Solo Festival Tips – How to Make the Best Out of Attending a Musical Festival Alone
Picture this – the music festival you’re attending with your BFF is days away. You are super excited and can’t wait to see all your favourite artists live and share the experience with your good mate. Then disaster strikes. Your friend cancels last minute. Now you have to decide – do you go to the festival alone or do you cancel the trip, try and sell the festival ticket etc. Before you decide, read this article where I share my solo festival tips on how to have a great festival experience on your own. Continue Reading…
Solo Festival Travel
Solo festival travel is no easy feat but there are certain things that can increase the chance of you having this ‘Me, Myself and I’ positive experience.
1) Being more advanced in age
I’m now at the wrong end of 30 ( ; and when I was in my 20s, I would never have considered going to a festival on my own. I would have been too insecure. My 20s were about finding my tribe and relying on other people for my happiness. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing – it’s a journey that most of us go through to get to the other side where you realise – Hang on, I can have fun by myself.
2) Try out new social experiences
When it comes to solo experiences, start small. This means experience doing activities on your own. Go to the cinema, a restaruant…this is what I did. I worked my way up. At the time I did these activities, I didn’t do them thinking I’d ever go to a festival on my own – but they unwittingly prepared me.
3) Size matters
I’d advise starting out with smaller, more intimate festivals and see how you do before venturing out to bigger ones.
Solo Festival Tips
Do Your Research
I can’t stress this enough. When a friend of mine last year was unable to attend the Afropunk festival, I decided to brave the festival alone. Because I knew I had just myself to rely on when it came to travel and hotel choices. I did a lot of research into both to make sure I chose the best options.
Research also means, do your festival research. It really helped before I got to Afropunk to know the line-up inside out and who I planned to see. This gave me something to look forward to.
This was even more of the case when I went to the Primavera festival, Barcelona this year. Primavera is a much bigger festival than Afropunk. It goes on for longer, there are more stages, more options for what to do. Because Primavera was a large festival – to avoid feeling overwhelmed – I made a stage timetable of the artists I wanted to see and when before I got to the festival.
You don’t have to be rigid with your stage timetable, allow for some flexibility when you actually get to the festival.
Join Relevant Groups/Festivals
These days there are many groups and forums online that cater for people who are attending events alone. I’ve seen threads with people going to a festival alone and asking who else is going, so they can join and other solo travellers do respond to this.
Apps that cater to solo experiences include ‘PartyWith’.
If this is an option that interests you – get friendly with Google Search and source them out.
Be Open, Proactive and Appear Approachable
I can’t stress this enough. When I attended my first festival alone, in between the live acts, I approached people to take pictures of them for my social media channels. This created a great segway into striking interesting conversations.
If you don’t have a blog, find other ways to start a conversation. The great thing about attending a festival is you have things in common with other people attending from the get-go. You all love music/live music. You may have come to see different acts, but you share a love for seeing artists you admire perform live on stage. That’s already a conversation starter.
Smile, look friendly, radiate good vibes. It may sound corny but it is what it is.
If you look standoff-ish, your head is cast down, insecure, unhappy – you are not going to attract people.
Dress to Attract
Festival fashion is a great opportunity to experiment with fashion. This included hair and makeup as well. Try and pick from this aesthetic buffet and make a statement. People will notice you and are likely to gravitate towards you.
When I went to the Primavera festival, I styled my silver grey and black braided into statement space buns. This got me compliments and was a nice way to break the ice with other festival-goers.
Take a leaf out of the hippy 60s festival vibe and love thy neighbour maaaaan.
If you have a fan and someone looks hot next to you, offer it to them – they are likely to be grateful and your act of kindness could motivate them to strike a conversation with you which could end up with you joining their crew etc.
Think Safe, Be Safe
Festivals are fun, yes. But they also create an ideal space for predators, thieves, and people who don’t have your best interest at heart.
To avoid being a victim, play it safe. This includes drinking alcohol sensibly, be wary of what you accept from strangers (be it drinks or otherwise) and in general, keep your wits about you.
Now Go Forth and Rock, Solo Festivaler!
My list is not exhaustive and there are other ways to have fun when you go to a festival alone.
My tips are based on my personal experience and I believe they are a great starting point to the nail the art of being a ‘solo festivaler’. When you attend a festival, you’re likely to find other ways that make a festival work for you.
I thoroughly recommend this solo experience, it was a great step for me in personal development. I learned how to be resourceful, have fun by myself and met a diverse bunch of interesting people.
I’ll be going to Afropunk festival this month and I can’t wait.