It's festival season! At this point, all you are doing at work is planning your 35 Denton schedule or RSVP'ing for SXSW parties (always be RSVP'ing!) or planning your weird festival outfits. We know daydreams of free day parties and tallboys are dancing in your head, so we are going to capitalize on it by sharing some of our own tips and tricks to help you finesse this year's monster schedule.
I'll do my best to avoid the usual wear-comfy-shoes-and-bring-a -parka advice, because you are an adult who can read about the weather and I am not planning on wearing comfy shoes. Rather, I'll try to share some of the trial-and-error shit that has actually proven helpful in the moment.
It's Girl Scout cookie season, so let's take a lesson from those pushers of seasonal cravings and Be Prepared. If I might edit the motto, Be Overprepared. First, make your own schedule of what you must see and what you are curious about, save it as an image and then save it as the background on your phone. Cell service will be shoddy at crowded shows, and with that as your background, you won't even have to unlock your screen. Also, you can send it to your friends easily, and instead of texting during the short festival sets, they will know the basic path to find you.
Be willing to separate from your group. People will want to come and go to see different artists, so let your posse go and be confident that the festival gods will guide you back together. Plus, one of you will probably get invited to a weird party or find out about the off-menu house shows because you are rolling around solo. Now that you know exactly whom you want to see, when and where, be open to letting a band bring you to their stage. Skip something known to discover something new.
Physically prepare too. Pack that fringed messenger bag/fanny pack/hipster backpack like you are a suburban mom. I don't just mean joints and flasks either. Want to know how I got into a SXSW showcase that was over capacity with only badge holders? I gave the doorman a squeeze of my hand sanitizer at a shindig earlier that day. Want to know how I got a free tab at a Denton bar for the late-night shows at last year's Conferette? I gave a bartender a tampon in the bathroom. Share with your festmates without expectation and goodwill will return to you. You don't need a bigger bag, just swing by that trial-size aisle on your way into town, and don't underestimate the power of a handy wipe or a bit of sunscreen.
Are you planning on drinking all day and night? Find your vendor and stick with them all night (or weekend), and tip well on the first two rounds. Offer to bring them food if they are staying put all day and buy them a drink close to quitting time.They'll serve you on the side later when you need to skip the line to make a show (don't abuse this), they'll strengthen the pour and they may just invite you to the service industry after parties which, frankly, are sometimes more fun than the music ones. There are less acoustic guitars anyway.
Okay, it's the end of the night and you want to find an afterparty? Are you rolling 10 deep? Try to sniff out the late-night festivities in smaller groups. You can still invite the 10, as long as you don't all enter together. End the night at one of the rowdier showcases -- these crowds will be looking to extend the party. Important: Don't be afraid to linger. Game-time decisions are frequently made after the band has packed up and the bouncer has already yelled at you a few times to get out. But you have to be a good guest, okay? Keep a case of beer in your trunk, or at least a flask, and don't throw up. That shit is juvenile. Read the news, make conversation, love your host, be thankful. Know that sometimes when you cannot find the afterparty, you must host the afterparty. Just the rules, ya know?
More than anything, just play nice. Go see something you would normally avoid, dance with strangers, buy your fave band a beer when you see them out, make a new friend, submit your good cheer to the collective karma of the festival. Some very attentive programmers have already done the heavy lifting for you, so have some fun.
So let's go to Denton before we head South. I'd like to buy you a tallboy and sneak into someone's house party. Then, every time we hear that Best Coast song, we can remember all the trouble we got into this weekend. See you at 35 Denton, sugars.
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