Flying Solo: How to Attend a Festival AloneArticle by: Alexa Smith
Thu October 19, 2017 | 09:45 AM
Ever wonder what it’d be like to venture to a music festival alone? Here’s how to make the most of your experience.
Go For the Right Reasons
Photo by Theo Wargo, Getty Images
When you’re part of a group at a festival, it’s easy to get lost in the party aspect of the event. When going to a festival on your own, you can really take in the music, art, and culture on a personal level. You’re more able to fully immerse yourself in the festival experience...and you're likely to get more out of it as well.
Make Your Own Schedule
Photo by Csudai Sándor
One of the biggest benefits of being alone at a festival is being able to make your own schedule. Being part of a group can limit your experience by having to compromise so that everyone can see their favorite artist. Going solo allows you to set your your dream festival schedule. There won’t be any conflicts or drama, you can see that performer you’ve always wanted to see, take a mid-day nap in your tent, or wander off to check out an art installation. It's your festival.
Photo by Art Gimbel
There are many electronic dance music groups on Facebook, as well as EDM-related accounts on Instagram (like @edmhumor), and they organize meet-ups at popular festivals. This is a great way to meet the people behind the famous groups, as well as like-minded folks from all over. Swap travel stories or for added fun, link up with the group for the rest of the festival. You’re likely to leave with new friends and plans to meet up at future festivals.
Wear a Costume
Photo by Matt Urban
Getting in the festival spirit can be a great way to meet new people. Making new friends will be a breeze with your costume as a conversation starter. A character, theme, kandi, or even a sign could be your gateway to meeting new people from all over the world. Fellow festival-goers will approach you left and right, complimenting you on your attire. You could even end up in pictures on the internet (if that’s your thing), or better yet, your getup could launch a meme.
Get Lost in the Music
Friends don’t always share your taste in music. Enjoying your favorite artist or genre while solo at a festival will open you up to making friends who do appreciate the same music as you. Others might notice how immersed you are in the music, perhaps prompting them to talk to you if they share your enthusiasm. For a true music lover, this could be the highlight of your solo experience—you’ll finally have people to talk to about that singer-songwriter you just can’t get enough of. Hey, you may even spend the rest of the festival together!
Be Open to New Genres
Since you won’t be limited to seeing the bands your co-attendees want to see, this is a great opportunity to check out some new-to-you performers. Seeing someone you’ve never heard of can lead to some of the craziest festival experiences. Be sure to visit the smaller stages, since they attract a unique crowd and tend to be surrounded by their own original subculture.
Experience the Crowd
Photo by Ashley Garmon
Sample different perspectives in the crowd. Without a group holding you back, you can easily travel to various locations around the stages. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making it all the way to the front row (though avoid being pushy while doing so). You’ll get to see a favorite artist up close and be able to fully absorb the experience.
Explore the Festival
Attending in a group can mean trying to pack in everyone’s idea of fun. With plenty of solo time, you’re free to explore the art, music and culture that you might not usually get to. Wander around to exhibits, installations, vendor booths, or even be a witness at a festival wedding. You may stumble across something unique and memorable that’ll end up being the cherry on top of your festival experience. Plus, people-watching is always entertaining.
Going solo at a festival is a big step and an amazing life experience, so don’t forget to snap photos of your journey. Offering to take photos for other people is a great ice-breaker as well, plus you'll have a memento of the moment you met your new festival friends!
This article was originally published in November 2014, and has since been updated.