount, but for reference the 2017 passes are starting at $290). The reason I paid more is that the tickets for Firefly are sold in tiers. Keep this in mind, the first round of tickets went on sale for me at a specific time in the day, so if you track the festival’s website I’m sure you can find when that time is. What I failed to predict, though, was my computer totally crashing as I tried to buy my ticket. I think the issue was the amount of people attempting to do the same thing as me, and the website crashing because of the insane amount of traffic it was receiving. So, once I finally sorted my computer out again, the lowest tier tickets (under $300) had sold out. I was super bummed, only to see my Firefly group message blowing up about how the same exact thing happened to pretty much all of my friends that were going. So if this happens, it’s not the end of the world! Another thing to expect are *fees* that go along with your ticket. Who even knows what they are for, but they can be anywhere from $20-$40, so expect that to add on to your total at checkout.
How much should I budget for things once I am actually there?
There are a handful of things that you will need to be prepared to buy before entering the festival grounds. Food, alcohol, LOTS of water, ect. You will also need a camping pass ($170 for six people and one car), and a car pass ($40) if you expect to have more than one car. I tried to be good about eating at our campsite since the food is insanely overpriced, but I must say I don’t regret the $10 pulled pork mac and cheese I bought one day. They have the most insane kinds of food at festivals, even if you don’t buy any I still think it’s fun to explore and see all the options.
What are the necessities to bring with you to the actual stage site?
For Firefly, the campsites are about a 25 minute walk from the actual venue, so you have to pack a small bag each day when you are ready to go to the actual festival. They don’t let you bring outside food/beverage in, but there are totally ways to sneak in alcohol if that’s what you’re into (think empty sunscreen bottle filled with vodka). You will need your wristband, to be worn at all times, ID, cash/credit card, sunscreen, sunglasses, and your cell phone. I got burned so badly one day from forgetting sunscreen that I had to sit in complete shade the next day, quite literally feeling my skin peel off. So listen to that nagging voice inside your head (aka your mother) and wear your sunscreen!
If there was something you would do differently next time, what would it be?
Ah, if only I could have asked my future post-festival self this question before I went to Firefly. Yes, there are definitely a few major pointers I can give as far as things to bring, and general first-hand-experience knowledge for what I would have done differently. First off, I would have brought a pair of rain boots as my main source of footwear, or really any waterproof shoes for that matter. I made the mistake of bringing only flip-flops, and vans. As shown in the picture below, this didn’t work out too well.
Why yes, those mud covered little feet belong to me!
Regardless of the weather: festivals will always be muddy. There is no logical explanation as to why this is, but it’s a fact, and you should prepare for it in advance. It also didn’t help that there was a quasi-monsoon while we were there, but that’s a whole other story(peep this news article)…anyway back to tips!
I would also stock up on a bunch of those big multiple-gallon containers of water. While there are water stations available, I sincerely question their sanitation levels, so just save yourself the concern and stick to your own water. Plus, you will be using this water to “shower” with, so buy a lot more than you think you need. You will use it all, I promise.
One last thing I would recommend having is a large tarp with grommets in it, and some bungee cords. We brought a tarp, but failed to have the cords, so when it was pouring rain and the sunroof of my car was stuck open, we were forced to physically hold the tarp over it throughout the night. Not exactly fun but a great story to be told after the fact! Speaking of my sunroof being stuck open, maybe don’t let your friends try to charge their phones using your car because your battery WILL die and you WILL be very sad. Also make friends with your awesome neighbors so that they can jump-start your car for you on the last day 🙂
Phew, sorry for the lengthy answers! To wrap up this post in a more visual style, here are a few pictures from 2015 (most taken on a disposable camera because we were so cool like that). I hope you enjoy!
Had to caption this: my friend T and the stray kitten we found at our campsite. We named her Jude because we saw Sir Paul McCartney perform, and fed her water out of a frisbee.
I may write a few follow-up posts about my own personal experience, some tips while you are actually at the festival, and the best gear to bring to have a seamless stay on the campsites. Until next time!