What time should I get to a music festival?

  • Music festivals are notorious for bringing in A-list headliners that fans want to see up up and personal.
  • I’ve attended a number of events throughout the years, most notably the Governors Ball in New York on Friday.
  • Here are some pointers for going near to the stage for a spectacular headlining performance.

Music festivals provide the chance to see several major musicians deliver spectacular live performances in a single day. However, for many festival goers, A-list headliners are the main attraction.

While many fans like to bounce between stages, sit with pals in picnic areas, and simply enjoy everything a festival has to offer, others are keen to acquire a good place for the night’s last performance — and it requires more devotion than it seems.

True, instead of paying for a day-long event with a host of other acts, these fans could just join the headliner’s own tour. A music festival, on the other hand, provides a rare opportunity to witness arena-sized acts in a general admission environment rather than a seating venue. And, if you play your cards well, you may wind up much closer to the stage for the same price as a stadium “nosebleed” ticket.

Billie Eilish, for example, stole the night as the Friday headliner at this year’s Governors Ball in Queens, New York.

Fans in the rear can view the performance thanks to large screens placed up on each side of the stage.

On her “Happier Than Ever” tour, she will return to New York City in February for two sold-out shows. Online, general-admission pit seats for any event at Madison Square Garden are priced for more than $300. The cheapest seats at the venue’s top are presently approximately $170.

A one-day ticket to Gov Ball, on the other hand, costs just $130 plus service fees.

This weekend, Gov Ball continues with headliners J Balvin and A$AP Rocky on Saturday and Post Malone on Sunday.

Other upcoming festivals include Rolling Loud, which will take place at the same location as Coachella and will include headliners 50 Cent, Travis Scott, and J Cole; Austin City Limits in Texas, which will feature Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Tyler, the Creator, and others; and Coachella, which will return in 2022.

If you’re determined to be in the front row for a headliner, consider the following advice from a festival veteran.

Front-load food and leisure at the beginning of the day

Even if there aren’t many early artists I’m interested in, I attempt to attend between 12 and 2 PM to avoid the late afternoon mob and make the most of my ticket. This is when I refuel, relax, and check out the retail tent.

Some die-hard festivalgoers may arrive early and go directly to the main stage to camp out for the day. This is not something I would suggest. Yes, you’ll never get to the head of the line, but you’ll also reduce your chances of dehydration and tiredness.

Take some time to eat a large meal and drink plenty of water. I splurged on these chicken nuggets with truffle fries from a food truck called “Dank Nugz” on Friday, topped with onions, bacon, and parmesan cheese, knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat anything substantial until after Eilish’s performance.

This meal put me back $18, but it was worth it.

If you take this path, please remember to have a well-balanced breakfast before departing for the event. Energy and nutrition are essential!

Go to the main stage just before the penultimate performer’s set

Festivals use a rotating schedule on several stages to reduce sound leakage and give each crew adequate time to set up.

This implies that the second-to-last performer on the main stage will finish an hour or two, if not longer, before the headline performance starts. That may seem inconvenient, but it is your greatest chance to be near to the stage.

If you leave between performances, you’ll be caught behind the ever-growing crowds jostling for the same perspective you want.

On Friday, I arrived at the main stage just before Kehlani’s planned performance at 5:30 p.m. (Fortunately, I was intending to watch Kehlani’s set anyway since I adore her. “All Me” is a banger.)

I was around 25-30 rows back when Kehlani joined the stage. People often shift and leave in the midst of a performance to use the restroom, eat, watch another show, or just because their legs are weary, which provided me with a few opportunities to go forward.

Throughout Kehlani’s hour-long performance, I bobbed and weaved. I’d moved maybe five rows by the time she finished her last song.

My perspective at the start of Kehalni’s performance, left, and somewhat closer towards the finish.

Now, this is where it gets competitive.

The audience always shifts dramatically once the last artist exits the stage. A large number of individuals will go, but an equal number will rush forward to fill the voids. Hold on to your luggage and brace yourself for a shove.

The throng will calm after a few minutes, but this will not be permanent.

Kehlani’s concert finished around 6:30 p.m., while Eilish was due to perform at 8:45 p.m. That meant that those who wanted to be near to the stage had to stand and wait for more than two hours.

People will often wear out during this time period and depart the throng, giving you additional opportunity to shift and move ahead.

My perspective at 6:45 p.m., after the massive surge when Kehlani exited the stage.

Make sure you brought water, and take little sips throughout the waiting period

Nothing ruins a headline performance like leaving in the midst to pee – unless you’re dehydrated. Your objective is to walk the line between these two so that you don’t have to leave your location to use the restroom while yet being hydrated and healthy.

When you approach the throng, make sure you have water on hand. Water will be distributed intermittently to the rows near the stage by security, but it is not guaranteed.

Most festivals provide free water refill stations, but you’ll need to purchase a bottle beforehand or bring your own reusable bottle (as long as it’s empty when you arrive).

These water cans were $5 each at Gov Ball, apparently because aluminum is more recyclable.It looks like beer, but I promise it’s water.

While you wait, take little sips of water, storing the majority for the 30 minutes before the headliner comes. That keeps me hydrated but also not overburdening my bladder, as I’ve discovered. (Note: I am not a doctor and I do not know whether that’s how it works. Please leave the throng and go grab some water if necessary.)

Keep your knees bent, and do small stretches every 20 minutes

This seems like a silly tip, but it’s important.

When we stand for lengthy periods of time, most of us lock our knees. You will almost probably be hurting as a result of this. Remind yourself to bend your knees and stretch every 20 minutes or so. The throng will most certainly be dense, but you may compensate by rolling your neck and ankles.

If you want to stay in the audience and enjoy yourself while the headliner performs, you should maintain your body as flexible as possible.

Just before the headliner takes the stage, there will be another sudden push

When the lights dim and the music begins, there will be a quick rush to the stage.

I’m not sure how this occurs or where the additional space comes from, but it happens every time in my experience. Prepare for it so that others do not rush ahead of you.

On Friday, Billie Eilish performs “Ilomilo” at Gov Ball.

You’ll probably finish up three or four rows closer to the stage after this push. After what I’ve just recounted, I’d say I was around ten rows back when Eilish took the stage to play “Bury a Friend,” her dramatic concert opener.

Many headliners will also have a runway in the middle of the audience.

You’ll have a better view of the performer when they utilize it if you can approach near to the middle of the stage. Eilish performs “Oxytocin” on the Gov Ball runway.

The most important tip is to listen to your body. If you need to leave the crowd, do so.

No performance is worth being ill for. If you feel lightheaded or disoriented, or if your feet are too painful, step away from the throng to water and relax. Festival performances are meant to entertain a large audience, so it will be enjoyable from every angle.

Related Questions

  • How early should you show up to a concert?

    Even though you can potentially walk directly to your chair, it’s still a good idea to arrive at least 15-30 minutes early since it takes time to locate parking, get ticketed people through the doors, visit the merch booth, have a drink or use the restroom beforehand, and so on.

  • What not to bring to a music festival?

    Wear nothing that is excessively huge, will fall off, or will disturb you when you’re rocking out. Don’t bring too large baggage. If you have any doubts about bringing a bag, check the venue’s policies here. We know it’s a disappointment, but selfie sticks may be hazardous during a performance, so leave them at home.

  • Is it easy to sneak into a music festival?

    Sneaking into a concert may be dangerous. Concerts are heavily policed, and you are extremely likely to be apprehended and maybe detained. If at all possible, try to obtain a ticket first and show your support for your favorite musical acts.

  • How long does a concert last if it starts at 7?

    If it began at 7, it might finish at 7:45, 9:00, or 2 a.m. That may be accurate if it began at 6 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. It comes to an end when it comes to an end. A average concert, on the other hand, lasts roughly two hours, with a 15-minute break in the middle.

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