Original open uri20150609 17389 1ssyd7h?1433863002?ixlib=rails 0.3

The AFAR Summer Music Festival Survival Guide

The summer music festival season has officially reached its stride. How do you plot out the perfect strategy for days of dancing, partying, and enjoying act after act of incredible music? Jon Mayers of Superfly productions, the brains behind such awesome festivals as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, shares his tips and tricks.

1. You’ve Gotta Rock Some Flair

Headband, wristband set, or full-on costume, you need something that helps express your personality. Part of the whole summer music festival experience is meeting people but having some kind of signature thing. I had my dentist make me a set of gold fronts and I wear them to shows. It’s ridiculous and catches people off guard but I play it straight. It’s my signature. Urban Outfitters, thrift stores near the festival, and Walmart are good spots to shop.”

Outside Lands 2014 summer music festival

2. Don’t Get Defeated by the Sun

“You need to have a cool hat because your head will burn in the sun. I have a straw hat I always wear. The brim is key. You also need to stay hydrated. That is so important. At Burning Man I wear a CamelBak for easy water access. Reapplying sunblock throughout the day is a no-brainer, too. Zinc can even be part of your signature look.”

Outside Lands 2014 summer music festival

3. Do Your Music Festival Homework

“Two hours of research can make the difference between a miserable or great experience. If you’re going to a festival like Bonnaroo or Burning Man, you want to be prepared. Make a list, organize your stuff, and put in the extra effort to make sure you’ve got a solid campsite that people are going to envy. You want to be comfortable and prepared for all weather. By doing some research on the event itself—location, weather— you can come up with your basic packing list. Some things that should definitely be on that list include rain boots, sunscreen, refillable water bottle, portable cell phone charger, and toilet paper.”

4. Get Yourself a Summer Festival Fannypack

“I mean, is there a more obvious tip? Sure, people mock the fannypack, but you’ve got to own it. Have all your stuff on you in one place so your personality can shine and your hands can be free.”

Outside Lands 2014 summer music festival

5. Don’t Be Attached at the Hip

“People become so stressed about being at a certain stage at a certain time to meet their friends. I like to float around and not be on a schedule. When you jump around you see a lot more and you aren’t worried about being on time. This allows for a sense of discovery. A lot of people go to summer festivals in a group. Go off on your own. People spend so much time trying to find their friends. Instead, put that energy toward discovering a cool band or see some cool art or meet someone new.”

All photos courtesy of Outside Lands SF

Want to know more about summer music festivals, or just festivals in general? Check out the AFAR guide to 32 Festivals Worth Traveling For. And if you do find yourself in San Francisco for Outside Lands, we’ve got your extra-curricular activities covered.