Photography by Adam Gasson
Festival Tips is a new, quick-hitting, weekly feature in which Consequence of Sound contributing writer and festival veteran Jared Lindzon offers up a new piece of advice that just might help you survive the grueling summer festival season. Good luck and Godspeed!
There are indisputably worse places to lose your friends than in a large crowd of music-loving peers, but for most festival attendees, sticking with your crew is significantly more desirable. With minimal cell phone service and plenty of ground to cover, however, getting lost is an unfortunate norm of the experience, but it doesn’t have to be. By following a few simple steps you can ensure that your festy-besties remain by your side at all times.
The easiest way to spot your friends in a large crowd is by standing out in a way that would be easy to identify from a distance. Holding a unique flag, banner, sign, water weenie, or floatation device can act as a lighthouse in a sea of people. Even wearing a distinct and colorful hat will make reuniting that much simpler.
Make a Go-To Vantage Point
Getting close enough to spot your banner-waving friends, however, requires a general sense of their whereabouts, which is why large groups should try to stick to certain areas of the crowd. For example, if you make a verbal agreement with your friends to always stick to the right of the sound technician tent, or to the left of the beer tent, then the task of finding them becomes significantly less daunting.
Triangulate Your Position
Say you’re hanging with your friends at the start of a show when suddenly nature comes calling, and it’s time to hit the porta-potties. Your friends have no desire to miss a single beat of the artist onstage, but you’ve only got 20 minutes before nature leaves a voicemail. There’s a simple trick that doesn’t require dragging your friends away from one of their favorite artists; it just requires three points of reference.
While standing with your friends in the crowd, take note of what’s directly in front of you, as specifically as you can; maybe it’s the third amplifier from the right, maybe it’s the second tree beside the stage, maybe it’s the 17th fence post from the end. Now, do the exact same thing with whatever is to your left and to your right.
Whatever your points of reference are, make sure they are permanent. After all, there’s no use in knowing you’re to the right of the hippie chick on some dude’s shoulders when you return 20 minutes later to find his shoulders need a rest.
Remember Your Reference Points
Should your memory skills be a little hazy at that moment, as can often happen at a festival, consider taking pictures of your three points of reference, or even a quick video.
Before leaving for the john, instruct your friends not to wander anywhere. After relieving yourself, you should be able to follow those points like a breadcrumb trail right back to your starting position.
Tune in next week for another festival tip.