Do's and Don'ts of Attending a Music Festival Alone

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

Photo Credit to Curbed Chicago

Article by Emma Saletta

In 2019, I was lucky to be able to attend Lollapalooza in Chicago, Illinois with my parents and a family friend. However, our taste in music was vastly different, so I went off on my own. I didn’t know what to expect as it was the first time I attended a music festival, let alone my first time being in a city and fending for myself. I had a bag with extra sunscreen and water; however, by the time day 1 was over, I realized that I did not consider what would happen when the sunscreen stopped working, when strangers asked weird questions, and when my phone died. Even though this year’s music festivals are canceled due to COVID-19, these do’s and don’ts I learned throughout my Chicago adventure will help you be prepared for the festival adventures you may face next year!


  • Bring sunscreen

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that heavy sunburns you may see attendees have on their bodies at festivals on Snapchat are not a joke. Most festivals have occured during heat waves, which means you have a better chance of getting sunburnt. In order to avoid this issue for at least a day or two, it is important to bring sunscreen.

  • Bring a jacket and baseball hat

For those of you who already get sunburned, you won’t exactly have the ray of sunshine feeling for the entire day. That is why it is important to have these two items with you at all times. The jacket is key to helping you have a better chance of not getting chills at night, especially when you’re walking back to your hotel. The baseball hat will help provide extra protection for your forehead, as well as your scalp. From personal experience, the scalp is one of the worst places to get a sunburn.

  • Bring a portable phone charger

Because you are at a festival by yourself, it is crucial that you have a phone that is charged at all times. Phones are the number one form of contact towards the outside world and are important for if you would need to make an emergency phone call. Your loved ones may also expect you to stay in contact with them every chance you get, depending on whether or not they trust that you will be okay.

  • Watch your back

Drawstring bags are the way to go in order to make sure you don’t forget anything. However, that doesn’t mean that your items are entirely safe. While attending the Kacey Musgraves show, I felt pressure coming from my bag. I turned around to see someone pulling their hand out of my bag and running away. Even though nothing was stolen, no one around me said anything about it. It is this reason and more that you should always watch your back wherever you go.

  • Stay cautious and stick to your instincts

When you’re young, you always hear the term “don’t talk to strangers”. It is important to remember that when attending a large gathering. I’m not saying that you should be quiet the entire time, as music festivals are a great chance to be interactive with fellow music lovers. However, you must make sure to interact with people who you feel are good people, and do not interact with people you feel are dangerous.


  • Go off with strangers

You always read news stories that discuss kidnap victims being tricked into leaving with strangers. That is why it’s important to make sure you are not tricked into going anywhere with people you don’t know, as that can lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

  • Expect an Uber or Lyft to arrive

Because of the large attendance, numerous places will choose to close streets, and not allow any cars to come and pick you up. At Lollapalooza, four streets were closed down, and I had to walk six blocks to meet my parents at a five-star restaurant. At the end of the day, I was nothing but a lost little girl with a bloody knee wishing I knew that I was not able to get an Uber anywhere. However, if an emergency situation were to occur, festival officials may make an exception.

  • Forget to double check your bag before you leave

A lot of festival goers choose to stay in hotels since they are from out of town, myself included. However, I forgot to double check my bag before I left the hotel and realized that I had left my hotel key in the room. The hotels on the street made a rule that they would not let anyone into elevators unless they showed proof of stay. Like other attendees not knowing this rule, I sat on a velvet stairway for thirty minutes waiting for my parents to arrive. In order to avoid a situation like this, double check your belongings to make sure you have necessities, including your hotel key (if one were staying in a hotel)

There you have it! If any readers who are members have any other suggestions not featured in this article, feel free to leave a comment!

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