The week has finally come, the festival you’ve been waiting months for is upon you and you’re counting down the days and hours. At this point, you may be asking yourself what to bring, or at minimum, what not to forget. Rest assured, we’ve got you covered. I’ve been attending festivals for years, and this year will mark my sixth year to Columbus’ MAPFRE Stadium (including the last five years of Rock on the Range). Check your itinerary against the following and see if there’s anything you left off. By all means, feel free to drop your own suggestions on here as well!
- Clothing – It’s spring in Ohio, which means you probably need to be prepared for up to three different seasons over the course of the weekend. If it’s hot out, shorts will do just fine, but when it cools off at night, you might wish you had those jeans packed. Similarly, a t-shirt may do for most of the day, but in almost any case you’ll want a hoodie or sweater in the evening. Also, keeping a poncho on-hand is never a bad idea. If you’re traveling to the festival, make sure you have extra shoes and socks. In the event things get wet, you’ll be happy to have something dry for the next day.
- Sunscreen – This one should go without saying, but here it is, on the itinerary. Don’t leave this at home and use it daily.
- Phone Charger – bring one if you have it. If you rented a locker, there are phone chargers available there to rent as well. It’s almost impossible to get through the day on a single charge. If you don’t have one, it’s a huge help to put your phone in power-save mode, that’ll buy you a few extra hours at least. You don’t want to finish off the night with a dead battery though.
- Drink lots of water – There will be vendors all over the grounds, selling just about everything you could want. Enjoy yourself responsibly, but don’t forget to make water a big part of your day. If it’s hot and sunny out, you’ll be absolutely wiped out at the end of the day. Keeping your fluids up will help long-term. Remember, this is a three-day festival, not a single afternoon.
- Eat – Keep your body fueled throughout the day, especially if you’re drinking. There are few greater disappointments than seeing someone pass out mid-afternoon at a festival, knowing they’re probably going to miss the evening’s headliners. The festival ground has excellent food choices just about everywhere, so there’s something for everyone.
- Get inside early – One of the most exciting things about these festivals is seeing bands rise from early afternoon performances on the side-stage and then making it to the main stage. (See: Fever 333 this year). Do yourself a massive favor and get inside when the gates open (or shortly after). There’s so much to see and do. There’s an insane tailgate party that takes place annually on Saturday, so go ahead and check that out, but don’t spend the whole day in the parking lot. The action is inside. Don’t miss it!
- Set a meeting place – You’ll find the festival grounds quite easy to navigate, but it’s also easy to lose your group. Cell phone reception is hit and miss (it’s much better earlier in the day, but typically gets spotty as evening approaches). It’s a solid idea to designate a few meet-up times to regroup with everyone. Getting lost isn’t just for kids.
- Sit down and relax – This is particularly important if you have field passes. Spending the whole day on your feet isn’t such a big deal. Spending the whole weekend on your feet starts to hurt. Some solid advice here is to make sure you take a few minutes, whether it’s for a meal, or just grab a few bands during the day to grab a seat and slow things down. Your entire body will thank you when it’s over. If you’ve ever neglected this, and put your feet on the floor the following morning, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right?
- Ear plugs – This one’s kind of a “take it or leave it” suggestion. I’ve been going to shows for over 20 years now, and I’m quite sure my hearing is only still sharp because I’ve been using ear plugs for the vast majority of that time. Ask any of your friends who uses them, it doesn’t diminish the sound. For me, this has always been an investment in tomorrow. I want to keep doing this for years, so there’s no rush to blow my hearing out now and miss out on all of this fun in the future.
- Lockers – If you’ve already pre-purchased a locker, you’re one step ahead. If not, see what they might have left on-site. These are a sound investment, as they’ll enable you to keep all that extra clothing tucked away in case you need it.
- Parking – there’s plenty of ways to get into the festival, but I always suggest getting into the parking lot by late morning to ensure you’ve got plenty of time to get thing started. Just like locker rentals, parking was available for pre-purchase. If you didn’t do that, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of parking available daily (this has typically been $25 per day in the past).
- Rail-Riding – If you’re eager to see your favorite band, you’re probably already set to bust through the gates when they open and spend the day at the rail. There are a few bands out there that I’d do that for, too. If you’re short on that kind of die-hard dedication though, resist that urge. Enjoy the festival. Walk around, explore the grounds. Meet some people and really experience everything.
- Weather – I suppose I’m leaving the most intimidating factor for last. It’s spring time and the weather is out of everyone’s control. The festival organizers go to great lengths to ensure everyone’s safety year after year, and this includes making sure we’re not at risk of injury due to weather-related events. In the event of a weather issue, pay close attention to the directions that will be on both the digital screens as well as over the PA system. While these things can happen, it’s never ruined a festival experience at MAPFRE stadium. Go with the flow and follow Sonic Temple on social media for any updates.
Did I leave anything out? After several years of traveling to Columbus to enjoy the festival experience, these have become some of the absolute musts that my group sticks to. This year’s going to be awesome! We have a killer lineup to celebrate the inaugural Sonic Temple Festival in Columbus, and I can’t wait to get out there! Follow us on both Facebook and Instagram for tons of photos and coverage throughout the weekend!