PCSkiGal: Rocking The Outdoors At Summer Music Festivals
The time draws near. The sun radiates, the crowd swells and sounds move outdoors. The summer concert season is nigh. If you've never planned, geared up and marched onto a field like an army to battle, you have yet to experience the beast known as the Outdoor Music Festival.
Numerous ski resorts all across North America and Europe host these events, some on a big scale, others more modest. It’s a living, breathing collective that, unless you're prepared to join, might leave you with the “ickies” for the rest of your life. Porta-potties, sweaty, sun-pinked bodies, muddy clothes, booze and bong smells with every turn.
Sounds unpleasant, but a weekend outdoor music festival where you can catch your favorite artist live, you're surprised by unknown acts, and you see so much music for relatively little cost, could take the top place on your “most-amazing-time-of-your-life” list.
Decide well in advance whether you'll book a hotel or crash at a campground. Hotels are more civilized, but if you can handle “showering” with baby wipes and neighbors practically on top of you, you'll make more lasting friendships and memories under a tent. Start saving up. The green bleeding doesn't end with the tickets, lodging, and travel. Expect to pay dearly for carnie food and domestic brews.
For venues that don't allow outside food, tape snacks to your pant legs or tuck them strategically in your pack or jacket; save your money for bigger meals. Make sure you bring cash. Festival ATM fees are ridiculous and you can’t count on vendors taking plastic.
Fests have water stations. Bring refillable jugs or hydration bladders so you spend your money on beer instead of water bottles. Remember to drink one glass of water for every beer if you plan to last all day in the sun.
No matter how great the music is, there will come a time when your ears are done. Pop in plugs for peace as well as protection. If you have little kids or babies, go bigger. Pack a pair of gun earmuffs. Seriously. Repeated exposure to 85+ decibels causes hearing loss.
As for the rest of your wardrobe, think layers. It's cool in the morning, sweltering by noon, cool again at dusk, then you work up a sweat dancing at night among a crowd that just seemed to double with the glow of the moon.
Wear technical T-shirts like something from Sports Science (wicks better and dries faster than cotton), cargo shorts, durable shoes, hat, tons of sunscreen.
It never hurts to pack a costume and waterg un either. Just don't bring anything you'll cry over when it gets dirty, lost, broken or stolen. Lastly, pack cough drops. Throats don't appreciate screaming, cheering, singing your head off and yelling over music for four days.
Here are some suggestions for accessories, wardrobes:
Chaco Z2 Vibram Unaweep Sandals: Flipflops are for amateurs. Real festivarians do Chacos. No slippage- the Chaco Unaweep toe and heel wraps secure your foot; no cramping- the firm, contoured footbed gives you lasting arch support; no cold- tug on the strap to flatten the toe loop, slip on some thick merino socks and keep your feet warm till the last song. $100.
Kelsyus Backpack Chair w/ UV Canopy: Don’t let those height restrictions keep you from sitting pretty. The lightweight Kelsyus chair has armrests that convert into backpack shoulder straps. There's even a little place behind the pillow to stash snacks or beverages. The Canopy's huge so expect to either sit in the back or use it between sets. $40, Big 5, Costco, Amazon, Target, etc.
Boreal Switchvision Sunglasses:Wear these steezy shades from the lowlight of dawn or dusk to full exposure. Whatever the lighting, pop in the right shade of lens with the patented magnetic interchange system. $115.
Toys: The hours can drag at certain times- especially if you have kids. Bust out the Toss 'n Catch Foambeez or Zartz Throwing Dartz by Zing or Ringstix if you don’t mind staying to the rear to play. If you don't mind carrying the extra gear, a kiddie inflatable pool and squirtguns go a long way. $4-13.
Loki Kids Fuse Hoody: It's all about the layers when you're outside from morning to midnight. Slip on the Loki Fuse with its built-in neck gaiter and mittens so you don't have to worry about collecting kids' gear from lost and found at the end of the fest. Plus, he gets to look like a stealth ninja. $75.
Here’s a fairly complete list of festivals worldwide. Now get out there and fest!