Music

48 Things That Happen At Every Single Music Festival

There will be blood, beer, and vomit. And also music, I guess.

AP Photo/Stacy Thacker

Going to a music festival is often an exhausting experience, full of joy and anger and happiness and despair.

But we do it anyway. For the music. For the food. For the possibility that you’ll lose yourself in a sweaty sea of smuggled alcohol, flower crowns, and glow sticks, where any number of these things is pretty much 100% guaranteed to happen:

1. You will wake up on Day One, before it all begins, fueled and energized by the hope and promise of an alcohol-fueled musical experience that will most likely definitely change your life.

2. You will arrive at the festival with all of your hopes and dreams, where you will wait to get your bag checked by security for approximately one to seven hours.

3. Before you make it to the entrance, a woman who’s had too much to drink will pass out cold directly in front of you. It will be 12:30 in the afternoon.

4. A man at security will take away your spray sunblock, your half-full bottle of water, and any hope you may have had of survival. You will scream. Your screams will not be heard.

5. You will enter the festival and hear the vague beat of “Shots” playing constantly in the distance, urging your body and mind further into oblivion.

6. You will pass approximately 20 people wearing the exact same outfit as you. You will glare at them. They will not be your friends. They will never be your friends.

7. You will see enough neon clothing to fuel a warehouse-sized crate of glow sticks.

8. You will see girls whose high-waisted denim shorts are pulled so high above their belly buttons, they’ve exposed the entirety of what only can be described as their aggressive butt cleavage.

9. You will see approximately 200 men with nipple rings and get absolutely no explanation for any of them.

10. You will see girls wearing any combination of the following items: a neon tank top, high-waisted denim shorts, Converse sneakers, an entire mall display of rings and bracelets, and sandals made from two twigs found on the ground.

11. You will see boys wearing any combination of the following items: a neon tank top, cargo shorts, a jersey from a team they’ve never heard of, sandals with socks, socks pulled up to the knee, nothing but a necklace.

12. You will see approximately 9,000 handmade flower crowns, plucked from various unseen fields.

13. You will see approximately 500 women who look vaguely like Cameron Diaz and not a single one of them actually will be Cameron Diaz.

14. You will get pissed off at more shirtless men in cargo shorts than you’ve ever been pissed off at before, oftentimes for no reason at all, simply because you’re corralled into a giant grass cage with about 40,000 of them. They will often bark for no reason. This is apparently something they just do.

15. You will see a hot guy and think, oh look, that guy is super hot. He will have a girlfriend. He will be a douche.

16. You will pay $8 for a beer because no matter how much you’ve drank beforehand, you will end up sober in an hour. You will ask aloud, to nobody but yourself, “Does this shitty beer really cost $8?!” It will really cost $8.

17. You will buy two beers at once and the salesperson will open both in front of you. You will stand there immobilized, aimlessly holding two beers because there’s nothing you can do with yourself while you’re holding two beers. What are you supposed to do? SING? DANCE?! You will chug one of them simply to free yourself of this burden. You will immediately buy another.

18. You will suffer the eternal struggle between wanting to stay hydrated, wanting to get drunk, and wanting to avoid, at all costs, the devastating hell that is the port-a-potty.

19. You will use the port-a-potty more in one weekend than ever in your life. While inside, you will fight the urge to vomit. Something unidentifiably wet will touch your leg. You will vomit.

20. You will spend $20 on a single slice of pizza. It will be the greatest, most glorious slice of pizza you’ve ever consumed in your life.

21. You will briefly consider eating other food besides pizza. You will disregard this consideration as the most foolish thing you’ve ever thought in your entire life.

22. You will, throughout the course of the weekend, step over approximately 70 piles of vomit of various consistencies and colors.

23. You will have absolutely zero idea who 90 percent of the performers are, but you’ll listen to them anyway and probably enjoy them.

24. You will convince yourself that you can reasonably make it to two shows at once, that you can basically exist in two places at the very same time. You will be devastated when you learn this is impossible.

25. You will wait to see your favorite band for 90 minutes in the absolute perfect spot. You will ration your water and alcohol so you are perfectly drunk and hydrated once they arrive on stage. The second they do so, the crowd will violently shift, you will lose your spot, seven people will step on any part of your body that’s exposed, an 8-foot giant will stand directly in front of you, and any and all hope you had of actually seeing your favorite band will evaporate before your perfectly drunk eyes.

26. You will attempt to take a picture of the stage, and immediately discover that any picture you try to take will look like you dropped your phone in a pile of actual human shit.

27. Someone will touch your butt, either on purpose or by accident. Literally nobody involved will enjoy this.

28. Someone will hold up a sign during a show. Perhaps this sign will consist entirely of Justin Bieber’s mugshot. Everybody will become angry at this person and their sign. Someone will perhaps rip this sign from the signholder’s hands. The signholder will perhaps turn around and punch this person directly in his face. This will happen directly in front of you.

29. You will see approximately 50,000 white people try to dance in public. It will be uncomfortable for everybody involved.

30. You will become conscious of your own dancing. You will question for a second whether you are like them. You probably are. You won’t care.

31. Someone will push past you. In fact, 100 people will push past you. All of them will say sorry. ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THEM WILL BE SORRY.

32. You will, at some point, whether you expect it or not, become trapped behind a couple who is dry-humping so ferociously, it’s a miracle their $5 outfits don’t spontaneously burst into flames.

33. You will get pushed and shoved by no less than 20 individuals, often all at once and usually for no reason at all.

34. You will end up directly behind a man who decides it’s a good idea, in the middle of thousands of people, to put his girlfriend on his shoulders, creating a 10-foot monster than no human can possibly bring down, towering over the crowd like a venomous, straight dragon.

35. You will stand behind a human who produces more sweat than any other human you’ve ever encountered ever before. They will be sticky. You will try to avoid their moisture at all costs. You will realize your efforts are useless. You will accept their moistness as your own.

36. You will form a strangely intimate bond with the people standing directly around you. You will become frustrated by their every move, by every small shuffle or adjustment, by every breath they take to fill their soul-sucking lungs with oxygen.

37. You will witness two people who were otherwise complete strangers before this day become intimate sexual partners before your very eyes, often in the course of one song. You will be both disgusted and amazed.

38. You will see a couple dancing and wonder, with amusement and horror, how they possibly have sex.

39. You will step on approximately 90 people and feel sorry for exactly zero of them.

40. You will stand near someone who will violently vomit in the middle of a thick crowd. You will try to get away from them. Somehow, you’ll end up closer.

41. You will stand near someone who will decide to squat and pee in the middle of a thick crowd. You try to pretend like it didn’t happen. But it did.

42. A warm liquid will splash on you. It will be unclear whether this liquid is beer or urine. You will assume it’s beer but spend the rest of the day convinced someone literally urinated on you in front of 100,000 people.

43. You will, at some point, physically lose control of your body in the midst of a violent crowd. People will push you in approximately five directions at once, and there is nothing you can do to stop them. You will be trapped and spend 10 minutes in absolute terror. You will escape, but only barely.

44. You will, at some point amidst the heat and loudness and wetness and grossness, realize that it’s all somehow worth it, to be among 100,000 people as equally disgusting and sweaty and happy as you, listening to your favorite band, outside, in a field, with an $8 beer in your hand, friends at your side, sweat dripping down your hair, dancing just as terribly and carelessly as everybody around you.

45. Your feet will hurt so bad at the end of every day you’ll convince yourself that your body cannot physically stand for at least 12 to 18 months. But you’ll get up the next day at 8 a.m. and do it all again anyway.

46. You will fall asleep at night hearing the phantom pounding of a beat softly drumming in your ears, longing for the crowds, the noise, the thick smells, the pushing and shoving.

47. You’ll decide, your feet still burning, your ears still ringing, your muscles still aching, that you will, without question, do this again next year.

48. You’ll survive.

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