A Cheat Sheet to Festivaling Far Away from Home

Article by: Jonathan Akbari

Mon February 29, 2016 | 00:00 AM

Festival season sparkles with events all over the place, in many different cultures. That means traveling to faraway destinations – whether across the U.S. or across the globe – in search of fresh experiences is quickly becoming the norm. We've already covered the many psychological benefits to festivaling abroad, but in order to reap those benefits you'll need a quick cheat sheet to get yourself out the door (especially if you're without your regular festival squad). A little bit of planning can go a long way to leading you on an unexpected adventure; here are eight tips that will help.

Get Lost

Oregon Country Fair 2014 Dennis Wiancko 2

Photo by: Dennis Wiancko

It’s said that getting lost isn't always a waste of time. Not every step of your journey needs to be planned out – sometimes spontaneity can lead you to a new encounter, or an amazing interaction. A set course allows little room for flexibility or surprise. Getting lost on festival grounds is an easy way to discover new parts of yourself you didn't know existed.

Go with the Flow

Woogie Weekend 2015 Daniel Zetterstrom   28

Take some time to slow down, enjoy, and learn from whatever comes your way; by letting go just a little, chances are you'll fall into more meaningful experiences rather than clinging to where you have to be or who you have to see.

Ask Questions

Lockn Festival 2015 Matt Urban 02

Photo by: Matt Urban

Asking questions in a far away land is an easy conversation starter. Fellow festival-goers are always delighted to help a traveler and share their insider tips. When you’re lost and you ask someone for help, you've not only created the opportunity to start a conversation with a new friend, you’ve also gained self confidence and learned about the festival space on a deeper level.

Pack Light

Northern Nights Music Festival 2015 Christine Ciarcia Campsite

When traveling via bus and plane to an out-of-state festival, there is nothing worse than lugging around multiple suitcases, tents and bedding. Try to pack as light as possible. Bring one bag with all of your sleeping and camping supplies and one bag with all your clothes and festival essentials to reduce the amount of checked luggage. You'll pay less money checking luggage on planes and lighten your mental and physical load. If you need to rent camping gear nearer to the festival, try checking OutdoorsGeek or the nearest REI.

Join the Community

Bestival 2015 Victor Frankowski   02

Take time to interact in the community. After all, festivaling abroad is an opportunity to grow your tribe in far away places. Not only will your network expand, but joining a vibrant new community unlocks fresh experiences that will instantly immerse you in local culture. You'll also have the chance to share your own hometown traditions with your newfound festie fam.

Compliment People

Lightning In A Bottle 2015 Conner Coughenour   75

The best way to make new friends in a foreign place is to complement people. Sharing a kind word or paying attention to someone’s fabulous attire makes fellow festival goers feel acknowledged and loved. A thoughtful remark can go a long way in opening doors and cultivating new relationships. Bringing a smile to someone's face is a sure way to get invited into the community and make a great first impression.

Try Local Food

1 Wonderfruit 2015

From food trucks to vendors and local microbrews. New flavors and indigenous ingredients are sure to excite your taste buds. New cuisines or a fresh take on old favorites are some of the best parts of traveling and festing abroad. Unique regional tastes are sure to delight your senses, having the chance to try locally sourced ingredients and recipes allows your pallet to grow and experience something that you wouldn’t normally have access to at local events.

Try New Activities

Arise Festival 2015 Juliana Bernstein   29

More and more, festivals boast full lineups of learning opportunities, with different classes ranging from yoga to dance to sound healing, and speeches and workshops galore. Often taught by famous regional or international instructors who incorporate their individual styles and experiences into their teachings. Trying out workshops can yield surprising results that will stick with you on your festival journey abroad.

Check Out At Least One New Act

Exit Festival 2014 Exit Festival Deep Dish

Photo by: EXIT Festival

Take the time to study the lineup in order to find artists you haven’t seen or heard of. Each stage at every festival always has a unique vibe and theme, and finding new regional talent is a great way to learn about new cultures and bring fresh sounds back to color your daily life.