A Guide to Music Festival Survival


Sweltering heat, smelly porta-potties, thick mud and massive crowds … the last thing that you’d want to fuss about is taking the best photos of your favourite bands without being kicked in the face by a hyperactive crowd-surfer. We give you some tips on how to survive a music fest!

Photo by: marksovel

Music festivals are great. Where else can you chill out with your friends from daytime ‘til twilight, relaxing on the grass, staring at the sky and the stars while listening to live music? Yes they’re fun and even romantic but it can be a drag if you’re not prepared for it.

Prepare for the heat. Dress comfortably, bring a light jacket when it cools down come nighttime. Make sure that your precious cameras are stashed away in protective cases. Baby wipes are handy for your sweaty pits. Don’t forget a soft cloth to wipe festival dust off your camera lenses!

Prepare for the mud, too. It can be sunny, but imagine hundreds (even thousands) of people stomping on the same grass over and over again. Expect shoes sinking in the mud – don’t let it bring you down.

Photo by: rnuk

Mud can be fun, too:

Photo by: chikapop

Keep drinks at bay, but … Ice-cold beer? Hell yeah! It’s cool if you have your drinks handy, but keep in mind that porta-potties are a staple of music festivals. So prepare yourself for when the time comes that you have to use one.

Photo by: trista

Don’t forget to bring lots of film. So that you won’t have to scrimp on your shots. Favourite band not on yet? Waste rolls on your friends!

Photo by: mr_sid

Sick of your friends’ faces? Roam around the fields and be on the lookout for strange sightings. People in funny costumes, for example:

Photo by: rnuk

Don’t hesitate to go up close to take pictures! The front row can be very rowdy but it’ll make for interesting photographs. Maybe you’ll get kicked in the eye, or your hair will be pulled – it all depends on how much you’re willing to risk for a good shot of your favourite band.

Photo by: zatoichi

Take the shot from the hip! Yes, your view will be blocked. Arms will flail and legs will be kicking wildly so forget about the viewfinder – raise your arm and take the hipshot!

Staying overnight? Don’t forget high ISO film! Pack a mix of film. Maybe a 100ISO Slide Film for super-sunny daytime shots. 400ISO Color Negative for excellent shots when the sun’s setting. Max it to 800ISO when you want to do away with flash and want to use the available light. (Ahem, Lomography Film is highly recommended!)

Photo by: flanflipflop
Photo by: superlighter

Go easy on the Flash. If you’re one of the lucky folks who made it right in front of the stage, remember that musicians don’t usually like flashes randomly popping in their faces while they’re playing (it hurts the eyes and can be quite distracting when they’re playing the guitar, etc.).

Photo by: rache1

Any more tips or suggestions to add? Let us know – post in the comment box below! :)

written by shhquiet on 2011-07-04 #music #lifestyle #concerts #analogue #guide #bands #gigs #survival


  1. nural
    nural ·

    Damn! There is a festival this weekend but I'm out of town and I hate it!!!! This guide would be sooooo helpful!!!

  2. shhquiet
    shhquiet ·

    @nural awww, maybe next time! :)

  3. askdna
    askdna ·

    I took some festival shots this summer, trying things without flash on higher ISO film. LOTS didn't turn out. Still not used to shooting in that type of setting I guess. What I did learn: stay very close otherwise you might end up wasting dozens of shots that are too dark to see a thing.

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