Lauren M.G. Burt: The dos and don'ts of 80/35
A summer day spent at a music festival is never a summer day wasted. Many music lovers celebrate the season by attending a music festival. Festivals like Lollapalooza, Coachella and Bonnaroo have exploded in popularity and attract hundreds of thousands of attendees each year.
Here in Des Moines, every Fourth of July weekend brings the 80/35 Music Festival. The two-day event continues to put Des Moines on the map as a must-visit music destination.
If you're attending the festival this weekend, you may be a seasoned concert professional or just someone sampling music on a summer day. Regardless of the reason you bought a ticket to attend, make the experience for yourself and your fellow festival-goers the best with the following essential festival tips and etiquette:
Beverages: Enjoy but don't overdo. Warm weather, sun and drinking can result in regrettable behavior, and sun or alcohol poisoning. Keep a reusable water bottle on hand and drink more water than you think you need. When it comes to excessive day drinking at a festival, it not only could harm you and your reputation, but it could also annoy your fellow attendees who are trying to enjoy themselves. Nothing ruins a show faster than an over-served person fighting, screaming or pushing their way through the crowd.
Supplies: Sunglasses are needed not just for festival fashion; they are quintessential for viewing your favorite bands under the summer sun. Bring protein or granola bars for a quick snack. Have cash on hand. And pack a hat, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer and maybe even Kleenex or toilet paper. A festival bathroom has never been called civilized or sanitary.
"That" person: Avoid being "that" person at the festival. For reference, these are the people throwing objects into the crowd, getting arrested, starting fights, stealing, leaving the majority of their clothing at home or conducting any type of private bodily function in public. Make the festival a better place and simply avoid all said behavior.
SPF: Suntan lotion is your best friend at a festival — especially for the back, shoulders, arms and neck. Whichever areas are constantly exposed while watching shows is your No.1 target for sunscreen.
Footloose: Sensible shoes will make the entire festival experience bearable and enjoyable. Ladies, leave the heels at home or you'll regret the decision by the first set. Wear whatever shoes are comfortable, broken-in and won't create a weeks' worth of post-party blisters.
Strategic positioning: Always keep in mind that the closer you get to the stage, the more intense the crowd becomes. If you'd rather sit back and relax, be an outlier from the crowd. If you want a skin-to-skin dance party or mosh pit, head to the front. Be a responsible audience member and place yourself correctly. There is an organic flow to the audience at each show. Be aware of your surroundings and the behavior of other people. And if you're 6-foot-8, try to avoid standing in front of the 4-foot-11 person. They will thank you.