It is that time of the year where both young and old flock to various music festivals all over the country. Whether it is a newer one like Shaky Knees in Atlanta, GA, a cultural hotspot like New Orleans Jazz Festival, or a campout in the woods like Bonnaroo, there are certain types of people that you will run into.
I personally love music festivals, but these are good and bad when it comes to the type of people you are going to run into. This list is painting with a broad stroke: there are lots of different types of music festivals, and the crowds are always changing and evolving. Let's get the worst out of the way first...
The Why Are You Shirtless? Guy
This is the guy who just cannot help himself and must take off his shirt. This specimen comes in many shapes and sizes. Maybe he is the fifty-year-old guy with a beer gut that has taken thirty years to cultivate, or perhaps it is the guy with terrible bacne rubbing up against you at a crowded concert. Just try to look away…
Innappropriate-Time Drug User
I personally do not care what you do - most people don't either. It just gets awkward when you light up a joint in front of a family or around people who clearly do not feel uncomfortable. Or maybe this person took some ecstasy while watching Dave Matthews or Jimmy Buffet. Respect for your fellow festivalgoers is important, so know the scene and situation.
Drunk Person Who Needs a Best Friend
These people are not bad human beings. They just won't shut up sometimes. They are just looking for an ear to chat off, so be careful in avoiding these people because they can quickly latch on to you. If you befriend the drunkest person at a festival, your party could quickly turn into a babysitting gig. Not the worse type of person, but unless you are at their level (if you are you might make a new best friend), this person can be a drag.
This person just had to one up everyone with his or her outfit. These outfits include assless chaps, onesies, some sort of animal mask, and I am sure there will be some new ones introduced this festival season. They are fishing for high-fives and will dress like a fool to get them, parading around you until you give them recognition.
It is normally a horrible game of would you rather: would you rather watch two horny nineteen year olds paw at each other like they have never seen the opposite sex, or the more mature couple grinding and groping each other when you are trying to eat? If it is hot outside or you've had one too many, this could be what pushes you off the cliff and makes you sick.
If it is a guy fighting, he normally is mad that you looked at his girlfriend and has been chuggin' Natty Lights since 8 a.m. If it is a girl fighting, watch out for the flying drinks and hair pulling. Either way, these people are generally just bringing everyone's mood down.
Too Messed Up
Whatever the festival, expect to see someone who is too messed up. Even at the more laid back festivals, you will see someone who mixed the wrong type of booze and is stumbling around like they have no bones in their legs. Some of the more EDM or dance centric festivals will be littered with people who made a Molotov cocktail of pills and powders.
It can get hot out there, so make sure you stay hydrated. This person always has water, sometimes the most valuable commodity at a festival. This person will recognize you are struggling, and let you take a sip from their camelback (that sounds gross for some reason) or their water bottle. It will feel like the gods sent them to earth for your salvation.
This guy is not selling horse tranquilizers to kids or selling oregano as pot. Drugs are not a key ingredient to have fun at a festival, and some should be completely avoided, but you will appreciate this honest, not Breaking Bad-esque guy or girl helping you out.
Local Food Vendors
As a New Orleans' festivals die hard, I have been spoiled with the kind of food and service the eating options provide at New Orleans' festivals. However, wherever you go, expect to find some good food from some good locals. They are opening their menus and community to you, so be grateful.
I hope you do not make it to this place, but if you do, they can literally be lifesavers. Don't be an idiot and take some pills you found on the ground or drink a fifth of whiskey in 100-degree heat. The medical tent can provide a lot, but can only help stupidity so much.
Silent Disco Buddy
Silent discoes can be overrated, but can also be a lot of fun. If you are lucky, you will lock eyes with someone you are attracted too, and you won't even have to worry about flirting with them, because they will have headphones on! Take advantage of this and try to be smooth (but not creepy).
Sometimes you get turned around or have no idea where a stage is. If your phone is dead (it will die) and you do not have a map, you ask around till you find the veteran of the music festival. They will be able to point you in the right direction and maybe even give you some tips bout camping out, bathrooms, local favorites, etc. They are your Jedi Master...follow their wise ways.
Someone Just Like You
You will find people with the same interests, same favorite song, favorite hobbies and so much more. That is one of the best parts of music festivals: interacting with likeminded people in a fun cultural setting. No matter how young or old you are, or what scene you are looking for, there will be some cool people to hang out with. Even if you feel out of place, the people at music festivals are almost always welcoming so put yourself out there and have a good time!