By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The Dallas Observer cannot guarantee you survive 35 Denton, due to the presence of giant amp stacks, drugs, rattlesnakes and sludge metal fans. It can, however, provide you two scientifically proven lists (disclaimer — lists are in no way scientifically tested) which are guaranteed (guarantee void in Denton, Texas) to improve your chances of survival. Even better, if you follow our advice to the letter, you might actually have a good time.
Some sort of time-keeping device. From smartphone to wristwatch, you are totally going to need some way of figuring out what the hell is going on. Sundials are also useful, should you want to appear particularly cool, although the 4G internet on a sundial has been described as "limited" by one reviewer. Without any of this stuff, you will not only miss any of the bands you want to see on the packed and complex schedule, but you will be unable to tell the difference between night and day.
A map. Necessary given the several venues involved. Again, a smartphone can probably cover this, but the really cool people are going to want a big fold-out map, especially as it can also be used as emergency bedding should you be unable to find your way home. Which, given that you have a map, might be considered "your bad."
Pringles. I have no idea why, and I'm not even being sponsored to say this (yet), but I have taken Pringles to every festival I've ever been to. I am yet to regret my choice, apart from this one time when I tried to save on space and store them in a bag rather than in the tube. It turns out that loosely stored Pringles will not survive a set by The Prodigy. Anyway, said carb-filled snacks are both sustenance and a conversation starter, as long as you're into conversations that begin with "Why the fuck do you have Pringles in your bag?"
Concealed alcohol. In a dance older than time, festival-goers will try to conceal alcohol while those whose job it is to protect the interests of alcohol vendors will search for the alcohol. This dates back to that time Plato totally managed to get some righteous homemade wine into Socrates' Academy in Athens when it famously played host to the Rolling Stones' second ever tour.
Wet wipes. You'll see why on Sunday. Everyone else will smell terrible while you, smelling of synthetic yet pleasing chemicals, will swoop in and have your pick of whichever members of the foul-smelling hordes you are A) attracted to and B) able to bear the stench of.
My secret map of free Wi-Fi spots. Everyone in Denton has an iPhone. That poor phone tower is going to be working harder than an Irish bartender on St. Paddy's. I've got a secret map of free Wi-Fi spots, which you can make a copy of if you just follow me around the city and write down at which locations I laugh evilly.
Get to venues early. You're going to spend a lot of time in lines. But, if you identify which one band you want to see and camp outside the venue, not only will you definitely get to see that one band, but you will literally be there before everyone else and as such will be much cooler than them. While every inch of you might be screaming "WE NEED TO BE FASHIONABLY LATE," this will only result in yet another night spent alone in the square while everyone around you discusses things they saw that you didn't, like that time aliens invaded while you were in the bathroom.
Try not to be a dick all the time. Nominate one day of the festival during which you will try your best not to be the normal boorish imbecile you are every other day. Use this day to listen to what those around you have to say, take it at face value and issue a considered and friendly response without talking about yourself. I will, of course, make sure I find you on this day and spend the entire afternoon telling you really loudly about what a great selection Mad World Records has, as well as this one time I saw this really big band in a really small venue.
If you must drink too much, keep buying drinks for everyone around you. The theory here is if you keep those around you drunk, you won't be the butt of the following day's jokes. As soon as someone else does something memorably outlandish, then you have the green light to start shotgunning that rum. Keeping those around you well-lubricated might prove expensive, but can you really put a value on a mockery-free weekend? Well, OK, you probably can put a value on that.
Be nice to the staff, for goodness' sakes. All the staff at the various venues are not looking forward to a weekend of crowd control, deafness and getting stiffed on tips. Be good to them, unless you want to find yourself upside down in a Dumpster outside Dan's at 3 a.m. They appreciate generous tipping, shots and hugs. Check with them before upgrading the hug to kissing with tongue.