MAGAZINE

9 Tips for a Stress-Free Festival Entrance

by The Festival Lawyer | @FestivalLawyer Thu August 10, 2017 | 12:15 PM

Honestly, I haven’t been hassled a lot getting through festival entrance searches. It could be because I’m often wearing a Festival Lawyer T-Shirt, or it could be that security looks at me and says “At his age, if he is carrying anything he probably knows how to handle it.”

But I’ve had a lot of people write to me and tell me they have been hassled. Here are nine quick tips to help you navigate an entrance search like a festival pro.

1. Check out the Festival’s Prohibited Items list

Certain types of items (anything with glass for example) will always be prohibited at a festival. If you have an item you aren’t sure about, check the festival’s list of prohibited items ahead of time on the festival's website. Clarifying with an email to the festival or checking with others on social media can help you avoid headaches later.

2. Package prescription medication appropriately

Medication should be in the original bottle and the name on the prescription bottle should match your photo ID. If you have something you know will raise eyebrows, consider getting a letter from your primary care physician as well.

3. Pick the right line

I know this doesn’t work at supermarkets but it really does seem to make a difference at festivals. Before getting into a line, take a second to watch what security is doing. Look for a line with security guards who are smiling and high-fiving people. Avoid lines that appear to be stalled or in which everyone seems annoyed.

4. Act like this isn’t your first rodeo

Do what you can to keep the line moving. Be attentive. Have your ID out and ready, purse open, pockets empty, etc. Maybe skip the “Hey buddy, this is the most someone has touched me all week” joke they’ve heard a million times. Most importantly, listen to and follow instructions from security.

5. Be polite to the staff

Try to show deference to the security staff and say things like, “How are you doing today, sir?” The security guard will subconsciously make a split second decision about you. Present yourself in the best manner possible. Be friendly. SMILE. I always take off my sunglasses, make eye contact and smile at the person about to search me.

6. Object to invasive searches

If security touches you inappropriately, probably the most important thing you can do is to calmly but immediately object and be clear on why you are objecting. For example, “This search is inappropriate, I am asking for your manager to be called.”

7. Ask to be ejected if things get weird

Remember, if things are really bad in the case of an invasive search, you always have the right to withdraw your consent. “I am withdrawing my consent to any search. I am asking that I be ejected and my ticket price refunded.”

8. Alert management of inappropriate behavior 

Stay calm. Make note of the individuals involved in any invasive search and complain directly to management after the fact. Give specific details of what happened.

9. Complain to the festival organizers and if that doesn't work blow up the issue on social media

If a festival ignores your complaint, consider taking your case to social media. Gather other persons who had a similar bad experience and have them add their voice to yours. In the event of questionable, invasive searches, you can get social media trending the hashtag #gropefest2017 – the fest is sure to sit up and take notice.

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