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5 Simple Ways to Improve the Average Festival Experience

Free ice would be nice too. Just saying.
Free ice would be nice too. Just saying.
Photo by Marc Brubaker

Music festivals are a bit of a no-brainer for live music fans. Getting to see a ton of bands for a mostly reasonable price? What's not to love?

Well, a few things, if we're being honest.

Don't get me wrong, plenty of little things that have happened over the last few years have made the festival experience better. Vendors taking credit cards, more food options, and VIP ticketing levels are all things I appreciate.

There are certain things promoters can't control -- the weather, how late the shows can go on, jerks in the crowd -- but there are little things they can do to make it better for everyone. Here are five suggestions for future festival promoters looking to take their show to the next level.

Lollapalooza with a good example of social media usage.
Lollapalooza with a good example of social media usage.

5. Make the Most of Social Media

Most fests are really good at pimping their show on Facebook and Twitter. In the lead-up to the event, followers are blasted with countless countdowns and retweets of people excited to head to the show. Then the festival actually starts and many of these accounts go dead or just switch over to posting Instagram photos.

It would be great if they'd be more active with actual information. Ever been at a show where a band was running late? Wouldn't it be great if someone let you know what was up so you could adjust your plans accordingly? That's one of many different ways fests could use social media in an active way.

Litterbugs just waiting to happen.
Litterbugs just waiting to happen.
Photo by Cory Garcia

4. More Waste Disposal Options

While I don't live the greenest life, I try and do my part to look out for the Earth. One of the more disappointing things about a lot of fests is the amount of litter that covers the grounds. While it's great that more fests are putting down the money to hire people to make an active effort to collect trash throughout the day, as opposed to waiting until after the show is over, simply adding a few more trash cans and recycling bins wouldn't hurt.

I'm not foolish enough to believe that their presence would make people less lazy, but on the whole I think it would reduce at least a little bit of the waste on the ground. As a bonus, cleaner grounds equal more places to sit.

 

3. Map It Out

Wherever there's a show with more than two stages, there is someone trying to figure out which stage is which. Easy-to-read signage helps for sure, but sometimes that isn't enough.

Now, some will argue that if you're not smart enough to know where the stages are based on the signs, having a map isn't going to help things, but I would disagree. Maps in general are awesome, and sometimes being able to visualize something makes all the difference. Print up some copies and sell them at $2 a pop; you'll get some takers.

5 Simple Ways to Improve the Average Festival Experience

2. Lock It Up

Buying merch at a show always provides the following conundrum: Do you buy what you want early and deal with the hassle of carrying it around the rest of the show, or do you buy near the end of the show and risk having what you want to buy sell out?

But there's another way, and whether you call it lockers or bag check, it could be a real boon. Whether it's having a place to store a jacket or not having to worry about carrying around the $60 worth of limited-edition vinyl you picked up, having the option to store it somewhere safe is something I think most people would appreciate.

 

Nights are great till you have to go to the bathroom.
Nights are great till you have to go to the bathroom.
Photo by Marc Brubaker

1. Shine a Light In a Dark Place

Using a portapotty is awkward enough during the day when you can see where you're going; I don't know a single person that looks forward to doing their business in one. But no matter how lame they are to use during the day, they're so much worse once it gets dark outside and even darker on the inside.

So for real, how expensive is it to get some small LED lights installed in these things? Nothing fancy, just enough light to make sure no one is stepping in or sitting on anything gross. We figured out a way to wash our hands at these things, right? Then let's do what we can so that our hands are the only things we have to worry about cleaning up.



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