Friends, fun, sunshine, live music, dancing and all types of culture have a way of combining to make outdoor festivals awesome. Due to their engagement of multiple senses, festivals provide incredible immersive experiences that leave lasting memories, build and strengthen friendships, and create new bonds and traditions. And while they're one of the best ways to enjoy Alberta’s long summer days and warm evenings, it’s easy to become overtired, sunburnt, hungry or miserable at a festival if you're not prepared. Below are Trixstar’s favourite ways to get the most out of any festival, so you can focus on the experience, and not the logistics.
1. Stay Hydrated
Visiting the beer garden is fun, but it won't help you cool off. Most festivals allow pass-holders to bring their own non-glass refillable water bottles, so grab the biggest one you have. Fill it halfway and freeze it overnight before the festival to keep your water cool. Aim to drink at least 8 oz each hour you’re outside, or more if you’re dancing, under direct sunlight, or the temperature is above 30 degrees.
2. Make a ‘Plan of Attack’
Multi-day, multi-stage shows make it impossible to see every act. Grab a festival guide in advance and save yourself some stress and money by figuring out whether you want an all-access, day, or weekend pass. Rip out the schedule pages & take them with you to plan what supporting acts to see, and the best times to hit the beer garden, visit food trucks, or grab a nap.
Like the old Alberta joke says, if you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes! Being prepared at an outdoor festival means being ready for rain, thunderstorms and lots of sun. While sunblock and sunglasses are essential, it’s also great to be ready for rain. Invest in a foldable poncho or rain jacket that can fit in your pocket or bag. Alternatively, bring a small umbrella to use both during the rain, and as a sun shade.
4. Be Comfortable
While half the fun at festivals like the Calgary Stampede is dressing to fit in, being fashionable comes second to being comfortable at big festivals. Wearing high heels or flip flops just about guarantees injured feet, while expensive clothes will probably get damaged by spilt beer or an impromptu mosh pit. Shorts and t-shirts or sundresses are ideal festival wear as you want something light that keeps the sun off, or dries quickly in the rain. Wear shoes you can stand in for several hours, such as hiking sandals or light sneakers that will keep your feet comfortable and protected.
5. Book Accommodations in Advance
Headed to a multi-day festival? Book accommodation as soon as you can. Popular events like Big Valley Jamboree have limited accommodation options, so campsites and nearby motels fill up fast. Check online for early-bird discounts or special deals for festival pass holders at accommodations in nearby towns. If you’re planning on camping at the festival, know that premium spots closer to the stages go fast and cost more, as do those with power or nearby access to showers and washrooms. Pack accordingly, and don't forget the extra toilet paper and a pair of earplugs.
While some festivals are all about trying new foods, eating before you go or bringing your own snacks (if the festival allows it) can help cut down your festival expenditures and will give you more time to enjoy the shows. If you’re attending a multi-day show, load up a cooler with easy-to-cook items for your campsite or motel room. Grab your childhood camping favourites, like hot dogs and marshmallows, to enjoy a late-night campfire roast with new friends at the end of a great night.
Whether your taste runs to big, multi-day music festival, cultural parades, or a small-town heritage fair, there’s plenty to enjoy in Alberta this summer. We hope these tips help you maximize your summer festival fun!