This past weekend, I found myself at FYF Fest. The music festival, which also happened to be right in USC’s backyard at Exposition Park, was exceptional, yet also rather challenging, as I treaded the event partially in a wheelchair and partially on crutches. I didn’t let a torn ACL stop me from experiencing one of the best ways to end summer. With that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when attending a music festival that I learned at FYF.
First of all, wear shoes with support because those cute strappy sandals will not do you any good. Tennis shoes were a go-to at FYF this year with the large amounts of walking (or in my case, crutching). It’s definitely possible to be stylish and practical, it just takes a keen eye. What’s not practical is wearing a Native American headdress at a festival — which I guess is still a thing considering I witnessed it over the weekend. Don’t be that guy.
Weather is a super important factor to consider, especially since it can easily make or break your experience. Be prepared, my friends – it could be sweltering hot during the day then start to snow at night. Always be ready with a quick pullover or flannel. With weather comes sun and with sun comes sunburns. Take advantage of the sunscreen your mom made you bring to college because, without it, you will crash and burn and wish you had listened. Mom is always right.
Also, don’t forget to try the food. This is a big one; there are so many magical options for your taste buds that you never could’ve possibly imagined. Hate cauliflower? You won’t after you try it fried with buffalo sauce. This weekend I had the pleasure of enjoying four different popsicles, yes four – I have no boundaries, ranging from raspberry basil to sea salt chocolate. Let’s not forget the pad thai. Let me tell you, the pad thai was actually rad thai. It’s not a music festival until you try the food. Good music and delicious sustenance make for a vital combo.
It’s not about how close you are to the stage, as long as you’re there experiencing the sound and vibrations coming from the musicians who are performing. I think it’s necessary to remember this because we sometimes are so enthralled by a band that we try to get to the very front to really see them as people and not as artists. When I saw Tame Impala and Kendrick Lamar, I was relatively far away but hearing them live along with the visuals they projected made it an amazing experience. If you’re dying to see your favorite band next year, definitely push to the front, but don’t feel down if you can’t make it five feet away from them. Music is about listening and dancing and feeling. It’s about the way you experience it.
Lastly and most importantly, be safe! Drugs are real! Alcohol is real! Do what you want to do, but be mindful and aware of the risks. The last thing anyone wants is for someone to seriously injure themselves or the people around them because of substance abuse. Listen, I’m not trying to sound like your mom or the D.A.R.E. Program (what ever happened to that?), but just be careful. Make sure someone is there for you and has your back.
Music festivals are meant not to be about showing off or trying to impress anyone. Be yourself and take in the culture that surrounds you. I met so many kind people, both attendees and workers at FYF. Don’t be shy about making friends, you might even run into Mac DeMarco (who yes, was walking around the FYF grounds!). Having an open mind when going into a festival is essential for experiencing new things, new foods, and new music. Fall in love with your surroundings and be open to the endless possibilities. This year’s FYF Fest was a total success for me, and I can’t wait for what’s to come next year.